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What are SCM tools?

The term "SCM" stands for Source code Management, a basic but essential part of any project developed in the current IT world. It is a kind of software that the developers usually use to manage their source code. It plays a vital role in the process of software development because it ensures that every member of the team stays on the top of source code changes in an ongoing project.

There is a common doubt in the users that they think it is the source code management tool that solves all the source code management problems and full fills the source code management requirements of a particular project.

To clear this doubt, we must know that it is not the source code management tool that solves all SCM related problems by itself, but the application of that tool that solves all kinds of SCM issues. So it is also essential that we use the source code management tool for our software development environment.

The way we apply the source code management tool to our development environment is known as the "usage Model." It is the usage model that decides how precisely the user addresses his SCM issues.

The "Source Code Management tools play a significant role as it may make or destroy all the efforts put in by several developers that are working continuously in side by side manner on the similar features to make the desired product on time. It also manages other files like configuration files. When the configuration of cloud services is under version control, application deployment can be facilitated.

Importance of the Source Code Management tools


Why we need the Source Code Management Tools

When several developers are working within a shared codebase, it is normal to make changes in the shared code. However, several times these features may also belong to the same model, which means they are from the same module. So, sometimes a developer working on feature X can make some edits which can be found later that other developer B working on feature Y has some conflicting edits. It was considered the most significant nightmare scenario before the adoption of source code management.

Suppose the developers make changes typically to text files directly and places them around to a remote location using File Transfer Protocol(or FTP) or any other protocols. Developer A would make changes or edits, and developer B would unknowingly and unwillingly save his work on developer A's work and restores (or wipe out) the edits done by the developer A. Here the SCM plays a role as the protection mechanism against this kind of scenario called Version Control.

The source code management introduces the version control safeguards to avoid the loss of work caused by the overwriting conflicts and these safeguards work through tracking every developer's every change, address the area of conflicts, and avoid the overwrites. Once the overwriting areas become known, the source code management then communicates all these points back to the developers to ensure that they can safely address and review them.

This mechanism of conflict prevention has a side effect that provides passive communication for the development team. The Developer team can monitor and discuss about the work in progress monitored by the source code management. The SCM keeps tracks of the entire history of modifications made to the base code, and this allows developers to review the edits or changes that may bring the regressions or bugs.

Let's take a look at the benefits of Source Code Management Tools.

  • Backup and Restore:
    If we use the source code management tools, we can always back up our files. We can save them at any point and also can be restored from the last saved.
  • Synchronization
    We can synchronize our code so programmers can get the latest code and also able to fetch up the updated code at any time from the respiratory.
  • Short and Long term undo
    In some cases, when the file gets really mesh up, we are able to do short-term undo to the last version, or we can do the long-term undo, which would roll back to the previous version. We are also able to track the changes, we can see the commit changes for the changes that they have done. We are also able to see the ownership of the commits that have been made on the branch.
  • Track changes
    We can track our changes and we can also track the changes when someone makes any changes. We will be able to see their commits for the changes that they have done.
  • Ownership
    We are able to see the ownership of the commits that have been made on the branch, basically on the master branch.
  • Branching and merging
    We can do branching and merging, which is very important in source code management, where we can create for our source code to create our own changes on it and then merge back it into our master branch.

Types of Source Code Management (SCM) DevOps Tools:

In this section, we will focus on the number of source code management options that are currently available. There are many types of Source Code Management Tools available in the market, so here we will discuss only those that come under the top list. We are also going to discuss their advantages, which bring these tools on to the table.

1. Bitbucket Server:

The Bitbucket server is a combination of the web interface and the GIT server offered by the Atlassian. In general, it is a web-based hosting solution that specifically targets such projects that use either Mercurial or GIT version control systems. This tool has been developed specifically for developers' professional teams as it allows them to code and enables them to manage and collaborate on the GIT project.

Advantages of Bitbucket Server

These are some following advantages of using the Bitbucket Server:

  • As it provides granular permissions, its workflow feature is more secure.
  • It also claims to provide unlimited repositories of both kinds of public and private.
  • It provides a well-distributed control system that allows the easiest of collaboration among the users and enables massive scaling.
  • It also provides a provision to integrate with various major leading applications such as HipChat, Bamboo, and JIRA. It also helps users to work efficiently and productively.

2. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

The Team Founder server (abbreviated with TFS) is one of Microsoft's products, and it is developed by Microsoft to fulfill the essential requirement of source code management.

It works quite well for what it was designed. It also works very well for both software development models: the waterfall development model, Agile software development model. Besides, the SCM (or Source Code Management) capabilities, it also fulfills the several other requirements such as Test, Releases Management capabilities, Lab Management, and automated builds.

There is no need to mention here that it also covers the complete application development lifecycle and enables a considerable number of possible DevOps capabilities.

Advantages of Team Founder Server

These are some following advantages of using the Team Founder Server(or TFS):

  • TFS (or Team Founder Server) already has built-in support for Visual Studio (IDE).
  • There is also a possibility in the Team Foundation server to lock the files before the user commits their repository changes.
  • The Team Foundation Server also has a relatively well designed Graphic User Interface for performing each task to perform on it.

3. Subversion

The Subversion is open-source VCS (Or Version Control system) that manages several tasks such as managing directories, files, and the corresponding changes made over the project's life cycle. It also provides us an opportunity to restore (or recover) the several older versions of our files if we had some issues with the current version of files (or current code). It also enables us to check the history of our written code. The TFS allows its users to access the same code from the different geographical locations and let its users work collaboratively on the same code.

As we already know, some VCS (Version Control Systems) are also known as the SCM (Software Configuration Management) systems. It is a type of general system that can be used easily by the users to manage several different collections of the files, which could be files of the user's source code or the software's documentation as well. Subversion adoption is still in progress among users, and its adoption continues to be widespread in both the corporate world and open-source sectors.

Advantages of Subversion

These are some following advantages of using the Team Founder Server (or TFS).

  • There is a provision for the user if he wants to check all differences between his source code and the repository, so he can easily see changes made by him.
  • It also allows its users to work on the same file simultaneously, and during the commits, all changes made by users will be resolved. The ability to configure it also has been very welcomed by the community.
  • Rolling back to the previous versions is one of the other provisions that are provided by the Subversion.
  • It is also effortless to resolve the conflicts with the Subversion.
  • The speed of uploads and downloads is quite decent, but the ability to customize them is one of the significant features that users love.
  • It also has the ability and the capability to integrate with any available platform.
  • It is a practical technique with simple terminology and simple tools.

4. Kallithea

Kallithea is also one of the open-source Socure Code Management Tools that are freely available and supports the leading version control systems such as the Mercurial and GIT. It is both a powerful and fast tool that has a built-in push and pull server, code review, and also offers the Full-text search. It also works seamlessly on both types of protocols such as HTTPS(Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure), HTTP(Hypertext Transfer Protocol) with another built-in feature of the authentication/ permission system, and Authenticates via the capabilities of LDAP or Active Directory, also provides some APIs for easier integration with the external world.

We can clearly say that the Kallithea is quite similar to Bitbucket or Github in more than one way, but it has also proved that it is better than others with its feature as a standalone hosted application on our server.

It works well on several numbers of operating systems such as the Windows system, UNIX systems, to handle multiple Version Control Systems powered by the VCS(or Version Control System).

Advantages of Kallithea

These are some following advantages of using the Kallithea. Let's try to discuss each one of them:

  • The demo page that shows the information related to its usage and its feature without forcing users to install it on any server makes it a more convenient option than others for the organizations or individuals to select it as their source code management software.
  • As a free software and open-source code, it provides all requirements and features in a seamless manner required for reviewing the code.
  • Visualization of full changelog
  • It also provides support for inline comments and comments on specific particular commits as well.
  • It is also able to search along with the repository browser capabilities.

5. Mercurial:

The Mercurial is one of them that is available for free. It is also a distributed source code management tool that can handle the projects of any size seamlessly. It has another significant feature: it is cross-platform that means it is available for almost every type of operating system, such as Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and most used Windows. The development process of the Mercurial was begun in the meantime when the GIT was already in the development process. If we talk about the GIT, it was adopted for the version control basically for the Linux projects. On the other hand, the Mercurial was also adopted for Linux projects, and several other projects as well.

Advantages of Mercurial

These are some following advantages of using Mercurial:

One of the significant advantages of using Mercurial is its ability to track all changes and the ability to allow the user to roll back to a targeted version of the current files on which the user is working on.

  • The "Mercurial" is quite lovely and straightforward to use, whereas the GIT is very confusing, can irritate its user very quickly.
  • Another advantage of Mercurial is that it can be easily modified or significantly extends because it is written in Python (Programming language) in a very decent manner.
  • The commands usually used in the Mercurial are much simpler as compared to commands used in the GIT.
  • Mercurial, with tools like Hg bisect, makes bug chasing much faster.
  • It can also be integrated very quickly with several IDEs like Eclipse, Visual Studio, IntelliJ IDEA, etc.
  • It can be easily accentuated with front-end tools like SourceTree, TortoiseHg, etc.
  • It can easily be used for several tasks such as reverting file changes, branching, rebasing, access control to files, and merging.

6. Helix Core Version Control

This is the next tool in our list. It is actually based on the versioning engine that provides power to those customers, who usually see file-level asset management, which is lightning-fast. Its core knew as Perforce Helix, that is one of the version control engines that are usually used for large scale development environment. It manages the centralized database, also along with it a master repository of every possible version.

The Helix Core clients are usually categorized into five categories based on how they are connected to the code repository. The name of the five categories is Plugin, GIT, Web, Command, and the last one is the GUI.

The Perforce system is able to make available it's all content as the GIT repositories or make a portion. The users who are using the GIT and the users who do not use GIT can use this and work with the same file content and history. Commits of GIT's will be further visible to the others as the Perforce Changelists.

Advantages of Helix Core Version Control

These are some following advantages of using the Helix Core Version Control:

  • It offers relatively good searching functionality, which scans all users' repository for any content that the user is currently interested in finding.
  • Using it, one can work remotely from any geographical location and fetch files that they want.
  • It also automates and simplifies the branching best practices.
  • One can add a locking mechanism to his files in order to protect his files from the overwriting.
  • It provides consistent performance to its users even when the repositories size gets increased further.
  • It also provides Global visibility to its users.

7. GitLab

GitLab is yet another repository management tool hosted on a free hosting service called Besides this, it also provides the GIT repository Management function with several features such as code reviews, access control, bug tracking, etc.

The GitLab Ci was apparently unified with the GitLab, also very easy to use for linking the project by using the APIs of the GitLab. The GitLab is build using Ruby language, but the Go language is also used in it where it is required. It can execute several types of operating systems such as FreeBSD, Docker, Windows, Osx, and Linux.

Advantages of GitLab

These are some following advantages of using the GitLab:

  • The GitLab CI (or GitLab Continuous Integration) and CD (or Continuous Delivery) are the vital, integral parts of the GitLab and free as an offering from
  • It is relatively easy to learn, and all topics are covered in brief in the quick start guides.
  • The proprietary enterprise Edition and the open-source GitLab both contain the CI( or Continuous Integration) and CD (or Continuous Delivery ).
  • The CI (or Continuous Delivery) is usually achieved in several stages and environments and can be done in manual deployments.
  • The test run is generally distributed on several separate machines, which can be easily added on any given point of time when there is the need to extend the scalability of machines.
  • Each of the builds can be a breakdown in several sub-tasks or jobs that can be performed on several machines; hence it provides results much faster.

8. Gerrit

The Gerrit is another one of the GIT-based Source code management tools available in the market, but it manages a lot more than just reviewing the source code.

The Gerrit is one of them which are freely available for all users. It is also an open-source web-based team code collaboration tool.

Gerrit integrates closely with both the DVCS (Distributed version control system), GIT. It is a fork that belongs to Rietveld, but also another code review tool. It was written originally in the python language, but now it is written in the java ( Java EE Servlet) with SQL since v2. Gerrit uses the GWT( Google Web Kit) in the backend for generating the front-end code of javascript from the Java source.

Advantages of Gerrit

These are some following advantages of using the GitLab. Let's discuss each one of them:

  • As it is built over the GIT, one can quickly move towards the Gerrit without any issues.
  • The Gerrit also provides its user a robust integration with Jenkins, and by using it, any user can implement the automated process.
  • There is also a provision for cherry-pick the commits using the GIT commands or else can perform any other action on that particular commit by just using the commit id.
  • It provides a powerful Git integration, which is also free.
  • It provides one of the best User interfaces if we compare it to other source code management tools.
  • It also provides a provision to connect with Redmin and also contains APIs to connect to Jenkins as well.

9. GitHub:

A considerable number of developers possibly already know about Github. Still, even after that, many developers also get confused about it when they are asked about the Github. The GITHUB is one of the powerful source code management tools (SCM tools), which helps the team get together and solve the occurring problems with changing time by making the necessary changes into the existing code.

It is an impressive Source code management tool, which is also based on the Git, just like several other tools that are also the best place to share code with friends, colleagues, etc. They learn from each other along the whole way and pass the ideas forward.

The GITHub has excellent user acceptance and several other source code management tools, which has been available in the market for a long time.

These are some following advantages of using the GIT. Let's try to discuss each one of them:

Advantages of GIT:

  • A considerable number of projects that are actually useful are either on the GitHub or on the
  • Using it, one can easily share his code, presentations, and documentation in a very decent manner.
  • The best and easiest way to reorganize all the current issues or clean up is done with the Milestones' feature.
  • It can be considered one of the best and most safe places for programmers to work with private and public repositories.
  • There are a number of well-verified integrations available that can be done along with the GITHub, which makes it very popular among the developers.
  • There is also a provision that allows everyone to host, to manage projects, review the code.
  • Here the whole system is straightforward yet very useful.
  • It also provides one of the best, cleanest User Interface by which one can navigate to all its useful features such as pull requests, milestones, labels, and, assigning issues.
  • Here the documentation, creation of projects, and almost everything related to our projects is in one place.
  • It also provides us with collaboration while working on open source projects, where we can work with developers from different nationalities.

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