Plank, like many other web-centric companies, uses a version control system for pretty much everything. It lets our team of developers, integrators and designers save and share their work in an intelligent manner, with the added benefits of redundant backups of all our client work (as well as the entire history of the project) a snap to make.

When we started using a VCS several years ago, Subversion was the tool to use. It was relatively easy to setup, had decent tools for all platforms used at Plank (Windows, OS X, Linux), and was intuitive enough for everyone, techie or not, to use on a daily basis.

As our team got larger and as our projects became more complex, however, some problems started to show. Integrators, who work often with tools such as CSSEdit, TextMate and the ubiquitous Photoshop, shouldn’t need to fear moving folders and files around and causing Subversion hiccups due to missing or incorrect .svn/ metadata. Developers, who spend their days on the command line and in IDEs writing code, shouldn’t need to block off a half-day of their time to perform a branch merge. Combine these major issues with the fact that subversion does not allow offline commits or log viewing (important for us when we’re on the road, attending a conference, or without internet access for some reason) along with the general slowness of any operation in Subversion, and we were ready for a change.

That change was Git.

We started using Git on a trial basis for a few projects in September of 2009, and in December of that year all new projects at Plank were being served through Git as a version control system. The advantages that it has over Subversion are almost too many to count: offline commits, incredibly fast branching & merging, a separate “staging” index and even the relatively benign “stash” tool – all of these are now essential to our workflow and enable us to better serve our clients.

Additionally, here at Plank we often use CakePHP, a web application
framework, for development. Its flexibility, architecture and documentation (not to mention having one of the core developers on our team!) has allowed us to develop some great sites, with functionality that our clients want and need to stay relevant in this highly dynamic and ever-evolving 2.0 world.

Well, now is the time to give back. As of yesterday, we at Plank have pushed several of the CakePHP plugins that we have developed internally to our Github account. They are fully documented, fully unit tested, and available for anyone to use or fork.

Join us and take a look. We’d love your feedback.

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