Intro to Version Control Systems: Unveiling their Capabilities! (2024)

Version control systems are also known as Source Code Management Systems and they are essentially software-based tools to help track and manage changes to files and directories over a certain period of time. They are used to keep track of the project that is being worked on by a team, and are then further utilized for bettering the communication standards of that team.

So, the version control system offers three main capabilities. The first one is concurrent work. It enables multiple people to work simultaneously on a single project. Each person can edit his or her copy of the files and then choose when to share those changes with the rest of the team. And the great thing is any temporary or partial edits by one designer do not interfere with another designer’s work.

The second capability is the integration of work. Not only does a version control system enable multiple people to work on a single project, but it also can integrate that work done simultaneously by different team members and most cases. It’s two different files, or sometimes even the same file can be combined without losing any work. There of course, are cases where two people make conflicts and edits to the same file, which has to be resolved, as we’ll see in a bit.

The third main capability is history and backup. The third is the main one. It’s a version control that gives you access to historical versions of your project. This is essentially insurance against all the wrong things that can go wrong with the computer, such as crashes or data losses. For any part of a file, you can always determine when, why, and by whom it was ever edited. So, adopting an automated version control system for your design projects can yield many benefits.  

What it is, its benefits, the importance of using version control properly, and some best practices. Briefly, version control allows you to manage changes over time. It is most commonly used to track revisions of your project’s assets. Be it to source code, documents, schematic libraries, or PCB. You make a mistake. No problem, revert to your previous revision.  

What Is The Main Idea Behind Version Control, And How Can It Make Your Life Easier? 

Let’s have the following scenario. You are working as a web developer. You are building a web application. Let’s say that you are building a web portal for your company, and you’re working with HTML files, JavaScript files, style sheets, and so on. Now working without a version control system. Will post the following problems. 

  • Enhance Your Management Capabilities: 

Let’s say that you are working on the interface of the portal, and while we’ve been working on this interface for supposedly 10 or 15 hours, you realize that it’s not looking the way it should look. It can be further enhanced. Some additions need to be added, some code needs to be modified, some visuals need to be moved, and so on. So you want to go back a few steps in order to make the required changes. One of the options that you can use to do that is just to press the popular “Control + Z” buttons combination, which is, of course, short for Undo; you will have to keep doing this until you reach the point where the file that you are working with the code file is at the state in which you can do the required changes. OK, so that is a possible workaround.

However, notice that all Ides and all text editors and code editors have a limit in the amount of undo’s that you can do. So what if the version of your code that you want to revert back to? Is way behind the limit of your program. And a more important question, how can you know which version of your code is the one that you desire? Are you going to just press control Z and then have a look at the whole file to determine whether or not the code is in the state that you want? Of course not. So let’s say that you manage to have a workaround for the undo program and you have some sort of mechanism to revert back to whatever changes have been made to your code file.  

  • Make Comparison Easier:  

What if you want to compare those interfaces? What if you made some changes to the interface, and now you want to have a way to compare the old interface with the new one that you have just written? One possible workaround for this problem is to have several versions of your files, for example, header dot HTML dot blue, background, header dot HTML dot yesterday, header dot HTML dot, whatever. You are creating several copies of your file. Just to differentiate them from each other, just to give yourself or your fellow colleagues an idea about how creating a website can be complex.  

  • Make Communication & Researching Easier:  

What if you want to share this code with your colleagues? Most or maybe all large web application projects are managed by several persons. Five terminal teams are working on the same project at the same time. All those teams or those persons need to be on the same page. They need to work on the same code file version in order for the application to be properly configured.

So how can you share the code that you have written with other fellow colleagues of your team? Let’s say, for example, that you are working on the header section of the portal. Your colleague is working on the navigation bar and the content area. A third person may be working on the footer area. A fourth person may be working on the JavaScript and style sheets that will make this page look and feel right. All of you must be working on the same version of the code. 

If you are going to make changes, for example, to the header section of this page, your colleagues must be notified of this change to act accordingly and change their code to fit the changes that you have made. So how can you do this? How can you share divergence? What are the different versions of your code files with your colleagues? Are you going to send them each and every change that you made in an e-mail, for example, with the file name that has a descriptive name? Of course, this is not the most elegant workaround, and again, it is error-prone, and it will cause a lot of trouble and a lot of time and effort wasted.

The first problem you can face working without a version control system in place is accountability. What if, for some reason, the application broke? You are refreshing the page after you and your colleagues have made several changes to the application code, and then you realize the application is broken. The interface is not the way it should look; the navigation bar is not showing correctly, the visuals are misplaced, and so on. You should know how applications can break sometimes.  

Now we have the important question: what change broke the application? And the even more important one is who did that change to inform us. Why he or she did that and how it can be brought back to the way it was. You can, of course, look at the last modification date of the files of the application and who did which change, but that’s only going to give you the last change that has been made to the application code. It won’t give you a history of who did what and when. So to address those problems and other many problems that can arise if you are not using a version control system, you must use this system in order to keep several versions of your code in one place. 

Types & Advantages Of Using This System: 

About the advantages of using a version control system, let’s now have a look at the different types of version control systems in the market. We have three types of project control systems: local, decentralized, and centralized. 

1. Local Central Control System: 

The local version control system is among the oldest systems that try to do version control in this model. The repository is stored locally on the developer‘s machine or on the client’s machine. There is no central repository. You have your own repository on your own local machine. Of course, the drawbacks of this approach are obvious. You cannot share the code with other developers or with other clients unless you physically transfer or copy this repository to their own machines. This is a very old model, and one of the systems that use this model is called the Revision Control System it was released in 1980.  

2. Centralized Version Control System: 

 more than three decades ago, the other more recent and currently used model is called a centralized version Control system. In this system, you have a central repository that tells all the code, all the history, all the changes stored in it. If you want to commit a change, you will have to connect to that central repository over the network or over the Internet according to the way it was configured, and you commit those changes to the server.

The drawback of this approach is that you have to be connected to that central repository whenever you want to commit the change. If you are working offline, if you do not have a network connection for some reason, you cannot commit the changes to that central server. You don’t have to keep those changes local on your system. And, of course, that is when it’s working without an emerging control system at all. Examples of this system are concurrent version systems or CVS, Subversion, SVM, and IBM Rational.  

3. Decentralized Version Control System: 

The last model in our list is called the decentralized version control system. In this system, you still have a central repository for storing the code and the history of the changes that have been made by whoever uses the repository. But every client can have a copy or a clone of their support local on his or her machine.

So, if you want to make a change or a comment to the repository, you don’t have to be connected to the central repository over the network. You can just commit this change locally and then you can sync your local repository with the central one whenever you want. That can be done at a later stage.

Examples of this system are Mercurial, Git, and Visual Studio Team Services. So now that we have an idea about virtual control systems and the different types of them, let’s have a closer look at Git.

Git is one of the most famous open-source version control systems. It was created by Linus Tools in 2005, and he created that system in order to manage version tracking of the kernel project. If you don’t know already, why not? Troubles is the creator of the Linux kernel. He created the git system specifically for working with this huge project. The Linux kernel and, of course, thousands of developers worldwide were working with him on this project. They used it as a version control system to track their files. And if you are wondering what Git stands for, it stands for nothing. Linus Torvalds named it, and it is not an acronym or an abbreviation for anything; it’s just the way he named the application. Several online services can be used as central Git repositories. The most well-known are Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab, among others.  

Benefits Of Using A Version Control System: 

It offers a safe workflow. For example, it helps narrow down to a problematic version if you do root cause analysis. It allows, of course, to manage more simple versions and enables teamwork. Moreover, it protects your work, as we mentioned earlier, from crashes or anything that might go wrong with your computer. And offers an audit trail. You can always go back and see who did when and what. And you have a project history, as we mentioned earlier, so you can understand the history of your projects. If you need to find out what change was made, you can always return to it. And you always, of course, have a backup to go back to or roll back to. 

What Does A Version Control System Do For You? (Remedies) 

 So, what does a version control system do for you? How it can be used to address those problems? The VCS will simply store all your code in something called a central repository. The central repository contains all the code files of your project and all the changes made to those files. All the changes are made to the directories or files, whether you change something in a file. Add a new file. In a new file, all those changes are tracked in the repository, and once they are tracked, they can easily be reverted.

You can easily compare two or more versions of the same file. You can easily go back and forth between different versions of the file without having to press control Z, without having to keep several versions of your file. Several copies of your files with different file names, and you can also share those files instantly with as many colleagues as you want So the version control system will keep track of all the changes that have been done to your project files, and also it’s going to keep track of who did what when.

Any comments made to a version control system must be accompanied by at least the username and the e-mail of the user who made the change. This will solve your accountability problem and will give you a clear. Your idea about who did what and when. So, if the application was written for some reason, you can easily go back through all the changes that have been made in the past. And see who did which change and when, and easily revert that change to bring the application back to the working state.

So now you have a clear. Right, Yeah. About how version control systems can solve the problems that we have just mentioned. Those systems also offer you a feature that does not solve or that does not address the problems that we have mentioned. But it will give you a very powerful enhancement that is going to be extremely useful in your workflow.  

Understanding The Version Control System’S Working: 

All these benefits, though, can be realized only if you’re using the true version control system. However, if using some sort of fight folder structure, you will face many issues because simply you cannot manually manage complex data, such as design projects with a simple system such as folder structure. Some of the obvious issues that you’re going to face if you go this route are lack of oversight and relying on manual revision control with different folders. Make a copy of your project and use the save as command, and then maybe read me file and then update the file name, then maybe add it to the commit folder.

For all these steps, there are, of course, limited security options, no audit trail, and concurrent work is simply impossible. So, how does BCS work? Version control uses a repository, a database of changes, and a working copy where you do your work. Your working copy is sometimes called. The checkout is your copy of all the files in the project. You make arbitrary edits to the copy without affecting your teammates, and when you’re happy with the edits, you commit the changes to the repository.

So, a repository is a database of all the edits of your projects as well as historical versions. When you get an out-of-state notification, you can just update your working copy to incorporate any new edits or versions that have been added to the repository since the last time you updated. So, what type of VCs exists? There are typically two types. The version of version control systems is centralized and distributed. Distributed version control is more modern and runs faster.  

This is prone to errors and has more mature, more features, but also somewhat more complex to understand. You must decide whether the extra complexity is worthwhile for you and your team. The main difference between centralized and distributed versions is the number of repositories. As we see here, this is an example of a distributed, and this is the example which we’ll cover more today is the centralized. It has one repository in terms of centralized and multiple repositories for distribution.

With the centralized version, each user gets his or her own working copy, but they all commit an update to the same repository. So, for changes to be seen by your colleagues, for example, you always have to commit, and they’ll have to update. This is the traditional version of control systems and the distributed version of control. Each user gets their own repository as well as their own copy that they can. They have to commit and they have to push, and then you have to pull and then update.

So again, you have to decide whether this complex scheme makes sense and is worthwhile for you and your team. Conflicts. Given that version control allows multiple users to work and edit the same project simultaneously, this can sometimes lead to a situation where a checked local copy is being edited. In contrast, the same copy has been edited and committed by another designer. 

So, depending on which system you’re using, you’d usually or at least should have a few options to resolve this. You can either. Commit, which might trigger a Subversion error since committing the locally edited version or revision would override the already committed new one by the other designer. You can, or you can update, which will update your local file to the latest version from the repository.

However, you’d lose the local changes that you have made. Or you can choose the resolution, and this is probably the safer route as it will update the files in your working folder to the latest revision. But should let your editor retain the changes you have made. Then gives you the option to commit those changes to a new revision. Or you can simply revert, which will bring you back to the base checked-out copy and make your local copies out of date that you need to update.   

Understanding The Assortment Of Bugs!  

Suppose, While working with your web application, you suddenly discovered a bug. Let’s say, for example, that the application works normally in Firefox and Chrome browsers, but it doesn’t in Microsoft Internet Explorer, which used to be a very famous problem among web developers. So you decide that you want to have a fix for this bug, and you start working on the code to try to fix that bug. Other colleagues on your team also have some solutions in their minds, and they want to work on the code to try to fix this box. So, you and your colleagues want to work on the same code file. Each of you has a solution for the bug that has just appeared in the application. All of you want to work on the same code files without messing with the application.  

The application should be up and running until the bug is solved, and each one of you should have a working copy of the application and work it on his or her own. One workaround for this is to create a clone of the repository. Just create a copy of the repository and start working on it, and once you’re done, once you’ve sorted the bug, you can. A branch, as the name suggests, it’s just a version of code that is separate or that is independent of the master or the main branch.

Each and every developer can have a new branch, and this branch can even have more and more nested branches, and he or she can work on their branch. Try the solution for the bug, test it, try it out, and then if the bug is solved and if all the members of the team will work, whoever is responsible for managing the repository sees that this is A valid solution and if The branch can be merged back to the master branch or to the main branch so that the application can be updated with the solution of the button.  

With branches, you can have several copies of the repository without having to clone the repository and put it somewhere else. The same repository can have several branches. Each branch can add a feature, solo bug, or enhancement, and then this branch can be merged back with the master branch when the code is ready. 

Some Common Practices: 

In general, it’s better to avoid conflict than resolve it later, and some best practices, as we’ll see in a bit, would help avoid conflicts. So, here are some best practices before you commit. Always review either a self-review or peer review. We cannot stress the importance of doing peer reviews or self-reviews before committing to your changes. Make small and frequent. Commits. Small commits are easier to understand and integrate. The longer you wait to integrate your work with the team, the more difficult version will become. Good. Communication is always key. Your commit messages are a form of communication. You’re sending messages to your teammate or even to yourself in the future.

This is very useful when someone is examining the change because it indicates the purpose of the change and collaborates and collaborates. Version control systems can often merge changes, as we mentioned earlier, from different people that are made simultaneously. However, when two people do the same design, then there is a conflict that a person must manually resolve, as we mentioned earlier. To avoid this tedious, error-prone work, you should strive to avoid complexity. If you plan to make significant changes to a file that others might be added in coordinates with them so that one of you can finish the work, have it committed before the other designer gets started?

This is a very important concept to have and is rather not specific to the developers’ world as much as it is specific to anybody who does software development or anybody who uses code files of any kind, doesn’t matter if you are a web developer, designer, a programmer or even a writer. Anyone who uses text files should use version control. 


Once a version control system is adopted for use, many benefits follow into practice. This system enables its users to maintain and manage the project at hand; in addition, it also allows colleagues to communicate effectively regarding the problems and issues that arise and how to solve them. There are many principles you need to understand before you go on to implement this system, and all of them have been stated above. We hope you got the information you were looking for, and we wish you the best of luck.


Q. What Is The Difference Between Version Control And Versioning? 

Versioning is the idea of a naming or numbering scheme, and it allows its users to keep track of all the changes made to the project at hand. The version control system keeps all of the different versions separate from each other while enabling their users to access all of them depending on their choice.

Q. Why Is Versioning Important?

Versioning allows teams to keep track of any changes made to the project code. this opens the door to countless benefits you couldn’t take advantage of without versioning.

Q. Who Created The Version Control System?

in 1972, Bell Labs created SCCS (source code control system). this software was written in C language and was developed by Marc Rochkind. it shares many characteristics with modern VCSs and is capable of creating, editing, and tracking changes to files.

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