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What Is Source Control?

Why Source Control Is Important

  • 1 July 2021
  • Author: Eric Smith
  • Number of views: 152
What Is Source Control?

I've recently been asked if we use a Source Control system. Of course, the answer was yes. All application development companies and teams need a way to manage and track changes and versions of code in their codebases. 

What Is Source Control? 

Source control refers to tracking and managing changes to code. This ensures developers are working on the right version of source code.
 
Source Control vs. Version Control

These terms are used interchangeably. Source control is specific to source code. Version control covers large binary files and digital assets.

What Is Source Control Management?

Source control management (SCM) refers to the tools that help you keep track of your code with a complete history of changes.

Source Control vs. Source Code Management (SCM)

The terms are used interchangeably. However, source control is specific to tracking changes in source code. A source code management tool (SCM) tracks changes to a source code repository.

SCM also maintains a history of changes. This is used to resolve conflicts when merging updates from multiple developers.

Why Source Control Is Important

Source control is important for maintaining a single source of truth for development teams. Plus, using it helps facilitate collaboration and accelerates release velocity.

That’s because it allows multiple developers to work on the same codebase. They can commit and merge code without conflicts. And they can even make edits to shared code, without unknowingly overwriting each other’s work.

Tips for SCM

Having a system is one thing. Managing it effectively is another. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Choose the right system. (We use Git and PlasticSCM at Epoch Online)
Store your code in the system.
Pull the latest version of the code.
Commit code often (and make notes).
Use branches to work in parallel.
Choosing the right system is important — that’s why it’s the first best practice. But there are a lot of options to wade through. Here’s how they break down. 

List of Source Control Tools

Source control tools include:

Git
Perforce Helix Core
Subversion
ClearCase
Team Foundation Server
Mercurial 
Git Source Control Is One Popular Option
Git source control is one of the most popular options. Some teams use open source Git. Others use enterprise Git. Some popular Git source control options include GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.

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