VRCS: Integrating Version Control and Module Management using Interactive 3D graphics

Version control and module management are very important in practical software development. In UNIX, RCS or SCCS is used in general as version control tools. However, they (1) lack an ability of explicitly displaying the version changes; (2) require complicated commands to be typed; and (3) lack an ability of managing multiple files and modules. This paper proposed a solution for these issues by applying 3-D visualization. The prototype system, VRCS, was developed. In our system, each version information stored in a RCS history file is displayed as a 2-D tree by taking the z-axis as time. Other 2-D trees are laid out in 3-D space in the same way. In our visualization, files which compose a certain release of the software are connected by line called relation-link. By using GUIs, users can check in/out each version easily and interactively. More importantly, just by choosing the relation-link, a certain release is rebuilt automatically.