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The Plastic SCM web experience is now in open beta

November 8, 2022 in Technology | 10 min. read
The Plastic SCM web experience is now in open beta | Hero image
The Plastic SCM web experience is now in open beta | Hero image
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If you’ve ever taken the time to explore DevOps practices and solutions, it was probably with the hopes of automating annoying jobs, increasing release cadence, and delivering high-quality games. Here at Unity, we aim to do that not only by releasing new DevOps solutions, but by making our existing capabilities more intuitive so you can do more with less clicks.

Back in June, we put out a call for beta users to try the new Plastic SCM web experience, which embeds powerful version control system (VCS) functionality directly within the Unity Dashboard. Today, we’re happy to report that we are opening this functionality to all Plastic SCM Cloud Edition users in the form of an open beta.

This means that you can now quickly manage user access, review repo content, kick off and complete code reviews, and granularly monitor usage, all within the Unity Dashboard. Gone are the days of needing to install a separate software client for these routine tasks.

View of the Unity Dashboard experience | Plastic SCM
View of the Unity Dashboard experience

What follows here is a closer look at the new functionality – and how you can make the most of it for your next project.

Add new users without the headache

By onboarding new users with proper access, your team can remain agile and scale with the demands of just about any project. That’s why we found it essential to dramatically improve the way admins add and manage permissions for new users across different orgs and repos.

In the new Plastic SCM web experience, admins can invite new users to an organization, and add or adjust various permissions for each of those users at both the org and repository level right from the Unity Dashboard. They can also view current users and create or modify user groups.

User group functionality | Plastic SCM
User group functionality

Admins can even attach a media-rich ReadMe file to each org and repo to provide new users with helpful information as they get started, which further streamlines their onboarding. This new experience dramatically reduces the number of clicks required to onboard new users, and can now be done entirely without leaving the Unity Dashboard.

Attaching ReadMe files | Plastic SCM
Attaching ReadMe files

Navigate files and repositories with agility

One of the core tenets of Plastic SCM is providing specific workflows and points of access for artists and programmers alike. Plus, Plastic SCM provides artists with easy access to the content so that teams can conveniently make changes and respond to feedback at speed.

Plastic SCM Cloud users can browse files across the repos they have access to via the File Explorer view in the Unity Dashboard. Crucially, they gain this visibility without having to wait around while the entire repo downloads – saving the team hours of downtime per project.

A look at repo search in action | Plastic SCM
A look at repo search in action

Meanwhile, your artists can check out the files they need, which locks all other users out. This way, changes aren’t deleted or overwritten. Once the work is done, artists can check the file back in again, with the updated changes reflected in the file’s version history.

A look at sample file history data | Plastic SCM
A look at sample file history data

Review code more efficiently

As programmers know, inefficiently reviewing code can bottleneck the development process. That’s why we’re so excited about Plastic SCM’s robust code review, branching, and diffing functionality.

By making the new code review process even more intuitive, users can further increase the release cadence and overall output quality. Thanks to this Plastic SCM web experience, they can kick off and execute their reviews from within the Unity Dashboard.

In fact, they can leverage the Code Review tab to immediately see all open Code Review tasks. These include tasks specifically assigned to them, alongside a clearly visible status indicator distinguishing code reviews that are in progress from ones that have been reviewed and approved, or sent back for more changes.

View of the Code Review tab | Plastic SCM
View of the Code Review tab

Once code changes have been made, programmers can use the Unity Dashboard to create a Code Review request, where users can add comments to indicate what has changed, as well as assign specific reviewers so all the necessary stakeholders have visibility before merging. Users can also add multiple reviewers to the same review for some extra sets of eyes on the project.

Implementing a Code Review request | Plastic SCM
Implementing a Code Review request

A stakeholder that has been assigned a review task can receive notifications over popular collaboration tools like Slack or Webhooks.

A look at Slack notifications that can be implemented from the Unity Dashboard | Plastic SCM
A look at Slack notifications that can be implemented from the Unity Dashboard

The review process itself is flexible, depending on each reviewer’s preference. For instance, when viewing the diff of the changed files, one of the reviewers could choose to look it over in the Full File view, which shows all lines of code and highlights what has changed, when, and where.

A look at the enhance Full File view | Plastic SCM
A look at the enhanced Full File view

They could even pair it down to show only the changed lines that require attention, or expand and collapse lines that aren’t pertinent to the change, when necessary. These options are likely familiar to existing Plastic SCM users.

For comparison, a look at the classic File view | Plastic SCM
For comparison, a look at the classic File view

In addition, we’ve added Side-by-Side and Unified views, both of which are likely more familiar to users of GitHub and GitLab.

On the left, the Side-by-Side view and, on the right, the Unified view

Once all reviewers give the thumbs up, the code is ready to be merged back into the main branch and the changes can go live. This powerful VCS functionality can be attained without ever opening a separate software client.

Monitor usage and control costs

A key part of keeping any project on track is monitoring usage and controlling costs. That’s why we’ve added functionality that enables admins to do both directly from the Unity Dashboard.

In this view, admins can filter on specific timelines to track how repo size or active user count has grown or changed. This can help them catch ballooning storage expenses or eliminate inactive users before they incur unnecessary costs.

Admins can also gauge product engagement among their user base. This means tracking more detailed usage statistics like the number of diffs, branches, merges, code reviews, and more.

The admin view for project activity | Plastic SCM
The admin view for project activity

With these new capabilities, you can harness Plastic SCM to seamlessly onboard new team members, empower artists to find the files they need to make quick updates, streamline review for code changes, and provide admins with the right tools to control costs and monitor usage. All without ever leaving the Unity Dashboard.

Get started today

The new Plastic SCM web experience is now open to users of Plastic SCM Cloud Edition. If you’re not yet using the feature, you can sign up for Plastic SCM to access it today.

Please note that if your Plastic SCM org is encrypted, you will not be able to view any of your repos in the Unity Dashboard. If you’d like to visualize your files in the new experience, you will need to open a new cloud org and reupload your data.

This is just the start of many more improvements we plan to bring your way. You can check out and request additional features via our DevOps roadmap, which is dedicated to enhancing collaboration for all teams working with Plastic SCM and/or Cloud Build.

We look forward to continuing this collective DevOps journey with you through the end of 2022 and beyond.

Learn more about DevOps at Unity. If you have questions about Plastic SCM, Cloud Build, or other VCS, ask us in the forums.

November 8, 2022 in Technology | 10 min. read
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