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Applying Order to Concurrent Versions: O'Reilly Releases "Essential CVS"

June 19, 2003

Sebastopol, CA--One of the greatest frustrations of most software projects is version control. The increasingly fast pace of version revision has only heightened the problem; consecutive work on code or single-programmer software is a rare sight these days. Without careful attention to version control, concurrent and collaborative work can create more headaches than it solves.

CVS, the Concurrent Versions System, is a popular source-code management tool that frees developers from the chaos that too often ensues when multiple users work on the same file. "Version control is essential in any project--even small projects," explains Jennifer Vesperman, author of the just released book, Essential CVS (O'Reilly, US $39.95). "CVS provided everything I needed in the way of version control. But the documentation that is out there is out of date, or written for people who already know CVS. The first time I used CVS I lost another person's work. Entirely unnecessary. I wanted to buy a book that gave an introduction for beginners, and that would clearly explain the advanced topics as well. But it didn't exist."

"CVS is an extremely versatile tool," says Vesperman. CVS allows multiple users to check out files from a directory tree, make changes, and then commit those changes back into the directory. If two developers modify the same file, CVS enables both sets of changes to be merged together into one final file. CVS identifies changes from multiple sources that conflict with each other and can't be resolved automatically. Users can tag specific versions of source code files that combine for any particular software release, allowing them to check out that same combination of files to recreate a particular release.

Although CVS is a lifesaver--and a timesaver--in many development scenarios, it suffers from poor documentation. But with "Essential CVS," developers can have it all: the order that CVS brings and the comprehensive documentation that developers need.

"Essential CVS" is a complete and easy-to-follow reference that helps programmers and system administrators apply order to the task of managing large quantities of documents. The book covers basic concepts and usage of CVS, and features a comprehensive reference for CVS commands--including a handy Command Reference Card for quick, on-the-job checks. The book also includes advanced information on all aspects of CVS that involve automation, logging, branching and merging, and "watches."

Any CVS user, from beginners to team leaders and system administrators, will find this practical guide to CVS indispensable in getting the most from this valuable tool.

Additional Resources:

Essential CVS
Jennifer Vesperman
ISBN 0-596-00459-1, 336 pages, $39.95 US, $61.95 CA, 28.50 UK
1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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