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Back in October I announced the next release of Ivercy for January 2016. We are well into February now and there is neither a new general release nor a new beta version out.

And this is mainly my fault. Sorry. I messed up. I overcommitted to too much client consulting work for the past months. This was aggravated by less than planned availability of freelance staff, so we could not dedicate enough time to Ivercy.

On top of those organizational shortcomings we had some unexpected technical issues with the new features in Ivercy. Those lead to the decision to not release a first beta that was planned for last week.

So the bottom line is, I want you to know Ivercy is alive and we are working on bug fixes as well as new features. It will be weeks rather than months until we release a new version. However I do not want to commit to a schedule I’m not sure we can meet for now.

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The recently released Microsoft Access 2016 did not impress with many new features. Now Microsoft seems to be planning to step up the development of Access for the next release of Office.

They created the Access Suggestion Box forum on Uservoice to submit feedback to the Access product team.

Now some of the submitted feature requests are actually “Under review”. So Microsoft seems to be listening to what the Access community wants to be enhanced in Access.

It still remains to be seen, what (if anything) will actually be included in the next version of Access, but nevertheless this is an unprecedented opportunity for the Access community so submit feature requests for Access.

I suggest you don’t let this opportunity pass. Visit the feedback forum and submit your own idea or vote on ideas that would help you with your work in Access.

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Well, this is not a real roadmap, as it lacks milestones and a detailed timeline. Still I like the word so much I use it anyway.

During the last weeks we received a lot of feedback from our customers through support requests. Additionally I got a lot of input from talking to customers and prospects at the AEK conference where I was speaking about source code control and Microsoft Access.

Planned features in Ivercy 1.1

Based on this input received, we put together a list of features to implement for the next version of Ivercy.

This list of new features is intentionally rather small. This frees up resources to improve the documentation and to provide timely bug fixes. – To our delight only two reproducible, real bugs have been reported in Ivercy 1.0 so far. These have been fixed with the recent release of version 1.0.4, which can be obtained from our download page.

Performance improvements

Especially with large projects, the integration of Ivercy into Access can be a bit of a performance drain.

As the communication between Ivercy and the source code control system is the responsibility of the MSSCCI-Provider it is beyond our control. So there are two aspects we are going to focus on.

  • To reduce the number of queries to the SCC-System by managing status more intelligently and improving the internal process.

  • To move the automatic status updates to a background thread to be less intrusive.

Extended source file processing

Access Forms and reports do contain large binary blocks for printer settings (e.g. PrtDevMode, PrtDevNames) and other Access-internal information you usually will not need during development. Access modifies this data automatically and often, which causes several problem, like…

  • Modified/OutOfDate marks for irrelevant changes,

  • cluttered diff visualizations that make it hard to spot the important changes,

  • changes to files that would have been unchanged otherwise.

Similar to the existing “RemoveLines” feature, we will enable you to have Ivercy remove those blocks from source files automatically. This will result in smaller file sizes, less (irrelevant) changes and ultimately in a more unobtrusive integration of source code control into your workflow.

Exclude Data & Misc-Objects from source code control

The use of the Data and Misc-Objects binary file for tables and database properties is not ideal. We are aware of that for quite a while. Still it is a lot of effort to implement a better way to store this data.

You suggested a very simple yet elegant alternative. Just leave the Data and Misc objects out of source code control entirely.

That is an option we are planning to implement in the next release as well.

Minor features and improvements

There were some minor improvements suggested, we plan to implement as well.

  • “Show History” command in the context menu

  • Add a toggle or checkbox to the Ribbon to disable Ivercy temporarily if not needed

  • Persist the option to show or hide the output window in the config file

Release date

We are not committing to a fixed release date yet. Our rough plan is to release Ivercy 1.1 in January 2016.

In the meantime we will be releasing preview/beta-releases and of course bug fixes, if necessary.

Not included

Integration into the VBA-IDE was our top priority to put into the next version before we released Ivercy 1.0. – Much to our surprise this was not requested as much as we expected. We listen to you. So this feature has been deferred to a later release to focus on things you consider to be more important.

Feedback welcome

If you want to share your thoughts on this roadmap or have got additional feature request, please write a comment on this blog post or send an email. We highly appreciate any feedback.

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Retrospective of our SCC talk at the AEK

Bernd Gilles and Philipp Stiefel during the AEK18 talk on source code control (Picture courtesy of Christoph Jüngling)

cancelled train screenshot This is a really good day today. I am writing this on my way back from my source code control talk at the final AEK date in Hannover. I’m on the train to Frankfurt which I just caught it in Fulda last minute, after the usual messing up of plans with cancelled trains and delays by Deutsche Bahn.

A small recap first…

While our first talk in Nuremberg, almost a month ago from now, was OK in my impression. The ratings from the audience came in not to good. So we (mostly Bernd) edited our slides quite a bit for the next date in Cologne on Oct. 3rd. While the audience’s ratings were slightly better, I have to admit this was only due to Bernd’s improved performance. I myself am not content with my performance there. I wasn’t prepared very well and not focused enough during our talk to make up for the lack of preparation with spontaneity and wits.

Hannover

The venue

The conference venue in Hannover was the Novotel Hotel in the borough List. While the hotel was clean and modern I found it not particularly appealing. The staff was friendly but poorly informed and slow to respond to requests.

Machinery of the Bahlsen cookie factory at the Novotel Hannover On the other hand, the foyer of the conference rooms was actually quite extraordinary. Some of the old production machinery of the Bahlsen cookies factory, which was on the premises of the hotel many years ago, had been incorporated into the room. This made a quite unusual setting for the conference’s foyer.

The talk

Well, preconditions for this talk were worse than ever before. My preparation was not much better than for the last talk in Cologne, I was feeling pretty rotten the days before the conference due to a bad cold and finally, against better judgement, I had a couple of drinks the night before with my good friend Jonas, who was so kind to accommodate me in his guest room in Hannover.

In the conference hall, there were bad news right as we arranged our computers at the speaker’s desk. The cable based internet connection just had broken down. As I had planned an online demo of Ivercy with a remote Subversion repository, I had to resort to the hotel’s WiFi for internet connectivity. Usually not the best option in a geek filled conference room…

But still this talk was going well. We both managed to be short, clear, structured and concise presenting the theory slides. Then Bernd showed his demo of OASIS-SVN, which was, in my perception, the best demo he did so far. Following was my demo of Ivercy. Despite the projector showing his signal-lost-screen every couple of minutes and me messing up the merge-changes part of it, I managed to deliver a well-structured demo. Everything was working pretty smooth, despite the potentially unstable WiFi connection. We finished (almost) on time and I had the impression most of the audience was really paying attention ‘till the very last minute.

The audience‘s verdict is still out, but in my personal opinion this was our best talk by far. A worthy finale to this series of talks. Bernd Gilles and Philipp Stiefel source code control demo at the AEK18

Bottom line

I haven’t spoken to such a large audience for quite a while before this series of talks. So, while I am not scared to speak in front of an audience, I was definitely out of practice for a talk of that scale.

If Bernd and I would have had more speaking experience and practice, I think we could have made this an exceptional talk instead of just a good one. But considering the circumstances we did pretty well.

The concept of doing a joined talk with your main (and only) competitor in the market of your product might have seemed weird at first, but in the end it worked out very well. I found the overall experience very enjoyable and had a really good time speaking to all the guys, who asked questions and shared their source code control experiences with me before, during and after our talks.

Thanks a lot to Karl for organizing the AEK conference and inviting us. And many thanks to Bernd for all the work he put into this.


Update 2015-10-24: Chris Jüngling provided not only the photos of Bernd and me during our talk, but has also written a blog post about our scc-talk as well as several other posts about this year's AEK in Hannover.

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Today I received the official certificate of our trade mark registration of Ivercy® from the Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (the German Patent and Trademark Office). So we are legally permitted to use the ®-Symbol marketing Ivercy® in Germany and the European Union.

Ivercy registered trademark certificate

We are not obliged by German law to actually use the ®-Symbol for the trade mark to be enforceable. As we are marketing Ivercy to a global audience and our international customers, especially in the US, might feel mislead, when seeing the symbol on our web site and other documents, we do not plan to use the ®-Symbol in our official public communication though.

Still this is very nice to have and I might even hang it in my office. :-)

Have a great day and enjoy whatever you do!