If you look at Version Control over the 1990’s you are not going to find a lot of innovative and revolutionary features. I believe that there were certain industry factors that were responsible for this "dormant" period, but we won’t talk about those since they are not all that relevant.
On the other hand since the early 2000's or so we are seeing a lot more activity in this space:
· Accurev introduced their TimeSafe® technology and their streams
· We introduced a unified server allowing easy integration between version control, work item, build and user data, and don’t forget shelvesets
· IBM has now followed with an interesting collaborative centered experience in their Jazz product line
· Perforce continues to explore new visual representations of the data stored in version control
· Git is making quite a noise after winning the Ruby on Rails team with their distributed model.
As you can see the next five years are going to be interesting as the ALM space becomes more competitive and a lot more innovative features hit the market. In version control there are three key areas to innovate on (this of course is my humble opinion):
1. Branch and Merge. Because today is too complicated end-to-end
2. Collaboration and Integration. People don’t develop software in isolation; successful teams communicate early and often without fear, and data is accessible and linked no matter where it resides
3. Performance. Because no one likes to wait for information
At the end, whoever can deliver on these successfully will be the “desired” tool of choice. I think we are making heavy investments in each of those areas so again I am very excited about our present and future as a product unit.
Since we are talking about innovation I would encourage you to see the following presentation titled “The Myths of Innovation”, link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amt3ag2BaKc . It gives you a very good perspective on innovation and how much failure and human drive, not book or classes are an integral part of a successful idea. Check it out you will not be disappointed!