Branching is Key for True Parallel Development
Parallel development is the most effective method for a team of programmers to work on the same project. Source control software that supports
branching is key to achieving true parallel development, which makes possible the greatest productivity and stability.
The basic concept of parallel development is that more than one programmer can access and alter the same code files simultaneously. This way, one
developer does not have to wait until another is finished before making changes, nor is one programmer's code overwritten by another.
Some source control software has branching support that is not sophisticated enough to allow full control of what code is eventually incorporated in the
project (or removed). The best software for parallel development records every alteration made to the project, for review by management.
The source control system should enable the establishment of more than one branch at a time, thus providing a true parallel development process with
adequate stability and efficient integration. Advanced branching also allows for better tracking of each change made to the project.
The information recorded by source control software of this type makes it possible for a manager to examine all of the changes entered into the
project, even those which were later overwritten. It is sometimes useful to restore an older version of the code entered during a project.
Overall, true parallel development with advanced branching provides the most efficient way for a team of developers to collaborate on the same
project. Using a sophisticated source control system is essential for accomplishing this.
About the Author
Jon Harwokey, a software developer of 15 years is an advocate of parallel development and Codice Software. Their Plastic SCM product provides
source control software, code branch management and a three way merge tool. Check out Plastic SCM today.