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Practical Perforce Paperback – November 28, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"It is an indispensable companion for any Perforce user who wants to get it right. Highly recommended." - Mike James, - VSJ, September 2006

Book Description

Channeling the Flow of Change in Software Development Collaboration
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 362 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (November 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596101856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596101855
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,129,501 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a good introduction to Perforce.

However it is quite *OBSOLETE* at the time of this review (Aug-2012) - and because of that is of marginal use.

A new edition desperately needs to be written. There has been a *lot* of changes since '05 which this book does not cover (p4sandbox for example, streams for another).
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have used a variety of version control systems over the years (RCS, PVCS, ClearCase, Subversion, etc.). We recently transitioned to Perforce at work and I was looking for something to 'bootstrap' my mastery of the new version control system.

I purchased this book and read it from cover to cover (with a little skimming here and there). It is a good book, it is well written and covers the topic reasonably well. For a novice user, it was definitely a boost and I was very pleased.

The author effectively divides the book into two sections. The first part (about 40% of the text) is a basic introduction to Perforce. She covers a variety of topics from the elementary to the more advanced. The second part (60%) of the text provides the author's vision for how Perforce would be used by a mythical company to manage software releases over the life cycle of a product. This part of the book is a little more opinion-oriented--but the author's system is well conceived and worthy of emulation. Your views on branch management, tags, version numbers and releases may vary--but the author has some very good suggestions and user's new to Perforce would be well served by absorbing the information in this book.

My thanks to the author--a job well done.
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Format: Paperback
'Practical Perforce' by Laura Wingerd is a nice companion manual for all Perforce administrators. For anyone that doesn't know what Perforce is, in short it is a SCM (Source Control Management) tool much like CVS, Visual Sourcesafe, Rational Clearcase, Accurev, etc). Like most SCM software out there, documentation is sparse and can be confusing at time for any release engineer to navigate through, so this is a welcome text to have by your side.

WARNING: If you are looking to LEARN Perforce, this is not the book for you. This book assumes that you have some experience with this application and its uses. Buyer beware if you pick this book up as a straight teaching tool as it would probably be more beneficial to get up to speed via a fellow engineer before you open up this text. This doesn't take away from this nice book at all, it's just clarification re: the use of it.

**** RECOMMENDED
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Format: Paperback
I love Perforce, but I'm not a big fan of their documentation. What little material they have on proper use of Perforce is terse and mainly impenetrable. This book really digs into how to manage branches and shows how to use Perforce in real world situations, like freezing branches, then applying patches. That stuff can be tough and mistakes are costly. That's why I say that this is the book that will save your ass.
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Format: Paperback
While Perforce is a very flexible SCM system that allows you to run your projects in pretty much any conceivable configuration, it can be daunting deciding on which to use. This book provides a great practical way to setup and use Perforce. In particular, the last section contains specific examples on setting up branches and how to safely integrate between them. If you use Perforce, keep this book handy.
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Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book on Perforce but is more than that since it contains some very useful ideas on branching and the "Flow of Change" which apply to all SCM tools. Laura writes very clearly and in an engaging style.

It is particularly good on explaining lots of details of how to do branching and merging which is an area a lot of people initially have trouble with. It goes on to identify a variety of scenarios and how to address them that will be invaluable to many people.

I have been working with Perforce since 1997 and provide consultancy and training in the tool and still learnt a number of new things from this book. In particular I will be "borrowing" some of the ways of explaining that Laura uses!

My only quibble is the focus on the use of the command line which might put some people off. Don't let it - if you use Perforce you need this book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has become my go-to book for Perforce. I do find myself putting sticky tabs on certain pages to refer to some of the longer recipes. The extra bits about un-documented features is a help, as well. This book sits ON my desk.
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Format: Paperback
Should you use Perforce? No. Back in 2005 it must have seemed like a viable alternative, but now that the DVCSs have arrived (Git, Mercurial, etc.), Perforce is clearly in terminal decline. Check "Perforce vs Git" in Google Trends for the striking picture.

That said, if you find yourself in a situation in which you have no choice but to deal with Perforce, this is a useful book to have. That's partly true because there are no other books. (!) You'll see a few others listed in Amazon, but they're all just bound copies of manuals from the Perforce site. In my opinion, those others are pretty mediocre, by the standards of (say) typical Linux documentation.

Practical Perforce was written in 2005 by Perforce's VP of Product Technology. As such, it's partly an advertisement for Perforce, especially the first chapters. But in places the book is frank about Perforce's problems (albeit perhaps unintentionally).

Some of the partisan material will draw guffaws from knowing users. For example, the bit about Open Source software being hell to install, versus the ease with which commercial software just works out of the box. Other bits are a little arresting, as the author cannot have realized that the seeds of Perforce's demise were being planted even as the book was being written. Git and Mercurial were both released in 2005.

One of the worst things about Perforce is the confusing and ill-considered way they name the various concepts and commands. What you might call a workspace, Perforce wants to call a "client". And as the book says, "the P4 branch command does not branch files" and "the P4 label command does not label files".
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