Plastic SCM new releases (5.0.44.563 is out)

Sunday, May 11, 2014 0 Comments

It’s been a while since my last blog post about a new Plastic release although we’ve been quite busy releasing new versions on a really frequent basis.

Here goes a diagram showing the new releases we’ve created since February 25th:

We’re putting a lot of focus on the 5.4 release (which is available to download in the ‘labs’ section, and it is *really* pretty stable) which is the one where we’re merging most of the new features, and also making some maintenance releases for some installations still using 4.1 (basically improvements for *big* servers under heavy load, which were merged to 5.0 and 5.4 too). And of course we also created a few 5.0 releases, the ‘official’ version getting bug fixes and non-disruptive changes (frozen API).

Overview of the 5.0 releases

Here goes an overview of the key features released in the last 5.0 versions:

Highlights:

  • Lots of improvements in the Eclipse plugin (and more to come).
  • Improved CLI arguments and help. We’re improving the CLI to ease automation. Much more coming in the next releases, together with a full review of the help.
  • Improved JIRA extension.
  • New “plasticlogstats” options. It is now able to print XML output for easier parsing. More about the tool here.
  • Performance and memory usage improvements (check release notes of 5.0.44.555).
  • Improvements and added features in the Maven plugin.
  • New Polarion plugin.

What are we doing in 5.4?

Well, we’ll be publishing soon a section on the website about ‘what is new in 5.4’, but before that let me highlight a few interesting features we’ve been working on.

We’re working side by side with some game studios to make Plastic *the* version control for game developers, and in fact 5.4 is already the version we recommend to game teams.

It is not an easy task since game teams have quite particular versioning requirements, but it is a really exciting challenge for the entire team and the results so far are promising.

Many teams in the game industry are moving away from previous generation version control systems into Plastic, which they find as a good options since it brings together distributed version control with centralized requirements and big binaries.

Here is the list of some of the features that you can already see in 5.4:

  • WAN optimized network transfer: 3 times faster than TCP when latency is high. Designed to connect teams on different continents.
  • Submodules: a more flexible way to manage thousands of repositories (not only for games but big teams in general).
  • Horizontal scalability: cloud based technology (available on-premise) lets add more servers to handle load (requests are evenly distributed among the available workers).
  • Transformable workspaces: client specs to locally transform the project structure in the workspace.
  • P4Sync: bi-directional synch with Perforce repos to ease transition and migration.
  • Fast-update: advanced update with minimal disk interaction. For game developers on huge projects.
  • Multi-core checkin: makes better use of fast disks and networks when uploading (and compressing) huge amounts of data. Can be up to 3 times faster than regular checkin. Beats competitors.
  • Multi-core update: takes advantage of multi-core workstations during big data download to workspaces. Uses more cores to uncompress and write to disk, so the only limit will be the available network bandwidth.
  • Improved blob storage: when a single working copy is bigger than 150Gb the underlying repository needs to be heavily optimized for large data. This is what improved blob storage is all about, both at the server (including replica) and update cache (proxy server) sides.

Does it mean 5.4 is *only for game devs*? Definitely not. Every feature in the list benefits all kinds of users and there’s also a big number of usability improvements included.

And, BTW, one of the key efforts in 5.4 is the development of Mac (Cocoa) and Linux (GTK) native GUIs: they will replace the current X11 based multi-platform GUI creating a richer native experience.

Stay tuned!

The Plastic SCM Team

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