Configuration Management made easy... also for small teams.
User-friendly versioning, centralised management with the possibility of working off-line, powerful interfaces to Eclipse and LabVIEW, as well as a migration tool for CVS... these arguments were decisive for Metrolab to introduce Perforce. Philip Keller, Marketing & Product Manager of Metrolab Technology SA, reports.
Metrolab, headquartered in Geneva (Switzerland), is the worldwide leading supplier of highly precise magnetometers. The mostly standardised instruments are developed, produced and sold by ten employees in Switzerland. These high-tech products are primarily used in medical technology, but also by research institutes and calibration laboratories. Since October 2013, Metrolab is managing its software development with Perforce.
Seamless integration with Eclipse and LabVIEW
"It started with the search for a bug tracking solution... and ended with a new configuration management system and a completely reorganised repository structure", smiles Philip Keller. The tool previously used by Metrolab, CVS, no longer met the company's requirements. Besides Perforce, open-source tools like Subversion and Git were also evaluated. "A deciding strength of Perforce is its integration with Eclipse and LabVIEW, which we use intensively." Keller explains. "The fact that a company such as National Instruments also uses Perforce confirmed us in our decision." Other requirements included a migration tool for CVS as well as centralised management with the possibility of working off-line. The Visual Studio plug-in was also a plus.
Philip Keller, Marketing & Product-Manager,
Metrolab Technology SA, Geneva
Streams – branching & merging made easy
Beside the aforementioned advantages, Metrolab was also taken by the visualisation capabilities of Streams. "We have used Streams for branching & merging right from the beginning – a decision which has solved many problems for us! Thanks to the visualisation in Streams, it's easy to see who is doing what: today project management is substantially easier."
Perforce support compelling
Metrolab consciously decided to perform the evaluation and migration in-house. "EVOCEAN and Perforce supported us extremely well! The fact that already during the evaluation phase we had unlimited access to competent and extremely reactive support is not self-evident", adds Philip Keller. The migration of all CVS files took several months and caused more trouble than anticipated. "Especially the conversion of our files to UTF and the end-of-line handling challenged us". Playing through all scenarios in a test environment proved itself as an efficient approach and is strongly recommended.
0 to 100 in only two days
"Careful preparation, a few hours of training, and the self-explanatory documentation of Perforce... within only two days the whole team was productive," Philip Keller explains further.
Metrolab also used the migration to optimize the structure of its repository. "The reorganisation of existing structures needs to be carefully thought through, and often also requires adaptations, for example to the makefile scripts. Nevertheless, it is a great chance to eliminate burdens of the past."
"At the moment, four software developers work with Perforce," explains Philip Keller. "Our near-term goal is to also use Perforce for hardware development. And for an efficient version control, we further plan to administer our production and marketing documents with Perforce / Commons." Finally, because code reviews are also a topic at Metrolab, Swarm is being considered to simplify collaborative development.
Expectations fulfilled 100 percent
"Yes, I can recommend Perforce with a clear conscience!" according to Philip Keller. The tool has sold itself: within only one week, all employees were persuaded that Perforce was the answer to their problems. The shelving of files – temporarily storing copies of open files in the shared Perforce repository – won the users over right away. "Perforce is a transparent tool which supports the problem-free cooperation of several developers – if necessary also in distributed teams. Today we feel confident in what we do!"