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What is the Version Control System?

A version control system is a software that tracks changes to a file or set of files over time so that you can recall specific versions later. It also allows you to work together with other programmers.

The version control system is a collection of software tools that help a team to manage changes in source code. It uses a special kind of database to keep track of every modification to the code.

Developers can compare earlier versions of the code with an older version to fix the mistakes.

Advantages of the Version Control System

The Version Control System is very helpful and beneficial in software development; developing software without using version control is unsafe. It provides backups for uncertainty. Version control systems offer a speedy interface to developers. It also allows software teams to preserve efficiency and agility according to the team scales to include more developers.

Some key benefits of having a version control system are as follows.

  • Complete change history of the file
  • Simultaneously working
  • Branching and merging
  • Traceability

Types of Version Control System

  • Localized version Control System
  • Centralized version control systems
  • Distributed version control systems

Localized Version Control Systems

SVN Version Control System

The localized version control method is a common approach because of its simplicity. But this approach leads to a higher chance of error. In this approach, you may forget which directory you're in and accidentally write to the wrong file or copy over files you don't want to.

To deal with this issue, programmers developed local VCSs that had a simple database. Such databases kept all the changes to files under revision control. A local version control system keeps local copies of the files.

The major drawback of Local VCS is that it has a single point of failure.

Centralized Version Control System

SVN Version Control System

The developers needed to collaborate with other developers on other systems. The localized version control system failed in this case. To deal with this problem, Centralized Version Control Systems were developed.

These systems have a single server that contains the versioned files, and some clients to check out files from a central place.

Centralized version control systems have many benefits, especially over local VCSs.

  • Everyone on the system has information about the work that others are doing on the project.
  • Administrators have control over other developers.
  • It is easier to deal with a centralized version control system than a localized version control system.
  • A local version control system facilitates a server software component that stores and manages the different versions of the files.

It also has the same drawback as in the local version control system that it also has a single point of failure.

Distributed Version Control System

SVN Version Control System

Centralized Version Control System uses a central server to store all the database and team collaboration. But due to single point failure, which means the failure of the central server, developers do not prefer it. Next, the Distributed Version Control System is developed.

In a Distributed Version Control System (such as Git, Mercurial, Bazaar, or Darcs), the user has a local copy of a repository. So, the clients don't just check out the latest snapshot of the files even they can fully mirror the repository. The local repository contains all the files and metadata present in the main repository.

DVCS allows automatic management branching and merging. It speeds up most operations except pushing and pulling. DVCS enhances the ability to work offline and does not rely on a single location for backups. If any server stops and other systems were collaborating via it, then any of the client repositories could be restored by that server. Every checkout is a full backup of all the data.

These systems do not necessarily depend on a central server to store all the versions of a project file.


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