As Perforce CEO and founder Christopher Seiwald said in his 2011 Perforce User Conference keynote, the traditional approach for Perforce releases, “evolution not revolution,” is no longer capable of meeting all of our customers’ needs.
CEO Christopher Seiwald (right) and P4 Peeps at
Streams Launch Party
In a world that increasingly expects intelligent tools, open interfaces, and the versioning of all types of assets, a more radical and accelerated roadmap is needed to meet those demands. However, it is critical that these changes are introduced without compromising the traditional reliability and high performance that existing Perforce users depend on.
The Perforce 2011.1 release marks the first to be made with these new goals in mind. In this article, some of the major changes are highlighted, along with reasons why they’re important and tips on how to start your upgrade planning. For a definitive list of the changes, see the latest release notes.
Perforce Streams is built on concepts first introduced in the book Practical Perforce by Laura Wingerd several years ago. The buzz really started building at the 2011 Perforce User Conference in San Francisco, gained momentum with great webinars, videos, and blog postings, and continued on with the EMEA Innovation Roadshow tour.
Users will benefit from a powerful model that understands branches, resulting in fewer changes being incorrectly merged or missed altogether. They will be able to switch between development and maintenance quickly and safely with simple operations to switch context and automated preparation of their work area for the next piece of work.
Although streams may be the most obvious and major change in the 2011.1 release, the core merge engine (long regarded as one of the clear strengths of Perforce) has undergone major review and update to ensure it keeps its leadership position.
The new merge engine results in quicker and simpler merges. Support for file renaming, file deletes, and changes to filetypes in different branches are handled intelligently. “Cherry-picked” revisions are handled correctly in later merges. Overall, many more merges can be performed automatically and safely without manual intervention or complex scripting.
And Much More…
- In addition to the support for Streams, new simplified merge, copy, and branch dialogs are available in P4V, as well as a powerful new filter builder that makes it easier to find files, changelists, or other Perforce objects.
- Previously undocumented but well-known commands are now fully supported. For example, “p4 interchanges” can be used to report on changelists (not just files) that have yet to be merged between branches.
- “p4 diskspace” makes it easier for Perforce admins to understand disk space usage for important server storage volumes.
More to Come
Perforce 2011.1 is a significant release for all existing and new users—but it’s only the first step in the “revolutionary” roadmap. Other new capabilities previewed at the User Conference such as P4Sandbox, Chronicle, Commons, and new Visual Studio and Eclipse integrations are all in progress and will be available in the near future.
In the meantime, all users can start planning to upgrade by downloading Perforce 2011.1. If you have any questions regarding the new release or how to upgrade, contact us via the forums or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Warren is the EMEA Product Marketing Manager at Perforce, based in the UK. Mark has over 25 years of experience working with development and product management teams in software development tools and configuration management.