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SnapshotCM Newsletter for November, 2012


  • Editor's Blog
    • Resolving a copy error in the Compare Browser
    • Filter release updated, new file import filter
  • Workspace Filtering in SnapshotCM
  • Recommended Releases
  • Links We Like

Editor's Blog

Copy Error in Compare Browser

A customer recently asked about the following message when copying changes between snapshots in different projects:

/Plugins/Feature: Destination directory does not exist in target snapshot.

This error message means that the /Plugins folder (the parent folder of Feature) does not exist in the target snapshot. To copy a file or directory, you must also copy the parent directory (unless previously copied). The user resolved the error by also copying the /Plugins folder, a simple resolution. We next describe a more interesting cause of this error.

If /Plugins fails to copy, most likely a different /Plugins folder already exists in the target snapshot. Normally, folders are created once, then copied to all other snapshots. Occasionally, a user creates a folder a second time. Because of the name conflict, both cannot exist in the target snapshot. To confirm this, examine the history of /Plugins in both snapshots and see if they have identical history records. If not, they are distinct objects. This can also be confirmed by showing all differences between the source and target snapshots and noting that /Plugins appears twice, once in each snapshot.

If the two /Plugins folders are distinct, and you really want them to be shared, then rename the one you don't want to keep to /Plugins-temp, and redo your copy of the /Plugins (or /Plugins-temp) folder. Finally move any children of /Plugins-temp into the /Plugins folder in the target snapshot and remove the /Plugins-temp folder. A quick look at the history references on each copy of /Plugins can help you determine which is easier to keep.

Once resolved, the normal copy changes action propagates the resolution to other snapshots.

Filter Release Updated

The new 1.92.2 release supports automatically finding and marking new source files for import. Read about all of SnapshotCM's filtering abilities in the feature article below.

For a complete list of user-visible changes in the release, see the Change List, or contact us.

As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas.

Scott Kramer

Workspace Filtering in SnapshotCM

Have you ever had a problem building because someone forgot to check in all their changes? Or perhaps you've tested your code only to find out that your workspace wasn't up-to-date! SnapshotCM helps make such a frustrating waste of time a thing of the past.

SnapshotCM eliminates these and similar problems through its task-oriented filters, as well as the ignore and auto-import filters. All these filters serve to direct focus to files specific to a task. Two key benefits result: First, you won't forget about a file relevant to the task, whether it needs to be updated, checked in, or merged. And second, you won't unintentionally act upon irrelevant files.

SnapshotCM's filtering comes in four forms: working sets, the new ignore and import filters, and the view task filters. Together they deliver the laser focus you need to be productive.

Working Set

SnapshotCM's working set defines which versioned files and directories belong in a workspace. It provides a simple, high-level way to keep your workspace from being cluttered by parts of your project which are not of concern to you. If your project is small and you want all files copied into your workspace, you can safely ignore the working set as the default includes all files.

You define a working set by selecting directory hierarchies to include and exclude. A longer path overrides a shorter path. For example, using the CLI syntax, -I/ -E/test includes (-I) all files below the root directory except (-E) /test. The GUI provides a checkable hierarchy showing visually what is selected and omitted.

While straightforward, one case needs additional clarification: How does SnapshotCM treat versioned files which are excluded by the working set but already checked out into the workspace? This can happen by applying a working set to an already populated workspace, or by explicit check out of non-working set files.

In both cases, existing workspace files excluded by the working set are treated just as if they were part of the working set. You can modify and check in any changes, and if such files are out-of-date, they will be updated by the workspace update action.

In short, workspace update acts upon all items in the working set, as well as any versioned files already existing in the workspace.

Ignore Filter

SnapshotCM's ignore filter suppresses action and display of files matching the filter. Unlike the working set which defines the set of files you care about at a high level, ignore filtering efficiently ignores files that cut across many directories, such as all Release and Debug directories, or all Makefile and .o files.

The ignore filter applies to all workspace commands, though it can be disabled or overridden using the option -j'*|*/'. In the Workspace Browser, two check boxes enable filtering for versioned and workspace files.

Checking Filtered in the Workspace View applies the ignore filter to all files in the Workspace View, as well as non-versioned (local-only) folders in the Folders view.

Checking Filtered in the Snapshot View applies the ignore filter to all versioned files and folders in all views. Two things to clarify. First, it applies the ignore filter only to versioned files. It does not filter local-only files and folders. Second, it filters versioned files from all views (including the Folders and Workspace Views). SnapshotCM provides this filter primarily to ignore platform-specific files in a multi-platform environment. For example, ignoring Makefiles on Windows, and Visual Studio project and solution files on unix.

View or edit the ignore filter by selecting the Filters... button on the Workspace Manager dialog, or by selecting the File->Filter/Ignore->Advanced menu. Alternatively, the wmap command provides several options for viewing and editing the filter. The ignore filter applies to all of a user's workspaces on a system.

Import Filter

The Import Filter automatically finds and marks matching files for import. Marked files then appear in the Workspace Browser with a check in action icon so you don't forget to import them when ready.

If the import filter automatically marks a file for import that you don't want to import, you have two choices. You can either update your import or ignore filters to unselect the file. Alternatively, if a true exception, use the Unmark for Import menu action to remove the mark. In the latter case, SnapshotCM will remember your action as long as the file remains in the workspace. If you remove the file and later recreate it, SnapshotCM will once again mark it for import.

View or edit the import filter by selecting the Filters... button on the Workspace Manager dialog. Alternatively, the wmap command provides several options for viewing and editing the import filter. The import filter applies to all of a user's workspaces on a system.

Interaction of Import and Ignore Filters

When a file matches both the import and ignore filters, SnapshotCM ignores it. Files in an ignored folder are also ignored, even if matching the import filter. For example, if you ignore the Release/ directory, files matching the import filter but inside the Release/ directory hierarchy will be ignored. Similarly, you can select to import all *.[ch] files and ignore *.tab.[ch] files which will mark for import all C files except yacc intermediate files.

After a file is automatically marked for import, if the import or ignore filter is edited such that the file would no longer be marked, SnapshotCM automatically unmarks it. Files which are manually marked or unmarked are not affected by the auto-mark algorithms.

View Task Filters

The SnapshotCM View Filters provide task oriented file filtering. SnapshotCM dynamically displays matching files, incorporating changes as they happen. This way, you always see up-to-date information. SnapshotCM provides the following filters:

  • View All Files
  • View Out-of-date Files
  • View Files Not in Snapshot (or Workspace)
  • View Files in Snapshot (or Workspace)
  • View Recoverable Files
  • View Locked Files
  • View My Locked Files
  • View Files Needing Action
  • View Files Needing Check In
  • View Files Needing Merge
  • View Filtered Files

A extra word about the last one. View Filtered Files shows the files normally hidden by the ignore filter. It acts like View All Files and the negation of the ignore filter.

A popular configuration sets the View Files Needing Action Recursively filter in the Workspace View, adds common file types to the Import Filter, and intermediate files and directories to the ignore filter. This way, new files you care about appear automatically and files you don't care about are ignored without any additional action being required.

Filter Efficiency

The filters are highly efficient. Nevertheless, for very large workspaces, the following actions may improve your run-time performance.

The slowest step in displaying a workspace is traversing the workspace hierarchy checking the state of the local files. Therefore faster refreshes primarily result from reducing the number of files and folders traversed in your local workspace. The following steps describe how to do so:

  1. Use the working set to reduce the number of versioned files populated into your workspace. To do this, select your workspace and invoke Workspace->Properties to open the workspace definition. Then select the Working Set tab and uncheck directory hierarchies you don't need. Save any changes by selecting OK.

    Next, open your workspace and in the Workspace View, select View Files in Snapshot Recursively Filtered. Remove any directory hierarchies from the Workspace View which you've excluded from the working set. Once removed, they will disappear from view. If they continue to appear in the view after removal, then the working set is not excluding them.

  2. After finishing with working set changes, in the Workspace View, select View Files Not in Snapshot Recursively Filtered. Review the listed folders for candidates for filtering, then use the File->Filter/Ignore menu to ignore non-versioned folders such as build intermediate folders. (For example, Release/ and Debug/ folders as used by Visual Studio).

    Once that's done, then ignore intermediate files extensions that are still showing. Since ignored workspace folders and files are not traversed or examined, ignoring these items can make a big difference in workspace performance. It's best to do this step in a fully built workspace.

  3. Switching to the Snapshot View, select View Files in Workspace Recursively Filtered. Use the File->Filter/Ignore menu to ignore versioned folders and files which are unnecessary. An example is build files for a different platform, such as Makefiles on Windows and Visual Studio build files on Linux.

    Continuing in the Snapshot View, select View All Filtered Files Recursively. Confirm that the displayed files and folders are not required to be in your workspace, then select File->Delete, uncheck "From snapshot" and check "From workspace" and "Folders recursively." Be careful not to remove these files from your snapshot! Since you are invoking the delete from the Snapshot View, you do not want the default delete action! The idea is to clean out of your workspace those versioned files you don't need to be there and which you are now ignoring.

    At this point, some removed files and folders may show as needing check out. You can ignore this.

  4. You are done cleaning your workspace. Verify that you didn't remove any needed files by rebuilding your workspace.

    We suggest that in the Workspace View you select View Files Needing Action Recursively Filtered, and in the Snapshot View you select View All Files Filtered.


SnapshotCM provides the powerful filtering that helps you be productive. By showing you just what's relevant to your task, you will efficiently and accurately complete your version control activities.

Recommended Releases

The following releases are recommended:

  • - The product-line release, with performance enhancements and ignore and import filters.
  • - The last pre-product-line 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.

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