A Study About Version Control System(VCS)

What is “Version Control System”?

“Version control systems are a category of software tools that helps in records changes to a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later.”

Why we use Version Control Systems?

As we all know, a software product is created collaboratively by a community of developers who may be based in various locations and each contributes to a particular collection of functionality/features.

As a result, they changed the source code in order to contribute to the product (either by adding or removing).A version control system is a type of software that helps the developer team in efficiently communicating and managing(tracking) all changes made to the source code, as well as details such as who made the change and what it was. 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 signalled they merged to the main source code. It not only keeps source code organized but also improves productivity by making the development process smooth.

There are many benefits of using a version control system for our projects.

Benefits of Version Control System;-

  • Enhances the project development speed by providing efficient collaboration.
  • Version control systems allow you to compare files, identify differences, and merge the changes if needed prior to committing any code.
  • Versioning is also a great way to keep track of application builds by being able to identify which version is currently in development, QA, and production
  • Helps in recovery in case of any disaster or contingent situation.
  • Reduce possibilities of errors and conflicts meanwhile project development through traceability to every small change.
  • Leverages the productivity, expedite product delivery, and skills of the employees through better communication and assistance.
  • Through improved communication and assistance, increases employee productivity, expedites product delivery, and improves employee skills.

Use of Version Control System;-

  • A repository: It can be thought of as a database of changes. It includes all of the project’s edits and historical versions (snapshots).
  • Copy of Work (sometimes called as checkout):It’s a personal copy of all the project’s files. You can make changes to this copy without impacting other people’s work, and when you’re done, you can commit your changes to a repository.

There are three different Types of Version Control Systems.

  1. Local Version Control Systems.
  2. Centralized Version Control Systems.
  3. Distributed Version Control Systems.

01. Local Version Control Systems

  • It is one of the simplest forms and has a database that kept all the changes to files under revision control.
  • RCS is one of the most common VCS tools. It keeps patch sets (differences between files) in a special format on disk.
  • By adding up all the patches it can then re-create what any file looked like at any point in time.

02. Centralized Version Control Systems

  • All changes to the files are tracked in this system by a centralized server.
  • The centralized server holds all versioned file information as well as a list of clients who check out data from that central location.

Example: Tortoise SVN

03. Distributed Version Control Systems

  • The clients completely clone the repository including its full history.
  • If any server dies, any of the client repositories can be copied on to the server which help restore the server.
  • Every clone is considered as a full backup of all the data.

Example: Git, Mercurial

Popular Jargons Related To Version Control System:

  1. Repository
  • Central location where all the files are being kept. Usually a directory with set of files.

2. Trunk

  • Also referred to as master branch. This is where the most stable code is being placed which is referred as the production code.

3. Stage

  • Mark files for tracking changes.

4. Commit

  • Create a snapshot of the changes being made to the files.

5. Branch

  • Copy of the master branch taken at a given point. All the feature developments and bug fixes will be done in a branch. Usually it is allowed to have multiple branches at the same time.

6. Checkout

  • Mark/unlock file for changing.

7. Merge

  • Combining branches together to update the master branch.

8. Merge conflict

  • Merge conflicts occur when merging a file which has been changed in two separate branches or places. Changes that interfere other changes.

What is “Git”?

“Git is the most commonly used version control system. Git tracks the changes you make to files, so you have a record of what has been done, and you can revert to specific versions should you ever need to. Git also makes collaboration easier, allowing changes by multiple people to all be merged into one source.”

So regardless of whether you write code that only you will see, or work as part of a team, Git will be useful for you

Advantages:

  • Branching capabilities and merging are easy.(as they are cheap)
  • Good data integrity.
  • Free and open-source.
  • Add ons can be written in many languages.
  • Good and faster network performance.
  • Superior disk utilization.
  • Object model is very simple.
  • Minimizes push/pull data transfers.

Disadvantages:

  • Requires technical excellence.
  • Slower on windows.
  • It lacks window support and doesn’t track empty folders.
  • GIT doesn’t support checking out sub-trees.
  • The process of Packing is very expensive completely.
  • Do not provide access control mechanisms.
  • Doesn’t support binary files.

Git Commands:

  • Git init
  • Git clone
  • Git add
  • Git stage
  • Git commit
  • Git push
  • Git pull

Software developers should have a rudimental understanding of what VCS is and which type of VCS suits them. The adoption of a VCS is a must in software development. It helps software developers manage their codes easily because it is common to have a lot of changes involving addition or deletion of features.

In order to adopt a VCS, a software developer must know and perfectly understand which approach should be used as it will affect the whole project and team. It is also important for them to have the knowledge of different approaches of VCS because the various approaches will affect their software development process differently.

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