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SnapshotCM Newsletter for April, 2012

  • Editor's Blog
    • Puzzles & Software Development
    • Product-line Beta Update
  • Tips & Tricks for Effective Use of SnapshotCM
  • Recommended Releases
  • Links We Like

Editor's Blog

Puzzles & Software Development

I greatly enjoy puzzles. I enjoy the challenge of exploring, understanding and eventually solving them. Some puzzles are relatively easy, others take weeks or longer to solve. One type of puzzle I've enjoyed collecting and solving are the 3-dimensional twisty puzzles, the most famous of which is the Rubik's Cube. I also enjoy writing software, and I believe that's because writing good software to solve a meaningful problem is like a puzzle to me. Perhaps you feel the same way.

I've added a few 3-D puzzles to my collection recently: A 3x3x4 cuboid, a skewb, and an octahedron. The cuboid I've solved, though it took awhile because, unlike the true cubes, it has only half turns in two of the axes. This constraint eliminates many of the moves I've learned to solve the cubes, but otherwise, it is solved similarly. On the other hand, the Skewb, though cubic in shape, turns on 4 axes, each bisecting the cube! It's hard to even think about! The octahedron, by contrast, turns on each of its eight faces, so seems more similar to other puzzles I've already solved.

Like these puzzles, software to solve a familiar type of problem is relatively straightforward. But the more out-on-a-limb, bleeding-edge ideas are much harder. The concepts might be very useful, but at first, it can be hard to sort out what is important and what isn't, and develop ways of thinking that work. When solving puzzles, I avoid looking up solutions—discovery is part of the enjoyment. However, with software, that attitude results in very slow progress. How much better it is to understand the work that has gone before and build on it. That's what we do with SnapshotCM: build on existing technologies, and develop new ones, to deliver a robust and capable solution that allows you to solve your version control challenges more simply, powerfully and confidently with each release.

Beta Release Update

I was hoping to have an updated product-line beta release ready to announce with this newsletter. We've made good progress in copying groups of snapshots, but need a few more days to get it to where we want it to be. If you are interested in the updated beta, please let me know.

As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas.

Scott Kramer

Tips and Tricks for Effective Use of SnapshotCM

  • Show Differences Shortcut: Hold the shift key down while selecting the Workspace Browser Show Differences icon or menu to open the Differences Options dialog. From this dialog, you can change how differences will be displayed. Optionally, you can also save your changes as defaults for future actions. This shortcut is available everywhere Show Differences is invoked: from the compare browser, from the active history dialog, from third party integrations, and from the Workspace Browser.
  • History Report Shortcut: The active history dialog is opened whenever a single item's history is requested. To get a single item report, select Report from the active history dialog, or skip the active history dialog by holding down the shift key while requesting history. Like the Show Differences shortcut, this works whether invoked through a menu or an action icon.
  • GUI Startup Speed: The SnapshotCM Graphical User Interface gathers and displays a lot of information upon start-up. Since the GUI begins from the last exit's saved state, if, for example, you were last looking at a large hierarchy in which the recursive box was checked, your start-up time could be significant as the complete hierarchy is re-read and displayed. To reduce this start-up cost, SnapshotCM supports a workspace option flag (Project->Options: Workspace), which will disable recursion on start-up. Enabling this option can significantly improve your start-up performance for very large projects.
  • GUI Startup Location: You can also speed up opening of SnapshotCM to a specific workspace by passing a local directory path on the command line. The GUI will start with the Workspace Browser set to that directory and the project browser open to the related project. By adding the path option to a Windows shortcut, you can quickly open a SnapshotCM browser to any specific workspace.
  • GUI JumpList Support: If you've updated to Windows 7, the GUI adds recently accessed workspaces to the Windows 7 Jump List for direct opening of any recently used workspace.
  • Push-pin on Project Manager Dialog: The GUI's Project Manager dialog provides quick access to project information. It normally closes when you open a project (either by double clicking a project or by selecting a project and pressing open), but if you select the push-pin in the left of the title-bar, the dialog will only close if explicitly shut down. This makes the dialog especially useful for quickly switching between projects.
  • Drag and drop check out and check in: Did you know that you can drag files from the workspace view to the snapshot view to check in or import them, and from the snapshot view to the workspace view to check out or lock them?

Recommended Releases

The following releases are recommended:

  • - The newest features and fixes.
  • 1.84.2 / - A known stable release.
  • 1.82.06 / 1.82.07 / 1.82.08 - stable version with the old (single mount) workspace model.

If you are running any other release, we recommend that you update to the latest recommended version that your license allows.

For a complete list of user-visible changes, see the Change List.

Links We Like

Links we find interesting, fun, or occasionally useful.

Have an interesting link to share? Please send it to

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