Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

This forum is for all Flare issues related to using Source Control.

Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Wed Feb 22, 2012 4:47 am

Hi there,
we're thinking about switching to subversion, now that Flare has got it on the function list.

Right now we're working with MS VSS 2005 and keep having the same problem:
1. somebody checks out a file, changes it and checks it in again
2. other writers get the status "out of date" for that file
but:
3. if one of those other writers doesn't check or see that status, they get away without doing a "Get Latest Version", which means, that they still have the old version on the local drive. That can lead to: the file being checked out again, changed and checked in again
=> the changes of the first writer are lost and nobody notices

My question is: Does subversion (in coop with Flare) have a mechanism that prevents that?
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby RamonS on Wed Feb 22, 2012 5:32 am

i-tietz wrote:3. if one of those other writers doesn't check or see that status, they get away without doing a "Get Latest Version", which means, that they still have the old version on the local drive. That can lead to: the file being checked out again, changed and checked in again
=> the changes of the first writer are lost and nobody notices


The checkout should get the latest version by default. I know that there is a way around that, but I'd mark that up as user error. I'm not that familiar with VSS anymore, but you may want to see if you can configure a checkout to mandate a get latest for that file. If writers work offline without checking a file out then they need to (manually) merge the changes preserving the checked in additions.
Being able to check out without getting latest is an option in probably all source control systems, because in some cases it is essential to be able to do just that. Switching source control systems will not fix the users, but only replace the existing problems with different ones.

That said, I tried Flare and Subversion with good success. If you switch, make sure that you use the native SVN protocol. Using HTTP adds too much overhead and makes the whole system rather slow.
RamonS
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 4291
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:29 am
Location: The Electric City

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:50 am

RamonS wrote:If you switch, make sure that you use the native SVN protocol. Using HTTP adds too much overhead and makes the whole system rather slow.
Good tip - thanx.

The "should", "can" and the "probably" tells me: You don't know for sure.
Anybody here who does?
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby Nita Beck on Wed Feb 22, 2012 6:53 am

We've been using Subversion (SVN) with Flare for one my clients. There are two staff writers and me, an independent. We've all set Flare to check for the latest updates as soon as we start up a given project that is bound to SVN. We've also set Flare to lock files when we check them out, so that we don't walk over each others' changes. Overall, it works quite smoothly.

Some of my time, I'm working offsite at my own office, without access to SVN. In that case, obviously, Flare can't lock any files that I work on. When I return onsite, if Flare finds that another writer has touched the same files that I have, it recognizes the conflicts and asks how I want to handle merging the changes from the two sources. Again, quite smooth operation.

But, there have been times when Flare seems to "get confused." Yesterday, while onsite, I attempted to add to SVN a handful of new topic, snippet, and image files. For some inexplicable reason, the commit to SVN failed and suddenly Flare considered every single file in the entire project to be an "add." After several attempts to get Flare to get its act together (including restarting the computer), I ended up unbinding the project and then importing the project anew from SVN. Fortunately, I knew exactly which files I had been trying to add, so I was able to grab them from the unbound project and copy them into the new bound project and then attempt the "add" again. This time it worked. But that was a 30-45 minutes of lost authoring productivity. There have been other similarly mysterious issues that I and another of the writers have experienced, which we suspect to be Flare's doing, not SVN's. But overall, we're satisfied.

BTW, we use TortoiseSVN for some of the SVN operations, such as to view the repository, view the check-in log, create a branch, break a lock. I submitted an enhancement request to MadCap awhile ago to add more SVN operations to Flare, but who knows...

Despite the occasional difficulties, I'm so pleased using Flare with SVN that I've set up my own SVN server so that I can source control my other clients' projects.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 3363
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:26 am

Nita Beck wrote:We've been using Subversion (SVN) with Flare for one my clients. There are two staff writers and me, an independent. We've all set Flare to check for the latest updates as soon as we start up a given project that is bound to SVN.

So do we. but that still leaves the described risk: If I check in a file now and a colleague checks it out afterwards without doing a "Get Latest Version" she will overwrite my changes.
Nita Beck wrote:We've also set Flare to lock files when we check them out
But the file isn't checked out anymore - so the lock is gone, too.

Nita Beck wrote:Some of my time, I'm working offsite at my own office, without access to SVN.
Thankfully we don't do that. We don't want to merge ...

Nita Beck wrote:But, there have been times when Flare seems to "get confused."
Same happens to us - since we updated to Flare 7.2. Did you report a bug? We did. Seems MC cannot reproduce it. But if more users have problems with status messages from Source Control, then maybe they put in more resources ... at least that's how we do it (yes - I am working for a software producing company).
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby Nita Beck on Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:52 am

Sorry if I'm not quite understanding. If you've got Flare set to lock files when you check them out and you have checked out a file, then that file is locked and your colleague should be able to get it only in a Read-Only state. She shouldn't be able to make any changes to it. Once you check it in, it's unlocked and now she can check it out and change it. That's how the workflow goes for my colleagues and me...

Say my colleague has a file checked out, and hence, it is locked. I now open my working copy of the project and get the latest updates. I can see in Flare that the file is checked out by Colleague A. I can open the file but I can't change it.

I'm sorry if I'm not understanding something. about your setup.. Just trying to be helpful.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 3363
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:16 am

Nita Beck wrote:Sorry if I'm not quite understanding. If you've got Flare set to lock files when you check them out and you have checked out a file, then that file is locked and your colleague should be able to get it only in a Read-Only state. She shouldn't be able to make any changes to it. Once you check it in, it's unlocked and now she can check it out and change it.

The colleague has the OLD version on his local computer, because he didn't perform a "Get Latest Version". And he can check it out - completely ignoring the status "out of date".
I would like the software to prevent that.
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby Nita Beck on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:27 am

I realize that his working copy is old. If Flare has been set up to always check for updates when a bound project is loaded, Flare will prompt your colleague to ask if he wants to get the latest updates. The only way he won't get the updates if is he says "No, don't get them." That's a process failure on his part, it seems to me (meaning no disrespect). I don't think that Flare can be configured not to prompt whether to update but to just update...
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 3363
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:30 am

There's the problem:
Nita Beck wrote:... when a bound project is loaded, ...

What if the loading happened in the morning, but the check out takes place in the afternoon?
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby Nita Beck on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:38 am

I see...

I can't put my finger on it right now, but I know that there is an option in Flare someplace to do background status checks (and can specify how often the checks are done). So if later in the afternoon someone checks out a file from the same project, then he shouldn't be able to do anything to it. And if he had it opened already, then it should have been locked and the other person shouldn't have been able to change it.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 3363
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby crdmerge on Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:51 am

The "Check Out" concept is different in SVN interfacing with Flare.

Other SC products: A Check Out usually locks the database version until the user does a Check In. Working Copies are handled differently.

SVN & Flare: Users Check Out a folder through SVN to create a working copy on their machine (a one-time operation). Afterward, Flare alerts them (when they open the project) if they need to update (Get Latest) because of differences between their working copy and the repository. When saving a file that has been changed (inside the project), Flare automatically does its own version of "Check Out" and the user performs an individual file "Check In" or a "Check In All."

All Add, Check In, and Check Out functions should be performed within the Flare project (Flare gets jealous and cranky if you use another method).

Merging concurrent edits by multiple writers is, and always will be with any SC product, problematic; the excruciating pain it causes should be avoided at all costs.


Good luck,
Leon
crdmerge
Sr. Propeller Head
 
Posts: 248
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:37 am

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby Nita Beck on Thu Feb 23, 2012 6:20 am

Inge, I did confirm that there is an option for source control by which one can have Flare do background checks, as frequently as every minute if that's desired. Having that option set might mitigate the problems you've described.
Nita
Image
Content Strategist / Information Architect / Flare Consultant: http://beck-communications.com
Manager, Rochester Flare User Group: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterFlareUserGroup
Nita Beck
Senior Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 3363
Joined: Thu Feb 02, 2006 9:57 am
Location: Pittsford, NY

Re: Anybody experiences with Flare + Subversion?

Postby i-tietz on Fri Feb 24, 2012 6:38 am

I asked for the enhancement in Flare to give me an option for files that are "out of date":
- either stop users from checking them out
- or perform a "get latest version" before the "check out"
Inge____________________________
"I need input! - Have you got input?"
i-tietz
Propellus Maximus
 
Posts: 1219
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:13 am
Location: Fürth, Germany


Return to Source Control

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest