Supporting Distributed Collaboration through Multidimensional Software Configuration Management
In recent years, new software development methodologies and styles have become popular. In particular, many applications are being developed in the open-source community by groups of loosely coordinated programmers scattered across the globe.
This style of widely distributed collaboration creates a suite of new problems for software development. Instead of being able to knock on the door of a collaborator, all communication between programmers working together on a system must be mediated through the computer. But at the same time, the bandwidth available for communication is dramatically more limited than those available to local collaborators.
In this paper, we present a new SCM system called Stellation which is specifically designed to address the limits of current SCM systems, particularly when those systems are applied to large projects developed in a geographically distributed environment. Stellation attempts to enhance communication and collaboration between programmers by providing a mechanism called multidimensionality that allows them to share viewpoints on the structure and organization of the system; by providing a hierarchical branching mechanism that allows the granularity of coordination to be varied for different purposes; and by providing a mechanism for integrating programming language knowledge into the system, allowing it to be used for organizational and coordination purposes.
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