A version control system, also known as source control management, is a way to manage document changes that the developer makes for software coding. The SCM methodology resources and provides access to all versions of the software as long as the states are saved and compare all different versions making development more efficient and more agile.
This article will explain why we require a version control system, provide some best practices, and recommend a few VCS tools. in some cases, the developing process involves only one person updating the code is less difficult. The developer could edit the code and document the changes in a document. But as soon as the development process involves more than two people working simultaneously on the same parts of the code, challenges arise.
The idea behind the SCM methodology is to prevent and resolve the conflicts among developers’ codes. Instead of utilizing a file locking approach system performance allows contributors to work simultaneously by applying changes in any part of the source codes and providing them with concurrent access.
Consequently, contributors could perform parallel changes very smoothly as the VCS methodology is very easy to implement; here are a few steps to be followed:
Choose a VCS type
Each machine should be distributed for cloning, and checking out the software will act as a repository.
It centralizes every update present on the single server where developers will clone and checkout the source code and then push back their revision.
Choose the VCS tool
- Set up the workspace and remote or central repository.
- Share the corresponding link to the repository.
- Contributors will be checking out from the central or remote repository and start working locally.
- Developers are going to share their changes for the remote and Central repository.
- For using VCS efficiently, here are some best practices that are recommended for us to follow:
- Commit often
While developing a feature, there are different steps required to be completed by the whole part. By committing when we are ensuring that we are dealing with small changes and making it easier to revert to the shift introduces a bug or if the difference is no longer important. It will also help us in consistently grouping our commit. It comment is going to contain a certain change.
- Added a commit message
Commit is a communication and a commit message to convey a message to other team members. A good commit message will be a very short text explaining what was done, and even if it was not compulsory, a commit message is very important.
- Do not post your comment and completed work.
Even if it is the suggested changes to commit often, it does not mean that we should save something that is not working.
- Decide on common branch practices
Try setting a rule when working with branches and stick to it. A common approach should be agreed upon before development and should be followed by each team member. For example, common practice should constantly be updated with our branches. One of the biggest advantages of SCM is working on a component and applying small changes in a given department at a time. Therefore updating our department will make our integration easier and this will result in fewer conflicts to handle. Updating a unit also involves checking out the central or remote repository and integrating changes in recent addition.
Another best practice should be creating a new branch for every change as extensions are very easy to manipulate and make source control management easier. Depending on the type of development, it should be very clear where developers should derive their working branch from as in one main component where new features are commenced and another main unit where an image of the production environment is generated.
In general, using branches as much as possible is recommended.
- Push source code to your repository and nothing else.
The repository is not a place where we should push everything as only source code related to the project we are working on should be posted in the warehouse. It is not the image of our local workspace. Some files should not be put on the repository, namely generated files, workspace configuration, etc. We can see SCM answers to many coding limitations, such as if we choose to work on a centralized tool, we will need a centralized server for serving all the contributors.
Centralized version control system tools are divided into servers to install on the centralized server and the client to install developers’ workstations. Once we have defined our server, we can create a repository for its software project and share our contributions repository link to stop the contributor’s adjustment required to check out the storage for retrieving the project and starting their development work.
All contributors will share their updates on the central repository as it is the only way to save changes for sharing them.
We can opt for a distributed VCS tool. In this case, we are not required to define the server, and all workstations could act as a repository. The repository in the developer’s workstation will be referred to as a local repository. Another warehouse will be referred to as the remote repository. There could be several remote repositories for a given software project.
There are very few common repositories in practice and generally for an environment that typically serve as a remote repository for developers. There could be some additional rules about the usage of these different common remote repositories.
Using distributed VCS, developers could save the line and share changes to the remote repository once they got back online.
There are different SCM tools, and in this section, we will see two of the most popular open-source SCM tools:
Git is a distributed version control system and is the most used SCMin in today’s Era. The majority of developers argued that getting one of the most difficult PCS tools is somehow true as it has a higher learning curve and makes branch management a lot easier.
Mercurial is another open-source distributed system performance and is also used very widely. This version control system is written in python and offers Useful tools. It has all the benefits of a distributed version control system compared to another distributed VCS like git, mercurial, and quicker learning curve.