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From "Xavier Hanin" <>
Subject Re: Best Practices for Version Convergence
Date Thu, 16 Aug 2007 07:09:22 GMT
On 8/15/07, Stephane Bailliez <> wrote:
> Nascif Abousalh-Neto wrote:
> > One of the features that attracted me to Ivy was the possibility to
> > switch between dynamic and fixed versions. While dynamic versions can
> > help you to keep your code always integrated with the latest and
> > greatest from your dependencies (specially if backed up by a Continuous
> > Integration server), a static version can protect you from a buggy new
> > version and allow you some stability to develop a new feature while your
> > dependency is churning.
> >
> > But I got worried after a conversation with a friend from a large
> > company, which told me that they gave up on using static versions
> > because they would never converge. Complex products typically have many
> > "diamond-shape" subgraphs embedded in their dependency graphs, which
> > creates lateral dependencies that are hard if not impossible to catch
> > locally. Even if you can detect them early by using tools that can
> > pinpoint the affected areas in the dependency graph, they are still hard
> > to solve if they cross team boundaries.
> >
> [...]
> > Has anybody working on a similar scenario faced this issue? Any advise
> > or suggestion?
> >
> There is not one size fit all answer for this I'm afraid. It depends a
> lot on the team process. They type of products you are building
> internally and if all these products obey the same type of deadline and
> focus, team experience, etc...
> I have always found that the barrier to any dependency management is not
> the tools in any way or any technical issue but it is mostly a human
> process. You will spend a full year of frustration of people not
> listening and continuously doing weird things and complexify the builds
> and processes in amazing way.
> I have experienced that several times and it is _always_ the same story
> as frustrating as this is. (and large software companies doing IT work
> are not any better, I have seen very very very very silly things in 150+
> developer projects)
> It all depends as well how much the team in question has had to product
> development in comparison to short-term IT-type development. The
> approach and mindset will be very different between all those people.
> Sometimes you will have no choice than to let people do the wrong thing
> until they are knee deep in a terrible mess and willing to accept the
> obvious.
> Human is the most painful part to change management.

I agree with you, stephane.

To go a little bit further about your question, Nascif, I'd say that there
are some practices which may be interesting for you. For example, you can
use a flexible conflict manager like the default one, and add warnings when
a conflict occur, requiring someone to review the decisions of the conflict
manager. If you disagree with one of these decisions, you can always use the
conflict management section of your ivy file to make a static choice instead
of relying on the conflict manager for this case. This requires some
development on a custom conflict manager, but can be interesting.

An easier way to do something pretty similar is to review Ivy dependencies
report regularly, or at least whenever you release a product.

You can also use only static revisions but use variables for the actual
revisions to use. Then you can keep control over the versions you use for a
product in a single property file for instance.

That's only some ideas, as Stephane said, it really depends a lot on your
teams and processes.



-- stephane

Xavier Hanin - Independent Java Consultant

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