Review: Telelogic SYNERGY
SYNERGY/CM 6.3 (starting at $1500/user) and SYNERGY/Change 4.3 (starting
SYNERGY is a high-end set of applications for change management and
configuration management (the latter including traditional source code
control management and a whole lot more). I installed their evaluation
version recently and tried it out, and was favorably impressed by some
of the innovations that I saw here. Though I hadn't run across Telelogic
before, I suspect that's just because I don't play in the big corporate
world these days; they've got a serious history and big customer list
SYNERGY/Change is the change management system, which runs in your Web
browser (and integrates with the other pieces here). This gives you the
ability to enter new requests into the system (bugs to fix, features to
add, and so on), assign them, and track their progress. It works quickly
and is thoroughly configurable; there seems to have been a lot of
attention paid to detail here.
SYNERGY/CM takes over when it's time to do the actual work. You'll find
quite a bit of functionality wrapped in this package: workflow
management, workspaces, release and build management, and so on. And, of
course, there's task-based configuration management to keep track of
when things are ready to check in and build (together with some
intelligent integrity checking to make sure that what's getting checked
in and built is reasonably sane in terms of the defined tasks).
One innovation I really like here is ActiveCM. That's their name for a
completely transparent configuration management system, and it's a
radical rethinking. Traditionally, of course, you check files out for a
particular task, work on them, and check them back in (and indeed,
SYNERGY/CM supports this style of work as well). But ActiveCM takes a
different route: tell it what task you'll be working on (presumably
input via SYNERGY/Change), tell it where on your hard drive you'll be
working - and that's it! As you edit, create, rename, delete, and
otherwise work with files, ActiveCM does the right thing in the backend
CM system. It's a marvelous way to make SYNERGY/CM compatible with any
IDE you care to use, so long as it stores source code in actual files,
and it seems to work quite well.
There are too many other features in this set of packages to even list
here, let alone discuss in any detail. You'll find user interfaces to
make tracking your to-do list and reporting task status lightning fast.
You'll find a distributed change management system that links together
multiple repositories via replication, even over slow links (and even
between the Windows and Unix versions of the product); this is a great
way to manage a distributed or global development team. You'll get the
ability to apply versioning to components and applications as well as
files, and fine-grained tracking of what changed in any given release.
And you get a workflow management system flexible enough to accomodate
anything from an agile approach to something way up the CMM maturity
Obviously, SYNERGY isn't going to replace Visual SourceSafe for the
developer who manages a few dozen files on a single project with one or
two contributors. But if you're dealing with more substantial
requirements, and want to use a system that was thought out with the
developer in mind, take a look. You can arrange for an evaluation CD
from the comapny's Web site.
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.