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Using ClearCase for FM version control

We use ClearCase for version control. It's not my idea of a great thing, in
fact it's a pain in the patootie.  DISCLAIMER: I can see that many of these
issues might apply equally to ANY source control software.

FrameMaker lock files!  Don't try to work on a server with ClearCase files.
If you EVER accidentally add a lock file (*.lck) to source control, you'll
have to go to a buildmaster or whoever to delete it. You cannot. And you
won't be able (of course) to work on the Frame file until you deal with the
lock file. The usual workaround is to delete the lock file on the server
(after, for example, a network outage that disrupted a Frame work session). 

Similar effect for auto-backup files. (I've turned off auto-backup, and
turned on autosave.)  This one's not as big a gotcha, but it means that you
either must check out all the backup files as well as the files in a book
before starting to work on a book if your files are on a server.

Related aggro with Frame's use of multiple files at all; ClearCase doesn't
understand about generating books, and if you haven't checked out all the
files in a book, you could find yourself road-blocked in the middle of a
session and maybe even lose some work (or have to save temp copies elsewhere
while you check out all the necessary files). 

Our Docs workaround for all of this is to work on LOCAL copies of
everything. We then regularly (after a batch of work on it, or weekly, or as
needed) check out the suite of Frame files for the project, copy over the
local files into ClearCase, and check 'em in. This still leaves one local
copies to go on working.

It's all very unlike what I believe to be the point of source control...but
that's life. 

Also, we have found the process of checking in and checking out files to be
SLOW....something that really makes the gang-checkin/checkout process a task
to be dreaded. (And one reason among many why I try to minimize the number
of files I'm checking out/in! the ClearCase overhead is per file.)

I've recently learned (thanks to Ananda) that part of the slowness problem
is a \Docs VOB (a term I still don't grok after a year) with thousands more
"elements" in it than Rational recommends (I tried to get a number using
Windows Find *.* on that VOB and maxed the search limit, so it's more than
10,000). We have a planned "solution" (make the buildmaster create a new
Docs VOB for each release in hopes of getting our numbers south of 5,000
elements per VOB) but implementation must wait on his sabbatical because the
temporary build-bod ain't up to that task and there's a releas pending.
(When isn't there?)

Oh, one other point. I'm not stupid, I don't think...and I couldn't make
head nor tails of the ClearCase tutorial. Tried and tried and tried, and
always quit after 4 or 5 screens. Sigh. My boss introduced the pragmatic
"here's how we work it" and since then I've quit trying to get my brain
around it. Rational...it ain't, unless maybe they train better than they
write tutorials.  

Feel free to ask questions. 

Deborah Snavely, Document Architect, Aurigin Systems, Inc.
dsnavely@aurigin.com     (408) 517-7414

Subject: RE: Using Perforce for FM version control?

I'd be really grateful for similar observations about 
Rational ClearCase/ClearQuest, or whatever... Our 
company is switching over (from MKS, which I successfully 
avoided these past couple of years), and I'm asked to 
"get in line".

I don't mind using the system, as long as I don't lose 
anything (besides my time in adapting to new ways).

FrameMaker users of Rational Clear-whatever?  Speak up, please.

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