Cornerstone is intended to boost your productivity if you are working on a large development project, which typically requires managing different versions of your files. The application is based on Subversion, a popular open-source version control system. However, it is good to know that rather than providing a graphic user interface for command-line Subversion, Cornerstone integrates it in its core.
The application’s interface is quite intuitive. In fact, its Working-copy Browser and Repository Browser resemble Finder in many ways. In this respect, it will take no time for you to create your first repository. Fortunately, there is a wizard-like welcoming screen to guide your first steps. What is more, there is excellent accompanying documentation in case you have any questions.
One of the main features of Cornerstone is security. Good news is that the tool runs sandboxed, so there is no risk you might end up damaging the system. Moreover, it uses the most trustworthy mechanisms to secure data transfers. In this regard, RSA-based key pairs have been incorporated in your SSH authentication process. Regrettably, there have been complaints related to the application being unable to connect to some repositories.
Another advantage of this app is that it seamlessly integrates with your workflow. For instance, its logging engine supports multiple ways in which you can keep track of your versions, like side-by-side file comparison, detail project history and timeline. Likewise, there is a built-in issue tracking system. As to comparing files, it is also quite convenient that there is full compatibility with third-party tools, such as Apple File Merge, Araxis Merge and DeltaWalker, to mention but a few.
In my opinion, one of the best features of Cornerstone is what its developers call “shelving and checkpointing”, which is kind of a marker you can insert in the history. Then, if anything goes wrong, it will cost no effort to revert all changes to that specific point. However, it is much more than a simple undo feature. You can save all changes to temporary storage while you continue editing your working copy. If you create a checkpoint, the modified working copies are saved into the shelf but your changes remain in the working copy. Shelving, on the contrary, reverts all modifications, which means that your working copy will not contain the modified files.
To conclude, it is very convenient that there is an application like Cornerstone to help users get the most of Subversion, which would be otherwise much more difficult to use. The product is shareware, which in this case means that it can be tried without feature restrictions for a limited period of time.