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Pragmatic Version Control Using Subversion

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Wed, 19 Nov 2003

This is an archived blog post. I've switched to using WordPress as my blogging software and have not migrated all my old posts. I believe strongly in not letting an old link die, so this page continues to work. Please do visit mikemason.ca/blog to read newer posts.


Getting out of bed in the morning has always been a challenging experience for me. The alarm goes off, I lie there for a while, invariably toying with the idea of not getting up, pulling a sickie and spending the day doing useful stuff I never get time for at the weekends. But then something happens — I’m not sure what, guilt, fear, boredom — and I decide to drag myself out of bed and into the shower. There are very few occasions when I really want to get out of bed. Going on holiday is about the only one – even at Christmas I’d rather loll around some more.

My motivation for getting up in the morning is so I can go to work, earn money, live comfortably, have fun in the evenings, get married, have kids, pass on my genes, and die happily in my sleep an old man. But what about my motivation for writing software?

It was recently suggested to me that I should be doing more Open Source coding, and that it was a shame someone with talent was “just doing his day job”. Whilst I’m flattered someone thinks my skills are going to waste, I should point out that the reason I’m not doing regular out-of-hours coding is a lack of motivation. I’m motivated to code at work because it’s something I get paid for (let’s be honest about this – I work because I get paid, and I write code for a living because I mostly enjoy it). But I don’t see any point in coding just for fun. I don’t feel compelled to create a groovy new programming language just for the sake of it. I don’t want to write an application container unless I’m actually going to get some use out of it. I’m motivated by software that improves my life – maybe it makes things easier at work, maybe I can create a fancy website out of it to show off to my friends or make it easier to land a job, but I need a concrete reason to actually do something. I very rarely have the time or energy outside of work to do stuff just for fun.

I’m motivated by making my life easier, more fun, or less sucky. StarTeam sucks, possibly more than any other piece of software I deal with. To improve my life and everyone elses, I’ve decided to become a Subversion-ho. I’m already pimping Subversion to anyone who will listen, and it only makes sense for people to start using it if there’s decent tool support (I’m talking more than just TortoiseSVN here). First on the list is adding Subversion support to IntelliJ, for which I’m modifying Ian Bourke’s Perforate plugin. Perforate hooks into IntelliJ’s local VCS system and provides Perforce integration, by running the ‘p4’ executable and snaffling the output. Subversion support will work the same way. We’ll need a new name for the new version — ‘Perversion’ has been suggested… Also on the list is CC.Net, the .Net port of the original Java continuous integration server.

Posted 13:02, 19 Nov 2003.  

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