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Master-Slave Development Approach

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A typical configuration for projects involving multiple developers is separate development environments for each developer and a master environment that contains the combined results of the project team. This development approach is referred to as master-slave development. Each developer’s environment is called a “slave” to the “master” environment. From time to time, a developer merges his or her changes into the master environment and then resumes development, usually continuing with a copy of the updated master environment.

The master/slave approach has several benefits:

  • Developers can work at their own pace since each development environment is independent of every other slave development environment.

  • Catastrophic mistakes can be isolated to each developer’s environment and not affect other developments or the master.

  • Developers need not work on the same computer or even the same computer system or network. For example, development can take place on several PC’s without requiring a network. Or developers can work in a heterogeneous computing environment, with members of the development team working on a mixture of operating systems (e.g., UNIX, Windows, and so on.).

  • Object and data model modifications can be centrally controlled by controlling access to the master environment.

  • Version control can be centralized on the master environment.

As a simple example, assume there are two developers, Steve and Carol, developing parts of the same application. Steve is working on user interface design, while Carol is working on the data model. Each has a “slave” copy of the application, and there is a third environment representing the “master” version of the application. As discussed above, it is essential that each environment have its own unique environment code.

Sample Master/Slave Environment

Steve and Carol each work on the application, making various additions, deletions and changes. Steve changes two forms, fEmpl and fCorp, and creates a new one, fProj. Carol has revised the Employees EntitySet, and added a new relationship, WorkAt. They have both decided to merge their developments into the master environment.

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