Software Configuration Management... for the Technical Writer

Written by Edward B. Toupin

Many software companies with which I've worked didn't have any type of process in place for tracking and managing their software. Usually two or three lead developers controlledrepparttar software. Everyone else had to work behind them to update or integrate their individual components. Asrepparttar 133602 projects grew, developers became confused, management became frustrated, and writers quit because it was hard to keep up with so many simultaneous changes.

--- What is Software Configuration Management? ---

The purpose of Software Configuration Management (SCM) is to identifyrepparttar 133603 state and configuration of a software project and be able to control changes to maintainrepparttar 133604 software's integrity, traceability, and accountability throughoutrepparttar 133605 software life cycle. The core objective of SCM is to bring control torepparttar 133606 development process through:

- increasing development productivity, - supporting better control overrepparttar 133607 project, - supporting better project management, - reducing errors and bugs, - supporting faster problem identification and bug fixes, - improving customer goodwill.

One problem is that a single SCM solution is not suited for all projects. Whilerepparttar 133608 core SCM objectives and functions remainrepparttar 133609 same,repparttar 133610 SCM system has to be tailored for each project.

--- SCM Process forrepparttar 133611 Technical Writer ---

Many software projects I've seen changed course daily. One dayrepparttar 133612 product worked one way,repparttar 133613 next day it was completely different. Many ofrepparttar 133614 writers at these companies walked outrepparttar 133615 door mumbling that "the company wasn't ready for documentation."

Actually, this isrepparttar 133616 norm for many newer software companies and you'd be surprised how ready they are to have you!

When working on software documentation, it's important to either get involved inrepparttar 133617 SCM process, or put one in place so that you can always haverepparttar 133618 most recent version ofrepparttar 133619 software with which to work. Of course, you can't afford to spend days working on a complete process that, inrepparttar 133620 mean time, won't be adopted byrepparttar 133621 company. However, you can take a piece ofrepparttar 133622 puzzle and use it to your advantage.

Of course, once development settles down a bit, you'll have a real product to work with. But, inrepparttar 133623 mean time, you haverepparttar 133624 core product that you can use in your task analysis and research. This single step will place you leaps and bounds in front of other writers who give up because ofrepparttar 133625 ever-changing state of a product!

The general steps of an SCM process are described inrepparttar 133626 following subsections. Your knowledge of these processes can enhancerepparttar 133627 development and deliverables for any software project!

* Source Code Versioning and Tracking

Source code versioning and tracking is usually handled by some type of source safeing application. The application is used to store and track different versions ofrepparttar 133628 source code so that developers can maintain an archive of changes withoutrepparttar 133629 fear of losing any level of previous changes.

Source safeing applications save each new version ofrepparttar 133630 code by archivingrepparttar 133631 differences between previous versions. If you want to go back to a previous version ofrepparttar 133632 code,repparttar 133633 application rebuildsrepparttar 133634 selected version fromrepparttar 133635 differences.

If you have numerous files in a given project, you can tag a set of files with a symbolic name. This symbolic name can be used to extract all files for a release or version number so that you can group all current project files together.

The most popular source safeing applications includerepparttar 133636 following:

- Visual Source Safe: - PVCS: - RCS: - CVS:

You should talk torepparttar 133637 system administrator to obtain access so that you can downloadrepparttar 133638 code. Not only will you be able to better understand what's going on inrepparttar 133639 application by readingrepparttar 133640 code, but you can accessrepparttar 133641 various headers to develop Application Programming Interface (API) references as required.

* Installation Builds

It'srepparttar 133642 responsibility ofrepparttar 133643 developers to determine and acquire all files associated with a given installation. All files should be uploaded intorepparttar 133644 source safe system and tagged. Once a new tag is created, you can downloadrepparttar 133645 version onto a build machine and create a new version ofrepparttar 133646 product. In some cases, this responsibility is handed off to a Configuration Manager, however, your purpose for getting involved inrepparttar 133647 SCM process is to develop solid documentation...not managerepparttar 133648 source safe.

Ideally, as part of an SCM process,repparttar 133649 build process should occur at least once a week. It's a good idea to talk withrepparttar 133650 developers so they can notify you when they tag a new release. In this way you are obtaining a complete and up-to-date set of files to buildrepparttar 133651 most current product.

Resources for Learning About Mobile Wireless Internet

Written by Richard Hsu

Ever since I publishedrepparttar article on "Are you ready for wireless revolution " (, I received huge response from readers telling how greatrepparttar 133601 article it is. I wish to express my gratitude for all these positive responses.

Are you still wondering how you can takerepparttar 133602 first step to get started in making your site wireless ? Do you wish keep updated with latest development in wireless industry ? In this article, I will make several recommendations that will help you to get going immediately.

Here are few more sites that you can visit for information on wireless:

* ( * ( * DotWAP (

You could try to joinrepparttar 133603 following discussion groups if you need help and have your questions answered while you are building your wireless site.

·Eurowireless ( ·eMobiNet! Community (htt:// ·WAP Group (

To keep yourself updated with latest development in wireless industry, go subscriberepparttar 133604 following daily newsletters which email yourepparttar 133605 daily wireless news updates:

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