Recently I had a discussion with some folks about ways to identify
change in a workspace. In particular if there were ways where we could
judge the risk associated with changes without needing to know the
specifics of the changes or being told by the engineers.
In Opensolaris for example there are flag days. These coincide with
putbacks where a project team has identified major change and tells you
about it. We have something similar for Solaris Update releases.
Sometimes this is great, if there is a big zones or zfs change for
example we know to check patching extra carefully on systems using
zones or zfs. However this isn’t always enough. Every now and again
there will be a putack that causes a regression somewhere and catches
us all by surprise.
Before getting to involved in looking into this problem in detail we
did what all good engineers do. Go and see if someone else has solved
the problem already! And that’s when I got distracted. You see I started
wondering if there was some way to visualise the changes to a workspace
and literally see where risk was introduced.
That led me to Michael Ogawa’s page. There he has
several videos produced from code swarm. In the videos the names of the
engineers are displayed and the files that they are hanging are
represented by dots that swarm around them. Now while this isn’t really
what I started out looking for it does allow you to see the number of
files changed over time. More importantly Michael’s videos looked cool
so I thought I’d give it a go for Opensolaris.
Codeswarm is available from http://code.google.com/p/codeswarm . It will generate lots of png files which you can then use ffmpeg to make into a movie.
There was one problem though; it doesn’t work with mercurial workspaces
out of the box. However Baptiste Lepilleur worked out a way to get a
compatible xml file from a mercurial repository.
Next up the ON gate! Music this time from Alexander Blu (CC by-sa). Vimeo will
only let me embed the SD version here – visit it’s Vimeo page if
you want to see the HD version; its worth watching in HD imo. While you are there you can search for
other code swarm videos – there are nearly 100 up there.