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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


Version Control is good for the Standalone Developer too

A source control tool is not not only useful for a team of developers but also to a standalone developer. Tracking and rolling back source code becomes easy.

There is a general sequence of events that happens when you use most version control systems.

  • First of all, a database must be set up somewhere. This may be on a local file system or on a TCP file server or somewhere else. Generally, all you need to know is where it is. This is the Connect operation.
  • Now that you have a database, you need to be able to add files to it. This includes all the files you have now and any new files you may wish to add. This is the Add operation.
  • Once you have files in the database, you need to be able to modify them. Some systems require you to tell the database you are working on them, but some (like CVS) allow you to just modify the files at will and submit all the changes when you are done. This is the Checkout operation.
  • If you change your mind, you may want to revert to the last state of the file. This is the Undo Checkout command.
  • Once you have made your changes and tested them, you need to put them back in the database for safekeeping and so that others can see them. Generally, this involves giving the database not only where the new version is, but also a description of what you did. This is the Checkin operation.
  • After all the changes have been made and the software is ready, it is common practice to label all the file versions that go into the shipping version so that they can be referred to later. This is the Label operation.
  • At some point, you may wish to go back and look at older versions of a file or groups of files, or you may simply wish to get the latest versions of all the files in the project after a coworker has made some changes. This is the purpose of the Get operation.
  • After a while, a file may become obsolete or need renaming. These are the Rename and Delete operations.
  • Version control systems can generate various useful reports about files. These are the Difference, History, Properties and Status operations.
  • Recursive Checkin, means that all checked out files found recursively in the project source are checked in together.
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