Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Source Control and Issue-Tracking Systems

The problem with choosing a source control and issue-tracking system isn’t so much finding one that’s right for you as picking through the huge range available. So, what might sway your decision? Some things (not an exhaustive list) to consider include the following:

• Open source or commercial?

• Do you need to host it yourself (behind your firewall, for example), or do you want to use one of the many services that provide hosting for you?

• Do you need your source control and issue-tracking systems to be tightly integrated with each other?

• What level of support for distributed development do you need?

I can’t possibly give a complete survey of all the different source control and issue-tracking systems here, but I can give you pointers to a few of the major players and why you might consider them.

Open Source Solutions
Until fairly recently, the only real open source choice was CVS. CVS has a number of well-known limitations, however, not least of which are the fact that check-ins aren’t atomic and it doesn’t version directory structures.

Over the last few years, CVS has been almost entirely supplanted by Subversion, which addresses most of CVS’s obvious weaknesses and has become the default open source choice.

Coming up fast on the rails is Git, which is gaining mind share with a number of high-profile projects switching to it, in part because of its excellent support for distributed development.

This is a cross-platform, distributed system with very similar goals to Git and particularly good support for branching.

This is designed to just work and adapt to your team’s workflow instead of imposing its own model.

For a long time, Bugzilla, developed as part of the Mozilla project, was the default open source choice for issue tracking. Recently a number of alternatives have become available, however.

Trac uses a minimalist approach, aiming to keep out of the way of developers as much as possible. It’s particularly notable for tight integration with its integrated wiki.

A relative newcomer on the scene, Redmine seems to be well supported and making good progress. Where open source solutions have traditionally been weak is integration between source control and issue tracking and with development environments. The situation has improved considerably recently with IDEs such as Eclipse providing excellent Subversion support, for example.

Hosted Solutions
SourceForge is the best known of a number of similar sites that provide hosting for open source projects, integrating a number of tools such as source control, issue tracking, documentation tools, and so on. Others include Google Code ( and language-specific sites such as RubyForge (

GitHub provides Git hosting and has recently gained a lot of attention when it started hosting the Ruby on Rails project.

This is a hosted issue-tracking system with integration for Subversion and Git.

This is a secure, hosted project management solution providing Subversion or Git hosting together with integrated issue tracking.

Rally provides Agile life-cycle management tools.

This is a project management and planning tool designed specifically for agile software development. This is also available for local installation as well as hosted.

Pivotal Tracker:
Tracker is a free, award-winning, story-based project-planning tool that allows teams to collaborate in real time.

Commercial Solutions
Perforce is a source control system that particularly concentrates on cross-platform support and performance. It also includes a simple issue-tracking system or can integrate with various open source or commercial solutions.

FogBugz, from Fog Creek Software, is a flexible bug tracking and project planning tool, available for local installation or as a hosted solution. It’s traditionally been available for Windows, but is in the process of being ported to Linux and Macintosh.

Visual Studio Team System:
Microsoft’s Visual SourceSafe has long been a favorite punch bag, criticized for a range of failings. To be fair, Microsoft can hardly complain about this given that it never seemed to use it itself despite its famous policy of eating its own dog food. Thankfully,
Microsoft’s offering in this area seems to have improved to no end recently with the introduction of Visual Studio Team System, a fully integrated source control and project management solution.

Rational ClearCase and ClearQuest:
The ClearCase source control system and its associated issuetracking solution ClearQuest used to be considered the default enterprise choice. They are expensive and complex, however, and inappropriate for anything other than large teams with dedicated
support organizations.

This is a fully integrated source control and project management system.

This is a distributed system with similar goals to Git.

Source of Information :  Paul Butcher - Debug it Find repair and prevent bugs
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