Tools Used For Configuration Software Management

Software configuration management is the task or tracking and controlling changes in software in software engineering. As a software project evolves, software configuration management can make changes to an existing template, thus incrementally improving it.Often customers won’t have the tools they need to work on configuration software management. If you were a builder and you were about to construct a house, the last thing you would do is think ‘I’ll just use whatever I have at the moment in my truck’, and just start building. You would plan ahead, and take the correct tools.Similarly, finding the right tools for software management will make the job much easier than trying to forge ahead with tools that just won’t do the job. Businesses often don’t have the correct tools in-house to manage change in their software. This can lead to all sorts of problems in their documentation and in their IT systems.Say we had two people working on different sections on the same document. If one person made changes, saved them, then the other finished their changes and saved them, but did not have the correct tool for doing this, they would simply overwrite the changes the first person had made.Of course, what you would like is for Person A to make their changes while Person B also made theirs, and then for them both to save their changes and still not overwrite anything. How is this possible? Configuration management systems will allow you to have two separate documents open and still make the correct changes. After both workers have finished working, the system will recognise that changes have been made by both and will merge the two sets of changes into one document.Configuration software management can do many more things than just tracking and merging changes, but this example shows that even simple tasks would benefit from the right systems. The general system is based on the same simple idea: that definitive copies of files are kept centrally while other copies are tracked by other people.There are three main tools that configuration software management systems use: concurrency management, versioning and synchronisation. All of these work on the same basic system – that there are definitive copies of your files and working copies.Concurrency management means that more than one person may be working on a file at the same time. There can be problems with this, as people could still overwrite things if they open and save the files at the same time; these systems get round things by copying a version of the file, then merging the copies back into the main file, which runs algorithms to merge the changes.Versioning means the file will keep track of all revisions, so there are previous files all copied into the system. This type of system allows you to log who has made changes and when.Synchronisation is where individual files are opened, and then the changes are saved to the master file periodically. Their personal copies are then updated through a process called syncing or updating, so they stay up-to-date with other people’s changes.As you can see, these types of systems are especially useful in tracking changes made to software. In a software engineering organisation there may be a large number of people making changes to a large number of individual source code files and software – so you can see how using the right tools will mean the whole system doesn’t fall down.

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