Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New Beta Features: Revision Management 101

We've been working on ways to make collaboration on SUSE Studio appliances easier.  The first step down that road is to make your appliance's build history act live a revision control system. To that end, our beta users will find a few new features available to them: viewing an appliance's complete configuration on one page; the opportunity to branch an appliance by cloning a specific version; and a dynamically generated changelog between each version.

All of these features are available on the Build tab, linked under each version's header:

The Changelog gives you a bulleted list of the delta between the selected version and the prior version.

We've also added a link to it under the 'current' version, so you can see the changes you've made since your last build.  One caveat here: the changelog takes a few seconds to generate (we do it in the background normally to save you the wait, but that won't work for the current version) so please be patient when you click the link.

Next up is the Configuration, which sums up all the settings on your appliance in one view - no tabbing necessary, just a bit of scrolling ;-)

And lastly (for now) is version cloning, which provides you new opportunities to branch and manage your appliance's lifecycle, but we'll talk more about that in another post.  Keep in mind, cloning a version will copy all the configuration options from that version to a new appliance, but you will still be updating any selected software to the current versions.

Please remember, these are beta features.  If you're not participating in our beta program, you won't see them at all. If you are in our beta program, please give us some feedback on the new features so we can get them just right!


  1. So far it's working out very well for me. I do have a question - my appliances contain some large overlay files. Are these preserved in the "version tree?" For example, if I clone version 0.5.3, then change one of the overlay files, does the clone have the old version of the overlay file or the new one?

  2. what about space requirements?? how does the branching effect the available space?,,, for example: if i have a lot of different branches that use a significant amount of space,, does this act the same as if they were all there own build? and if so,, then you would quickly run out of room on the server.. and be forced to remove some of the branches to be able to continue with development..

  3. @Ed: The overlay files are included in the clone, and changes after you clone do not carry over.

    @Bullfrog: Your space allocation is based on the size of the builds, not the number of appliances or versions, so branched development won't take up any more space, unless you have duplicate builds in each branch. Personally, I develop and iterate in the HDD format (to best take advantage of testdrive) and then produce virtual formats only when I'm ready to do a release to gallery.


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