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Review: SpectrumSCM

By Mike Gunderloy

SpectrumSCM 2.0
starting at $750/concurrent license and $1500/server
Spectrum Software
Atlanta, Georgia
(770) 448-8662

SpectrumSCM is a java-based source configuration and management tool. Version 2.0 is launching tomorrow, but they got an early copy to me and gave me the green light to talk about it. There are a lot of different functions covered here, including:

  • Version control
  • Issue tracking
  • Change management
  • Process control
  • Workflow
  • Release management

Everything in SpectrumSCM revolves around change requests (CRs). You start a job by creating and assigning a CR. Then you can edit files to satisfy the CR, and group the fixes into releases. If multiple change requests edit the same file, SpectrumSCM makes sure that you include all of the earlier requests in a release if you include the later CR.

Pretty much everything here is customizable: the workflow, the user groups, the attributes of change requests, and so on. In addition to a native Java client, there's an applet version for Web access to your repository. You'll find all sorts of features built in here, from a chat client in the SCM workspace to a diff-merge tool to several built-in editors with integrated SCM functionality. Indeed, the product is a bit overwhelming; plan on spending some serious time to learn what all you can do here, and to figure out how it works in the cross-platform user interface. Then, when that's all done, you can dig into the integration bits: SpectrumSCM supports the Microsoft SCCI interface, acts as an Eclipse plugin, and has its own API to boot.

New features in version 2.0 include a role-based access control system, a synchronization utility to match up your local working directory with the enterprise repository, renaming and moving within the repository without losing history, and integration with Microsoft Office. There's also a wizard-driven process for setting up your first project that will help you navigate around the SpectrumSCM interface. This is a good thing because there is plenty here.

SpectrumSCM has customer references from some pretty large projects, and it's definitely a mature solution. In fact, it's pretty much the most feature-rich collection of SCM functionality I've seen in a single box. The price tag may seem a bit high, but when you consider how many individual applications it might replace, it seems a lot more reasonable. You can get hooked up with an evaluation download from the company's Web site.

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Mike Gunderloy, MCSE, MCSD .NET, MCDBA is an independent software consultant and author working in eastern Washington. He’s the editor of ADT's Developer Central newsletter and author of numerous books and articles. You can reach him at

This article originally appeared in the May 2004 issue.

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