Changing fortunes for SCM
July 1, 2010 —
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It is no longer about just managing source code, Klassen said. It is about managing everything in the life cycle because “development doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It is dependent on the upstream and downstream of information, assets, activities, and all of the relationships among them.”
SCM is an enabler of innovation, Klassen explained, and innovation comes from the design and requirements, not version control. But the more SCM happens automatically behind the scenes, the more efficiencies are gained with the reuse of source code as well as other things the tool can deliver, he said.
Aside from these two predictions of the future of SCM integration, Forrester's West added that operational and developmental integrations will be key in the future as well. “Right now we see transient links at best [between the two], to the point that developers have to do archeology in the build if something goes wrong, and that is the biggest concern to me,” he said.
“The only way I see to really fix this is to have the same people working on the same code all the time, which is unrealistic,” he added. But, “if a focus is shifted from powerful repositories that don’t link deployment and other areas to tighter working structures,” the problem could be eased.
On the periphery of SCM's future is the expansion of version control into other industries. Perforce's Chanter said, “Source code management is only the tip of the iceberg for SCM, and versioning more types of content for more types of people is definitely part of [Perforce’s] future road map. We see SCM going beyond product and system development.”
West agreed that version control is becoming valid in other areas, such as architecture, general administration and engineering.
This initiative would enable versioning of more types of data and expand SCM to a wider audience, Chanter said. “Currently, we store digital assets and large binary files, but eventually we’d like to store medical records or legal documents, for example, and broaden people’s access to this data” by hosting the solutions in the cloud or as a service, he added.