Review: Merant Professional 8.0
Merant Professional 8.0
starting at $1399 per named user
This is the software previously known as PVCS, with a few tools brought
together into a suite and rebranded. Merant is well known in the areas
of software configuration management and process management. If you've
got a bunch of developers and QA people and managers all working
together to maintain a suite of applications, you'll probably want to
take a look at their products.
What you'll find here is a number of products that all work together.
Merant Tracker handles bug and feature tracking, with workflow and
notification processes built in. Users of your applications can enter
issues directly from a Web page, and they'll automatically make their
way through managers, developers, and testers.
When the developer is ready to tackle a bug, they'll be using Merant
Version Manager, the software configuration management piece. This one
has been overhauled extensively, with a new focus on distributed
architecture for serious scalability, as well as both named and
concurrent user licensing. You'll also find tight integration with
Visual Studio .NET here; a developer can do most of their work from
e-mail and VS .NET, without ever opening a dedicated Version Manager
For complex builds, there's a new tool, Merant Build. This is actually
an OEM'd version of Catalyst's OpenMake tool, which is designed to
support both local and remote builds as well as the automatic
construction of build rules for complex software. You'll find
cross-platform and cross-language here.
When builds are done, Merant Tracker will push them along to the QA
team. There's also a structured deployment piece that allows quickly
rolling out pieces of fixed software from staging to final servers. This
is Merant Mover,, which is designed to automate post-build
deployment tasks. You can move files between multiple servers with pre-
and post-move scripting and full auditing, plus e-mail notifications.
Many build tools can do some of this, but Mover offers a lot more
sophistication than the typical build tool.
One nice thing about the Merant tools is that they don't force a
particular style of working; there are Web, command-line, and GUI
interfaces for most everything, as well as IDE integration. So whether
you're a sophisticated developer or an entry-level tester, you can
probably find a way of working with this suite of products that makes
sense. For those trying to coordinate the work of teams on a large,
complex product, a set of tools such as this is indispenable.
Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.