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Plastic SCM UI very very confusing for first timers


emile.swain
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TLDR

As a beginner and having had lots of teathing issues, onboarding with plastic SCM has been a less than pleasing experience and i have confidence issues with being able to use it efficiently enough for my projects. God forbid i get a merge conflict.

 

 

I'd say i'm fairly ok at using version controls systems, and what follows is a very personal view (unlikely to be shared by everyone), but plastic SCM has proved to be pretty confusing. I understand the premises of the various approaches to local workspaces, working distributed and/or centralised, but i'll be damned if i can intuitively understand what i've got setup currently just by looking at the UI and menu options within Plastic SCM.

Firstly, i find the heirachial order of menus somewhat back to front. `Main actions` seems to be tied to the active workspace, which is set in the sub menu `repositories & workspaces` so i'm already working bottom up, and jumping betwen sections within the UI.

Then when working within a workspace i can get to grips with checking in and changesets. But i dont know why there isn't any option in the menus within the workspace to push to the cloud. Its like the next thing i want to do but now i have to go to `sync to cloud`. It may seem petty but its for me an irritating niggle in the workflow, it creates a disconnect that should just connect these two sections. I guess the issue i have is that in part, sync to view has its own issues (of basically not working for me currently) that just excerbate my current (onboarding) experience.  Having to jump through multiple screens and windows and menu options to do what is essentially, commit and push. 


Secondly, whilst the sync to cloud  and sync views makes sense, i've found the current experience to be a bit of a pain. Partly this was due to originally logging in with a Unity account, which simply didn't work (still doesn't as far as i'm aware invalid-credentials-couldnt-get-the-organization-name) To resolve that i then had to create a 2nd account, which meant subsquently changing the loging details for plastic SCM. Which lead me to another issue of trying to understand what all the different logins are, and you have THREE! separate credential inputs!  Seriously.

In the plastic scm preferences you have `General` and `Connection Profiles` and `User Profile` again all randomly interpersed with other settings panels. Why isn't this just one panel for Accounts. This just makes login a bit of an absurdity. Especially when you consider i've had to create two accounts already, and will likely have to switch back to my Unity account at some point. I'll be quite frank that i'm dreading the amount of time this is like to consume when i realise i haven't a clue as to when each account is used with the PlasticSCM IDE. Bare in mind i have a person account, a work acount and work across several separate cloud repo's that i'll likely be having to switch between on a regular basis. 

I think i can use the Connection Profiles to manage access to the different repos, but i'm at a loss as to what the purpose of the General log in. Why does General even exist if you've got Connection profiles? Which ones take precedence

I'm also not sure if i set up my repo as a centralised repo with workspace or a distributed. I thought that because the repo is named MyProject@Emile@cloud that it was a centralised repo, and that checking in would directly comit changes to the cloud. but the cloud usage just says zero mb. I thought that a distributed setup would be labled something like MyProject@local and then a sync/view would be used to push those changes to the cloud. Something i'm still trying to figure out.

 

I think most of my woes are simply due to the fact that at every step something has gone wrong, which means when i'm tyring things out i don't get a positive confirmation of my assumptions. So i currently don't have a lot of faith in my ability to use Plastic SCM sufficiently enough and its made me worry a lot about the safety and security of my code, to the point that i would abaddon PlasticSMC pretty soon if i can't resolve these issues.

I can't help but feel that a re-working of the UI that addressed the user flow in a connected fashion would have helped me build up a better understanding of the concepts. To be able to identify easily what kind of repo topology i'm working with (distributed/centralised) Which accounts i'd setup and were being used, i.e. a centralised grouping of logsin within the settings panel.  ANd a more natural flow of workspaces, to servers to repos in terms of navigating between the various tabs that get opened up. I find all of these to be disconnected and dont contribute to confirming experience for users. 

Ultimately i'm glad that Unity have taken to using Plastic SCM as there main management system, but its definately not going to be plain sailing. 

ps. Rider's Plastic SCM plugin also broke which was a severe headache as that pretty much just worked, and i'll ditch PlastSCM IDE for Rider when its fixed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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