September 26, 2011

Rounding out the 2011.1 release


The 2011.1 release has a ton of improvements and new tools, headlined by streams and the next generation merge engine. But there are a lot of other interesting improvements. Going on the assumption that not everyone will read through the release notes, I wanted to highlight a few other items.

First, the p4 interchanges command is fully supported. This command was the worst kept secret in the undocumented Perforce library, as it was mentioned in Practical Perforce and a lot of other places. p4 interchanges is incredibly useful in some contexts, reporting on changelists (not just files) that have yet to be merged between branches. It still has some caveats and performance concerns, but it's out in the open now.

Next, symlinks are now supported on Windows 7, Vista, and Server 2008 with NTFS file systems, as long as the security settings allow it. Symlink support has been a long standing practical difference between working on Windows and *nix, so I'm pretty happy to see this improvement.

Finally, and most importantly, there is a much easier way to repurpose a workspace. Using new options on p4 client, it's possible to quickly update a workspace view to match a template. The p4 update command will then only pick up the files that actually differ in content once the new view is applied.

p4client template workspace

Easy workspace switching (or in-place branch switching) is a big productivity boost. These improvements are used heavily in the streams framework, of course, but they're available for non-streams usage as well. I'm trying to get our release notes published with embedded Groupons so you'll have more incentive to read them, but in the meantime, these are just a few of the interesting pieces of the 2011.1 release.