MKS Expertly Tracks Changes

Doing team development work without a software configuration solution in place is like taking a long walk on a short pier -- not recommended. Mortice Kern Systems' (MKS') Source Integrity, Professional Edition 3.3 is a complete software configuration solution that gives development managers the tools to administer source code (configuration management) and effectively handle the many change requests that occur during a project's life cycle (change management).

The product comprises two primary components: Source Integrity, a configuration management tool; and Track Integrity, a change management solution. Together these components provide everything development teams need to increase productivity and protect intellectual property.

In this release, MKS has increased the level of integration between the two components, allowing team members to easily associate problems or change requests with a project or release, netting greater process management.

However, I found its lack of integration with project management tools such as Microsoft's Project disappointing. MKS says it will add this functionality to a future release, but in the meantime the company lags behind rival StarBase. In most ways, however, MKS holds its own against the competition, which includes Merant PVCS.

To begin my testing, I wanted to define the users who would be working on my test project and define the operations and permissions of each. The Security and Administration Module allowed me to perform these functions easily.

One useful feature of this product is the "sandbox" -- a developer's personal workspace for a project. Revisions made in the sandbox are checked in to Source Integrity, which in turn checks them into the master project. This allows developers to experiment with new ideas and fix bugs safely outside the mainstream project, which can effectively eliminate common workflow problems such as improper file locking, duplication of effort, and loss of data due to accidental overwriting.

The one thing truly lacking in Source Integrity is a collaboration vehicle, such as that found in StarBase, which has threaded discussion capabilities.

Source Integrity, Professional Edition 3.3 should prove an adequate solution for your software-configuration needs. Its excellent integration between configuration management and change management functions and easy-to-use interface will help your development team improve project workflow.

Tim Fielden (tim_fielden@infoworld.com) is a senior analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center.

THE BOTTOM LINE: GOOD

Source Integrity Professional Edition 3.3Summary: Source Integrity provides developers, project leaders, and quality-assurance staff with tools to better manage software development projects.

Business Case: Putting Source Integrity to work in your development environment should result in fewer product defects, higher developer productivity, and better adherence to project time lines.

Pros:

+ Links with third-party development tools+ Excellent tutorials and help+ Strong support for change managementCons:

- No support for project management applications- No threaded collaboration capabilities- Limited platform supportCost: $1,299 per seat for Windows; $599 per seat for UnixPlatform(s): Windows 95/98, Windows NT 4.0Mortice Kern Systems Inc., Ontario, Canada; (800) 265-2797; www.mks.com

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