Eric Sink talked about Hatteras yesterday.  Being that I’ve been eye-deep in my current project (I should really post about it at some point…) I’ve had little time to keep up with my blog list and I’ll just assume that this has been talked about quite a bit.  But given my zealous stance on source control, I wanted to get some points in.

First off, about frigging time Microsoft! For a company responsible for defining a large portion of what constitutes mainstream software development tools to have all but ignored source control was obscene. Sure, they have SourceSafe and many people use it successfully. But I would argue that use SourceSafe is akin to moving your money from under the bed to a good looking fire box. Yes, it is much safer in a fire box than under the bed. But if you think it is the same thing as a bank you are kidding yourself.

For anyone who has been burned by the lack of source control (or by SourceSafe), a quality SCC system is absolutely invaluable. This is true even for very small teams (even “team of one”) shops. But alas most small shops ignore the warnings and prod along with either nothing (SourceSafe) or less than nothing (hope and prayer). My hope is that with Hatteras we will start SCC get more attention and more mainstream use of source code control because of it. Anything raise awareness of SCC is a good thing.

As for Hatteras itself; it looks interesting but as Eric stated it is clearly geared towards the Rational product line. My experience has been that these systems, while powerful, are very difficult to implement and use. To quote Joel Spolsky, “Any impediment to using a [software package] will only result in people working around it”. And these systems are often the poster children for impediment. They are so structure intensive that the act of using the system often takes longer than the act of coding (i.e. 20 minutes to correct a spelling mistake or the like). Now maybe Microsoft will solve this problem and release a system as powerful as ClearCase but dramatically easier to use. After all, they’ve done that many times over the years. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.

So for me and my small team over here, we will continue to happy use SourceGear’s Vault. It is affordable, highly reliable, and doesn’t impede my team from getting things done. And that to me is the hallmark of a good source code control system.

UPDATE: Removed gratuitous profanity for Phil Winstanley‘s sake. 🙂