This article discuss use case,real-life scenarios,advantages and disadvantages of version control. It also discuss types of version control.
It is very important concept for any DevOps engineer. Because this concept is very helpful when differet deveopers are working on one application/software and when client’s requirement keep on changing. We shall learn the basics of the version control system, followed by the benefits of the system and finally, we shall have a look at some of the best version control systems in the market.
Table of contents
- What is Version control?
- Use case of Version control
- What is version control system?
- Types of version control system
- Advantages of version control
- Disadvantages of version control
What is Version control?
As the name suggests, version control refers to software tools that allow software teams to monitor changes made to source code. The system logs all changes to a file.
The version control system is responsible for keeping all team members on the same page. It should be ensured everyone on your team has the latest version of the file and working on it, and most importantly, make sure they can all work on the same project simultaneously.
Real-life scenario-Version control
Software developers working in teams are constantly creating new source code and modifying existing source code. Code for a project, app, or software component is typically organized in a folder structure or “file tree.” While one developer on a team is working on a new feature, another developer may be changing code to fix unrelated bugs. Each developer can make changes in several parts of the file.
Now how to check which developer made which change?
Version control helps teams solve this kind of problem, keeping track of all changes made by each contributor and avoiding conflicts when working together. Changes made to any part of the software may not be compatible with those of another developer working simultaneously. This issue should be discovered and resolved in a systematic manner without disturbing the rest of the team. Additionally, in software development, changes can introduce new bugs, and new software cannot be trusted until it has been tested. So testing and development continue together until the new version is ready.
Use case of Version control
Imagine there’s a multinational company that has offices spread over several countries with thousands of employees; so when it is such a big company, there might be a set of issues and challenges like-
Challenge to collaborate- There are so many people located at different places that there may be a need to communicate for a particular reason or a set of people working on the same project but from different regions. The second challenge is storing. Versions the project is not completed in a single version, there may be ‘n’ number of versions in that situation; the problem of storing all such commits in a single place is a huge challenge; then another problem is restoring previous versions; sometimes it is important to go back to the previous versions to find the root cause of any bug.
Figure out the changes-what happened at times it is critical to know what changes are made to the previous version of the source code or where exactly the changes have been made in a file; then comes the problem of backup in case the system or the disk of the user breaks down, and there is no backup then all the efforts will go in vain these are some of the basic problems that any small or big company might encounter.
Now, what could be a possible solution to all such problems?
This is when the version control system comes into the picture. The version control system will take care of the collaboration between employees storing different versions and will help in having backups on the remote repository; it will also help in rolling back to the previous commits and to the last version of the source code we will talk about each of these reasons in detail when we learn the benefits of the version control system
What is the Version control system?
Version control systems are software tools used to help a team of programmers manages changes to source code over time. They can help teams track who made what changes and when, review changes before they’re added to a project, and even revert to earlier versions of the code if needed. Popular version control systems include Git, Mercurial, and Subversion.
Version control tools in the market today are
- git lab
- Aws codecommit
- Apache subversion
Version control systems facilitate continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) by ensuring that all code changes are validated and tested before being released to production. They also help teams quickly identify and fix issues in the codebase, which reduces downtime and improves the overall quality of the software product.
Types of version control system
- Centralized version control systems- All versions of the code are stored in a single central repository. It allows developers to check out a copy of the code to work on locally, make changes, and then check it back into the central repository. Examples of CVCS include Subversion (SVN) and Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS).
- Distributed version control systems allow developers to create multiple repositories containing a full copy of the codebase. This means developers can work on the code locally without an internet connection to a central repository. Changes can then be synced between repositories according to the need. Examples include Git, Mercurial, and Bazaar.
Advantages of version control
- Collaborative development: Version control systems allow multiple developers to work simultaneously on the same code base. Each developer can make changes independently, and the system stitches them together seamlessly.
- History Tracking: Developers can view the history of changes made to their code base. This makes tracking bugs and issues introduced in recent changes easier.
- Code backups: Version control systems always help make backups of the code base. This means that if something goes wrong with their code, developers can always revert to an earlier version
- Branching and merging: Version control allows developers to create separate branches of the code base for different features and experiments. This makes it easy to try out new features without breaking the main code base. Once the feature is complete, the branch can be merged into the main code base.
- Code reviews: Version control systems provide a platform for code reviews. Developers can review each other’s code, suggest improvements, and find bugs before merging into the main code base.
Disadvantages of version control
- Security Concerns: If not properly configured or secured, version control systems can pose security risks. This includes the potential for exposing sensitive code or intellectual property and the possibility of unauthorized access or data breaches.
- Single point of failure: All code changes are stored on a single central server. If this server goes down or becomes unavailable. Developers may be able to pull down changes or commit their own changes once the server is back online. This can cause delays and disruptions to the development process.
- Risk of losing everything: In case of irregular backups or corruption of the central server, the entire repository of revisions could be lost.
- Slow updates or commits: Updating or committing changes to the repository may take some time to complete, depending on the network connection and the location of the central server. This can slow down the development process and make it harder for developers to work efficiently.
- Difficult conflict resolution: When multiple developers work on the same codebase, conflicts can arise when changes to the same code section are made simultaneously. Resolving these conflicts can be more challenging and time-consuming, as it may require coordination between different developers and branches.
Version control is a vital tool for modern software development. It provides many benefits, including collaborative development, historical tracking, code backup, branching and merging, and code reviews. These benefits make it easier for developers to work on complex codebases, improve the quality of their code, and manage changes over time.
However, some potential challenges and risks are associated with version control, such as the possibility of a single point of failure, the risk of losing data if backups are not kept regularly, and the potential for complex conflicts to arise when merging changes from different branches or developers.
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