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Seapine's SCM Software Moves Forward

12.28.2009
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The Enterprise-level SCM (Software Configuration Management) market has a lot of competitors.  Companies like Perforce, Accurev, and PVCS sell robust SCM tools while other providers have a complete ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) solution, such as MKS and Microsoft Team Foundation Server.  Seapine is one of the companies with a complete ALM solution that focuses on customization.  Seapine's Surround SCM software includes data storage in industry-standard relational databases, caching proxy servers for fast distributed development, file-level workflow, IDE integrations (Eclipse, NetBeans, etc.), and flexible branching and labeling capabilities.  The company consistently updates all of its ALM tools.  The most recent update was Seapine's Surround SCM 2010.  DZone interviewed Jeff Amfahr, the Senior Product Manager for Surround SCM, to see how Seapine was improving the SCM process.

Surround SCM Workflow
Amfahr says the Surround SCM server application is typically deployed with an organization's mission critical servers.  Smaller groups tend to install Surround SCM on a workgroup server.  "Different team members will install the appropriate Surround SCM client and perform the applicable integrations," said Amfahr.  "For example, the development team may install and integrate the Surround SCM Windows client with Visual Studio; the graphic design team may install and integrate the Mac OS X client with Dreamweaver; and the web team may install and integrate the Linux client with Eclipse. Then, each team member will add and modify the files in the Surround SCM repository as necessary."  One of the key features of Surround SCM according to Amfahr, is the ability for external consultants to receive highly restricted access to just one area of the repository, allowing them to participate in the development process without the risk of accessing or modifying sensitive information.

"Some team members may choose to be notified via email when files or directories change," said Amfahr.  "The project manager may want to know whenever someone modifies one of the design documents. Surround SCM enables you to create triggers to automatically notify users whenever a change occurs, such as when a file is created or modified, or when a file enters a specific workflow state, or when a custom field changes, to name a few. This type of automatic notification system keeps team members informed and eliminates any redundant work."  With Surround SCM, different parts of the organization can use different development processes.  The branch level of Surround SCM can define lightweight workflows with frequent branching, such as Agile, or well-defined workflows like waterfall.  

Seapine Surround SCM 2010
The new version of Surround SCM brings much needed third-party application integration and an Open API.  This opens up a whole new realm of customization for developers using Surround SCM.  The new version also includes interactive list and workflow reports that are customizable with CSS.  New external reporting plugins leverage the RDBMS reporting tools that an organization already has.  License usage tracking in Surround SCM 2010 shows how licenses are being used.




Other productivity-enhancement features include:
  • Support for Unix symlinks
  • Automatic client upgrades to simply administration
  • Integration with Apple’s Xcode development environment

Comparing Surround SCM
Amfahr says, "Surround SCM is built on top of standard commercial or open source RDBMS platforms, such as Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, and PostgreSQL. Most competitive products use proprietary, non-standard storage mechanisms that don’t provide the safety and scalability of trusted solutions, and also lock you into an “information jail” that can be difficult to move your data from if needed."  Surround SCM also includes role-based security for controlling developers see and what actions they can perform.  Amfahr says this level of security isn't available in other tools.

Future Features
Seapine will continue to add integrations with third-party tools.  Amfahr says, "In addition, because we leverage standard database systems like SQL Server and Oracle for all data storage, we will continue to improve our reporting and tracking capabilities."  Although Surround SCM is built to integrate with other Seapine solutions, they intend to enhance integration further with TestTrack RM and TestTrack TCM.  "Reporting enhancements will provide additional capabilities to work in conjunction with other Seapine ALM tools so team members can easily access, analyze, and share information," said Amfahr.  "It will also give managers transparency into the change management and asset management processes, and provide an overall project view to better manage project success."