Every programmer needs a source control system, and every programmer’s got one: CVS. It’s omnipresent in UNIX/Linux environments, available with GUI flavoring for Windows and Mac, and can be integrated with development environments ranging from Eclipse to CodeWarrior. Sure, the documentation can be dicey, but for that, you’ve got Essential CVS by Jennifer Vesperman.
Vesperman, who’s been writing about CVS at O’Reilly.com for years, has assembled an exceptionally clear and accessible CVS tutorial. Her one-chapter “quick start guide” covers all you need to know to get rolling: installing and building CVS from source, or with apt, rpm, or yast; building repositories and importing projects into them; access existing repositories; checking out files; working with temporary “sandboxes,” and committing changes.
You’ll find detailed coverage of tagging and branching, including techniques you can use to fix bugs in older versions without changing current code, or modify configuration sets for staging servers without modifying production servers. Next, you’ll learn how to use CVS in environments with multiple users -- including reserving files, displaying recent changes and file histories, and more.
The book’s thorough coverage on CVS administration includes a detailed chapter on repository management, structure, and backups; another on using CVS as a project management tool; and yet another on working with remote repositories. Vesperman presents dozens of troubleshooting techniques, covering everything from connectivity and permissions to filename and line-ending problems. She wraps up with complete references to CVS commands, CVSROOT files and variables, environment variables, keywords, and more. Very handy. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.