A Visual Guide to Version Control
Sometimes we mess up bad. Suppose you made a change a year ago, and it had a bug. Jump back to the old version, and see what change was made that day. Track Changes. As files are updated, you can leave messages explaining why the change happened stored in the VCS, not the file.
This makes it easy to see how a file is evolving over time, and why. Track Ownership. A VCS tags every change with the name of the person who made it. Helpful for blamestorming giving credit. Sandboxing , or insurance against yourself. Making a big change? Branching and merging. A larger sandbox. You can branch a copy of your code into a separate area and modify it in isolation tracking changes separately. Later, you can merge your work back into the common area.
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Learn the Lingo Most version control systems involve the following concepts, though the labels may be different. Basic Setup Repository repo : The database storing the files. Server : The computer storing the repo. Client : The computer connecting to the repo. Think of code as a family tree — the trunk is the main line. Basic Actions Add : Put a file into the repo for the first time, i. Revision : What version a file is on v1, v2, v3, etc. Head : The latest revision in the repo. Check out : Download a file from the repo.
Check in : Upload a file to the repository if it has changed. Checkin Message : A short message describing what was changed. This lets you grab the latest revisions of all files. Revert : Throw away your local changes and reload the latest version from the repository. Useful for seeing what changed between revisions. Merge or patch : Apply the changes from one file to another, to bring it up-to-date. For example, you can merge features from one branch into another.
At Microsoft this was called Reverse Integrate and Forward Integrate Conflict : When pending changes to a file contradict each other both changes cannot be applied. Resolve : Fixing the changes that contradict each other and checking in the correct version. Locking : Taking control of a file so nobody else can edit it until you unlock it. Some version control systems use this to avoid conflicts.
Breaking the lock : Forcibly unlocking a file so you can edit it. Some VCSes have editable files by default, others require an explicit command.
- Creating a patch using diff.
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And a typical scenario goes like this: Alice adds a file list. Visual Examples This guide is purposefully high-level: most tutorials throw a bunch of text commands at you.
Checkins The simplest scenario is checking in a file list. Checkouts and Editing In reality, you might not keep checking in a file. In Subversion, run: svn co list. In SVN, we diff two revisions of a file like this: svn diff -r list. Branching Branches let us copy code into a separate folder so we can monkey with it separately: For example, we can create a branch for new, experimental ideas for our list: crazy things like Rice or Eggo waffles.
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In Subversion, you create a branch simply by copying a directory to another. Merging Branching sounds simple, right? In Subversion, merging is very close to diffing. Conflicts Many times, the VCS can automatically merge changes to different parts of a file. A few approaches: Re-apply your changes.
Sync to the the latest version r4 and re-apply your changes to this file: Add hot dog to the list that already has cheese. Override their changes with yours. Check out the latest version r4 , copy over your version, and check your version in. In effect, this removes cheese and replaces it with hot dog. Tagging Who would have thought a version control system would be Web 2. These are under development and less stable than main. Key Takeaways My goal was to share high-level thoughts about version control systems.
Here are the basics: Use version control. Take it slow. Just get a handle on using version control and go from there.
Why Git and SVN Fail at Managing Dataset Versions
Large projects often have experienced maintainers who keep track of the branches and patches. Keep Learning. The important thing is to know the concepts and realize every system has its own lingo and philosophy. Eric Sink has a detailed version control guide also. Like these diagrams? Also known as Subversion, SVN represents the most popular centralized version control system on the market. With a centralized system, all files and historical data are stored on a central server. And developers commit their changes directly to that central server repository.
Then you work on your feature.
The benefit of branching is the ability to make commits into the branch without breaking the trunk. You only merge into the trunk when your code is error-free. This keeps your trunk stable. And users generally appreciate how easy it is to use and understand SVN. However, working on one central server means there is a single point of failure.
If there is an error, it can destroy all builds. Limited offline access is also a frequent point of complaint. While centralized systems were the version control system of choice for nearly a decade, Git has surpassed them in recent years. Unlike SVN, Git utilizes multiple repositories: a central repository and a series of local repositories.
Local repositories are exact copies of the central repository complete with the entire history of changes. Then you work on your local repository exactly as you would in SVN by creating new branches, tags, etc. Teams also opt for Git is open source and cross-platform, so support is available for all platforms, multiple sets of technologies, languages, and frameworks. There is one con teams find frustrating: the ever-growing complexing of history logs. Because developers take extra steps when merging, history logs of each issue can become dense and difficult to decipher.
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Git vs. SVN version control systems
Git vs. SVN: Which version control system is right for you? Backlog in Development. SVN version control systems With all version control systems, project files sit on a server where you push your files to when you have completed your work on your local machine.
Work is comprised of three parts: Trunk: The trunk is the hub of your current, stable code and product.