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In everyday business we always encounter situations which require us to accept or justify a decision. But what if the information we need in order to do this can no longer be found or verified? Versioning ensures that information doesn’t go missing: we can track changes , restore old documents and even reconstruct entire decision-making bases. Basically, versioning creates absolute transparency in the decisions we have made.  And this is exactly what OPTANO is all about: optimal decisions – 100% transparency!

The OPTANO platform

OPTANO is an optimization software – designed and continuously enhanced by experienced developers. Over the years a lot of features have been added which initially have no measurable benefit for each client. However, they do make life easier for both users and developers and once you get to know  these features, you don’t want to do without them. We aim to make our software as good as it can be. New features make OPTANO better and better and more user-friendly. If you would like to learn more about the OPTANO platform, then our blog entry The OPTANO Story – how it all began… is a good place to start.

OPTANO – Versioning on stage and backstage

One of the features which deserves closer scrutiny is “Versioning and revision in OPTANO”. Let’s first take a look at the revision of datasets: this is the actor on stage – visible and extremely advantageous to the user. The source code management functions in the background making sure that various versions of the source code are managed and deployed at the right time. In other words, it assumes the task of the stagehands who also have to provide the right scenery on stage at the right time.

 Setting the stage for the revision of datasets

Often it is enough to just store the current value in a database – if there are any changes then the old data value will simply be overwritten. Yet there is an ever- increasing necessity to document and archive all changes to understand which value was valid and when. The main tasks of dataset revision are logging, archiving and restoring datasets:

  • Logging the changes: You can see who has changed something and when at any time.
  • Archiving enables access to older verisons at any time
  • Restoring the previous statuses of individual files: in this way, inadvertent changes can be cancelled at any time
  • Showing the changes in the revision tab enables you to view the changes made over a period of time (this is important when viewing measurable values).

Creating and archiving older versions generally has the disadvantage that software works more slowly. In order to avoid this, we have placed versioning onto the OPTANO database. In this way, it is possible to work and plan efficiently with OPTANO – in spite of (or precisely because of) versioning. Even before deployment, OPTANO Architect specifies whether an entity should be versioned. The entity is checked in the view accordingly. After deployment, all changes in the entity are stored in the database.  Not only does OPTANO work faster with versioning on its database, it also enables you to archive a large number of versions.

OPTANO Architect Versioning

Diagram -Marking the entity to be versioned in OPTANO Architect.

Information on versioning is visible to the user in the revision area: in addition to the current data status, this can also be opened on the right side of the page. Each entry represents a dataset revision here. A new revision is created whenever you save data. The revision is assigned a time stamp, a user ID as well as the logging of the fields that have been changed. What’s more, you can also enter a  comment on the changes that have been made, creating absolute transparency in your decision-making process. (NOTE: GDPRs have hit the headlines lately. No worries – you don’t have to consider these when you save user IDs here).

OPTANO Revisionarea

Diagram – revision area in OPTANO

Source Code management backstage

Code version management  (e.g. with Git) isn’t visible to the user but it is a feature that makes software programing a lot easier for developers. This feature, which comparable software  doesn’t have, greatly increases the quality of the OPTANO development process.

Logging is also one of the main jobs in source code management. Therefore, modifying the source codes with the help of information such as a time stamp, a user ID and relevant comments up until implementation can be understood and revised if necessary. This is a powerful feature and a great help when it comes to looking for errors during the release of complex software projects.

With regard to our goal of developing a lot of useful features and improving and integrating them into OPTANO, our developers also make use of the advantages of code version management. Features which are to be incorporated into OPTANO at a later date or together with others as a features package can be implemented easily – thanks to versioning.

As we were saying earlier: We want to make our software as good as it can be…

Did you know?

The  name “Git” is a colloquial word for an unpleasant or stupid person in British English. Linus Torvalds (the initiator of Git) explains why he chose this unusual name:

“The joke ‘I name all my projects after myself, first Linux, then git’ was just too good to pass up. But it is also short, easy to say, and type on a standard keyboard. And reasonably unique and not any standard command, which is unusual.” – Linus Torvalds1

1 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Git