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Current loctn: reading list > practical software config mgt

Mikkelsen, Tim and Suzanne Pherigo. Practical Software Configuration Management.  1997. Prentice Hall. 301pp. 

This book focuses on the basics of software configuration management, mostly using practical examples of version control strategies implemented using the open source RCS software widely used for that purpose.  RCS is used through a command-line interface, but is very reliable, compact and widely used. RCS nonetheless performs all essential version control functions in a reliable and rigorous fashion, and consequently is an excellent tool for introducing formal version control to individuals or groups who are previously inexperienced.  Many of the more complex version control tools in widespread use are based on underlying application of the RCS "engine", verifying the value of the core RCS software.  

The authors go well beyond simple explanation of RCS use, however.  They also explain the underlying ideas and principles that are relevant to the general use of formal configuration management. I feel it is possible to use this one text as an introduction to the topic and a reference to implementation of an RCS-based configuration management system without reference to any other texts.  For most projects, most or all team members will have little or no exposure to systematic use of configuration management - this book may constitute the very best single reference in such a circumstance.  

The book also contains a section providing nice summaries of a number of widely used version control software packages, with tables comparing features and indicating the type of users ("beginners", "advanced", etc.) for which the software is appropriate.  The copy I purchased came with a CD that actually contained a full version of RCS and demonstration versions of a few other software packages used for version control.