Version control systems are a category of software tools that helps in recording changes made to files by keeping a track of modifications done in the code.
As we know that a software product is developed in collaboration by a group of developers they might be located at different locations and each one of them contributes to some specific kind of functionality/features. So in order to contribute to the product, they made modifications to the source code(either by adding or removing). A version control system is a kind of software that helps the developer team to efficiently communicate and manage(track) all the changes that have been made to the source code along with the information like who made and what changes have been made. A separate branch is created for every contributor who made the changes and the changes aren’t merged into the original source code unless all are analyzed as soon as the changes are green signaled they merged to the main source code. It not only keeps source code organized but also improves productivity by making the development process smooth.
What is Version Control?
As the name Version Control suggests, it is a system that records changes made to a file or a set of files. The system refers to the category of software tools that make it possible for the software team to look after the source code changes whenever needed. The system records all the made changes to a file so a specific version may be rolled if required in the future.
The responsibility of the Version control system is to keep all the team members on the same page. It makes sure that everyone on the team is working on the latest version of the file and, most importantly, makes sure that all these people can work simultaneously on the same project.
Benefits of Version Control
1.Managing and Protecting the Source Code-
The Version Control System helps manage the source code for the software team by keeping track of all the code modifications. It also protects the source code from any unintended human error and consequences.
2.Keeping Track of All the Modifications Made to the Code-
The team working on the project continuously produces new source codes and keeps making amendments to the existing code. These changes are recorded for future references and can be used if ever needed in the future to discover the root cause of any particular problem.
3.Comparing Earlier Versions of the Code-
Since all the versions of the code are saved, this makes it possible for developers to go back at any time and compare the earlier versions of the code to help fix the mistake while reducing disruption to all team members.
4.Supports the Developers’ Workflow and Not any Rigid Way of Working-
Any suitable Version Control software will not impose any particular way of working. The Version Control Systems are known to provide a smooth and continuous flow of changes made to the code and prevent developers from getting frustrated in this clumsy mechanism.
Types of Version Control Systems
The three most popular version control systems are broken down into two main categories, centralized and decentralized (also known as distributed):
•Centralized Version Control
The main concept of a centralized system is that it works in a client and server relationship. The repository is located in one place and provides access to many clients. It’s very similar to FTP in where you have an FTP client which connects to an FTP server. All changes, users, commits and information must be sent and received from this central repository.
The primary benefits of this Subversion are:
•It is easy to understand.
•You have more control over users and access (since it is served from one place). •More GUI & IDE clients (Subversion has been around longer).
•Simple to get started.
At the same time,
Subversion has some drawbacks:
•Dependent on access to the server.
•Hard to manage a server and backups (well, not with Beanstalk of course!)
•It can be slower because every command connects to the server.
•Branching and merging tools are difficult to use.
•Distributed Version Control
Distributed systems are a newer option. In distributed version control, each user has their own copy of the entire repository, not just the files but the history as well. Think of it as a network of individual repositories. In many cases, even though the model is distributed, services like Beanstalk are used for simplifying the technical challenges of sharing changes. The two most popular distributed version control systems are Git and Mercurial.
The primary benefits of Git and Mercurial are:
•More powerful and detailed change tracking, which means less conflicts.
•No server necessary – all actions except sharing repositories are local (commit offline). •Branching and merging is more reliable, and therefore used more often.
At the same time, Git and Mercurial do have some drawbacks:
•The distributed model is harder to understand.
•It’s new, so not as many GUI clients.
•The revisions are not incremental numbers, which make them harder to reference.
•It can be easier to make mistakes until you are familiar with the model.
Remote working is slowly setting in as a permanent solution for striking a perfect balance between personal and professional life. All the major tech companies are working remotely at present and hence cross departmental communication is becoming difficult. As these problems are slowly coming to the surface choosing a right Version control software can be the solution. It can save both employee and employer from the consequences of data deletion, and further pave the way for hassle free cross departmental communication and collaboration.