Graphical User Interfaces for Distributed Version Control Systems

Version control is an important tool for safekeeping of data and collaboration between colleagues. These days, new distributed version control systems are growing increasingly popular as successors to centralized systems like CVS and Subversion. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) make it easier to interact with version control systems, but GUIs for distributed systems are still few and less mature than those available for centralized systems. The purpose of this thesis was to propose specific GUI ideas to make distributed systems more accessible. To accomplish this, existing version control systems and GUIs were examined. A usage survey was conducted with 20 participants consisting of software engineers…


1 Introduction
1.1 Purpose
1.2 Method
1.3 Structure
1.4 Scope
2 Background
2.1 Version control explained
2.1.1 Brief history
2.1.2 Checking out and committing
2.1.3 Deltas
2.1.4 Branching
2.1.5 Merging
2.1.6 Conficts
2.1.7 Recent developments
2.2 Distributed version control
2.2.1 Defning features of distributed systems
2.2.2 Other features of modern version control
2.2.3 Drawbacks of distributed version control
2.2.4 Existing distributed systems
3 User interface design
3.1 General GUI design guidelines
3.1.1 Conforming to user expectations
3.1.2 Providing smooth operation
3.1.3 Providing feedback
3.1.4 Encouraging exploration
3.2 User interfaces for centralized systems
3.2.1 Prominent GUI features
3.2.2 Examples of GUI frontends
3.2.3 Web interfaces
3.3 User interfaces for distributed systems
4 Usage survey
4.1 Method
4.1.1 Constructing the questionnaire
4.1.2 Sampling
4.1.3 Maximizing response rate
4.2 Results
4.2.1 Usability
5 Proposals
5.1 User requirements
5.1.1 Survey suggestions
5.2 Reusing centralized GUI features
5.3 Proposed new features
5.4 Putting it all together
5.4.1 Rich interaction
5.5 Other proposals
6 Discussion
6.1 Evaluating proposed features
6.1.1 Major features
6.1.2 Minor features
6.2 Conclusions and future work
A Usage survey questions
B Usage survey results

Author: Nilsson, Kim

Source: Linköping University

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