If you are a person working in a web firm with a team to collaborate, then you must have experienced the frustration that goes along with file sharing. Leaving aside what efforts you put, when more than one person works on a single project without a version control system in place things get messy.
Various issues like lost files, overwrites, and the biggest trouble “working off on a previous version” phenomenon crop up regularly. Additionally, even if you have a common repository that everyone is pulling from chances are at least one of your team member would forgot to grab the latest files and is about to blow things up with their latest additions.
In this article, we will give you a quick review about version control system.
Defining Version Control System
It is a system that tracks record of alterations made to a file or set of files over a definite set of time so that you can remember particular versions later. A version control system (also known as a Revision Control System) is a storehouse of files, most commonly the files for the source code of computer programs, with examined access. Every change made to the source is recorded, along with the name of person who made the change, why they made it, and references to problems fixed, or improvements introduced, by the change.
Version control systems are essential for any form of collaborative, distributed development. Either it is the history of a page or large software development project, the ability to track and record each change as it was made, and to revert back the changes when required defines the most rewarded benefits of a controlled and well-managed process.
Let’s try to understand this through an example.
If you are a web or graphic designer and want to keep every version of an image or layout (which you would most definitely want to), a (VCS) is a very wise tool to use. It allows you to revert a single file back to a previous state, revert the entire project back to a previous state, compare changes over time, see who last altered something that might be causing a problem, who introduced an issue and when, and more. Using a Version Control System also generally means that if you mess things up or lose files, you can effortlessly recover. In addition, you get all this for very little overhead.
Version Control System’s
There are various version control systems out there. Often they are divided into three main categories:
Local Version Control Systems
A lot of people prefer to copy files into another directory as a choice of version-control method. This approach is very commonly used because it is so simple, but it is also extremely error prone. It’s quite easy to forget which directory you’re in and accidentally write to the wrong file or copy over files you don’t mean to.
To overcome this trouble a local VCS was developed that had a simple database that kept all the changes to files under revision control.
Centralized Version Control Systems
Another major trouble that people encounter is that they need to work together with developers on other systems. To troubleshoot this issue, CVCSs or Centralized Version Control Systems were built. These systems are based on the idea that there is a single “central” copy of your project somewhere (probably on a server), and programmers will “commit” their changes to this central copy.
Advantages of Centralized Version Control Systems
- Everyone is aware of what other person is doing on the project.
- Administrators have complete control over who can do what; and it’s far easier to administer a CVCS than it is to deal with local databases on every client.
Disadvantages of Centralized Version Control Systems
- If that server goes down then during that time no one would be able to collaborate or save versioned changes to anything they’re working on.
- If central database is corrupted, and there are no proper backups, you will lose all data.
Distributed Version Control Systems
Lately a new variety of tools has appeared known as “distributed” version control systems (DVCS). The three most popular examples of version control systems are Git, Bazaar and Mercurial. These systems do not necessarily rely on a central server to store all the versions of a project’s files. Instead, every developer “duplicates” a copy of a repository and has the full history of the project on their own hard drive. This copy (or “replica”) has all of the metadata of the original.
Popular Version Control System
Few Good Examples…
Git is one of the most popular version control system today. It is a distributed version control system. It is developed by Linus Torvalds to solve the issue of speed with existing version control systems. A lot of businesses around the globe prefer Git to manage their code, as Git provides a huge range of features.
This VCS has been around for about three decades. It was created as an alternative to CVS (Concurrent Versions System). SVN offers best features of CVS with some improvements.
Mercurial is a free and distributed open-source system like Git. Its main objective is high performance, scalability, with advanced branching and integration capabilities.
Various Benefits Of Using A Version Control System Are:
- Allows you to revert back to an older version of the file/project if needed.
- People can work on the same files concurrently without conflict.
- There is no single point of failure. It doesn’t rely on one central server that could crash and burn, taking the only repository for your project with it.
- There is a common storehouse that holds all the latest files.
- As it doesn’t have to communicate with a central server constantly, processes run very quickly.
- Files cannot be overwritten.
- Making developers very happy and stress free.
- Everything is local, so you can work offline.