If you’ve heard the term version control it’s a very cool technology and it’s super useful especially if you’re a software engineer or if you want to get into software development or if you simply work with files whether you work with spreadsheet files, Photoshop images, word documents whatever it is version control is a super useful thing.
What is version control?
Version control software is a special or unique kind of software that can monitor all the previously saved files. It records every change that you make to a file or set of files so that you can make any changes you want like adding a new feature or removing an old feature. Version control is also called “Source code Management” which also allows many developers, designers, and team members to work with each other on the same project.
Why do you need to use version control?
Let’s say you’re writing a code or you’re just writing a word document so let’s suppose you have got a lot of lines and then suddenly you realize that you want to add and remove some new lines. You save the file and later on you decide that you maybe want to rewrite that line. But the problem is every time you make a change and you save the file you lose the previous changes so this is not a good thing maybe you’re working on a code and had a working thing happening and now you try to add a feature and it’s not actually working out to be a good idea and now you lost the previous code.
So if you’re going on a co-traditional basis then every time you make a change you need to make a copy of your source code. So that soon enough becomes a massive problem with a lot of files and every time you save the file as a different name you need to stamp it with time and that becomes a massive mess. So that’s why you need to use version control software. Because version control is a special type of software that can monitor those files. The best thing about the version control software is it can keep track of changes so it makes life very easy.
Things you should look into while choosing a version control software –
- Mutual development – Nowadays projects are getting complicated and you need something to manage multiple versions of code and files.
- Team collaboration – Companies work where talent is found. So you have to give global access to your team members. Everybody knows teamwork is a dream so yeah this is another thing you should look into while choosing a version control software.
- Automation – Nowadays superior quality and increased productivity are the main precedences for any development team. So automation makes this possible e.g. deployment and testing so make sure you look into automation while choosing version control software.
- Tracking is important – Everyone needs basic visibility into changes so that development teams also. So that’s why tracking who, what, when, and why changes are done is really important. So make sure your software can capture all this detailed information and maintains history forever. This helps every one to get access to who is working on what and what changes are done.
Git is one of the powerful version control software available in the current market. Which is open source and completely free.
- It provides really strong support for non-development.
- The best thing about this is compatible with current systems and protocols like HTTP, FTP.
- It can smoothly handle small to large-sized projects.
- It has a toolkit based design.
- It is really fast.
- It is completely free.
- It gives a clean and efficient performance.
- It supports tracking so any code changes can be tracked very easily.
- It is very easy to maintain.
- It offers an amazing command-line utility which is known as git bash.
- It offers GIT-GUI by which you can re-scan, state change, sign-off quickly.
- It has a very complicated and bigger history log which makes this difficult to understand.
- It doesn’t support keyword expansion.
- It doesn’t support timestamp preservation.
A monotone is an open-source tool written in C++ for distributed revision control. It supports multiple OS which includes- Linux, Mac, OS X, Windows, and Unix.
- It gives really good support for internationalization and localization.
- It can import CVS projects.
- It uses a robust custom protocol called very efficient net sync.
- It is meant for distributed operations.
- It mainly focuses on integrity over performance.
- It requires very low maintenance.
- It is very easy to learn.
- It is completely free to use.
- It has a portable design.
- Very Stable GUI.
- It works great with branching and merging.
- Really good documentation.
- It sometimes has a performance issue for some operations, initial pull was one of the most visible one.
- The biggest demerit of this it won’t have the ability to commit or check out behind the proxy (this is because of a non – HTTP protocol).
TFS stands for team foundation server. It is a version control tool that comes straight from Microsoft itself. And it is based on a client-server, distributed repository model and has a proprietary license. And the best thing about this is it gives Windows, cross-platform OS support via Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS).
- It gives lifecycle support to the entire application which includes source code management, automated builds, testing, release management, and requirement management.
- It entitles DevOps abilities.
- The best thing about this you can use this as a backend for many IDEs (Integrated development environment).
- It is available in two different forms (on-premises and online (which is known as VSTS)).
- It has great support for branching and merging operations.
- It allows your continuous integration.
- You can use this as a back-end for many IDEs.
- It has familiar interfaces with tight integration plus Microsoft operations.
- Very easy administration.
- It has custom check-in policies to support implementing a steady & constant codebase in your source control.
- It has repeatedly merge conflicts.
- It is quite slow in terms of performance a pull, check-in, and branching operations.
- It is not open-source.
It is the most used and well-known version control tool for so many years. It is very popular also. It is open-source which is completely free.
- With the help of CVS, multiple developers can work on the same project simultaneously.
- It is a Client-server repository model.
- It can keep a historical snapshot of the project.
- It can uphold different types of branches of a project.
- It is really good for security purposes because it excludes symbolic links.
- It has nameless read access.
- It keeps local copies up to date by updating the command.
- It has really good support of cross-platform.
- It allows you a good web browsing of the source code repository.
- It is a very old tool that’s why it is trustable.
- It is easy to understand.
- Really good community support from the vast CVS.
- It suits the collaborative nature of the open-source world magnificently.
- It doesn’t support atomic check-outs and commits.
- The support for distributed source control is really poor.
- It lacks signed revisions and merges tracking support.
- No probity checking for source code repository.
It is another great tool for version control. SYN is an open-source software which is completely free of cost.
- It supports atomic commits.
- It has some great features like merge tacking, full MIME support, path-based authorization, file locking standalone server operation.
- The directories are versioned.
- It has benefited because it has really good GUI (Graphical user interface) tools such as Tortoise SVN.
- It supports empty directories.
- It has really good windows support as compared to Git.
- It is very easy to set up and administer.
- It coordinates well with Windows leading IDEs (Integrated development environment) and agile tools.
- It is completely free of cost and open source
- It doesn’t store the modification time of files.
- The main problem with this tool is that it doesn’t deal that well with filename normalization.
- It doesn’t support signed revisions.
It is a distributed revision control tool that is written in python meant for software developers. It supports many operating systems such as – Unix-like, Windows, and macOS.
- Very high performance.
- It has some really good and advanced branching and merging abilities.
- It can handle both plain text and binary files efficiently.
- It has really good development which is fully distributed and collaborative.
- Fast and powerful.
- It is very easy to learn.
- It is very lightweight and portable also.
- It is quite a simple concept-wise.
- The major problem with this is you need to write all the add-ons in Python only.
- It doesn’t allow partial checkout.
- It is completely free of cost.
- It may create some problems for you when using additional extensions.
It is based on a distributed and client-server repository model. The bazaar is a version control that gives cross-platform OS support and which is written in Python 2, Pyrex, and C.
- It provides free hosting service via websites Launchpad and Sourceforge. Which is a good thing.
- It can support file names from the entire Unicode set.
- It allows you to be working with or without a central server.
- Many of this tool command is very similar to SVN or CVS.
- The plugin system of this is very easy to use.
- It gives you High storage efficiency and speed.
- It is completely free of cost.
- The support of Directories tracking is good at Bazaar.
- It doesn’t give you the timestamp.
- It doesn’t have the support of partial checkout/clone.
VSTS stands for Visual Studio Team Services. It is a distributed, client-server, repository model that is based on a version control tool provided by Microsoft. It gives cross-platform support and follows Merge.
- Through the building hosting in Microsoft Azure, it offers elastic build abilities.
- It has a File and Tree scope of change.
- It supports the changeset storage method.
- It is written in C# & C++.
- The best thing about this is it supports almost all the major programming languages.
- You don’t need to install its upgrades manually.
- In the cloud of VSTS, there is almost all the feature available that are available in TFS.
- It has Git access.
- It is not that good for large teams because the work section in this tool is not that good.
- It is not free.
Perforce Helix Core
It is developed by Perforce Software Inc. It is a client-server and distributed revision control tool. It supports various platforms like Unix-like, Windows, OS X platforms. People use this tool mainly for large-scale development environments.
- It supports all file types and sizes.
- It has really good file-level asset management.
- It maintains a central database and a master archive.
- It is very fast.
- It makes it very easy to track the change list.
- It works well with the visual studio via a plugin.
- This makes it very easy to identify code changes.
- Handling multiple workspaces is hard in this tool.
- It is not completely free. It is only free for up to 5 users and 20 workspaces.
IBM Rational Clear-Case
IBM Rational Clear-case is a client-server model-based software configuration management tool. It supports almost every Operating Systems such as – Windows, Linux, HP-UX, Solaris, etc.
- It supports two models that are UCM and base Clear case.
- UCM means Unified Change Management which offers an out-of-the-box model.
- The UI is quite simple.
- It can handle parallel development.
- It lacks an advanced API.
- It is not free.
It was developed by Thien-Thi Nguyen and it works on the local repository model. It supports Unix-like platforms. It was released in 1982.
- It was originally made for programs, but later on, people started using it text document.
- It stores revisions in a tree structure.
- It is very easy to work with.
- The architecture of this is quite simple.
- It is not good for security purposes, because the version history is editable.
- The biggest demerit is that At a time only one user can work on the same file.
VSS comes from Microsoft. It is only compatible with Windows OS only. It was made especially for small software development projects.
- It creates a virtual library of computer files.
- It is capable of handling any file type in its database.
- The user interface of this is very easy to use.
- The backup process in this is quite simple.
- It doesn’t have many important features of a multi-user environment.
- The biggest demerit of this is Database corruption.
This revision control tool is provided by CA technologies. It supports almost every platform like Microsoft, Windows, Linux, Mac OS X.
- It has a pre-defined lifecycle from Test to Production stages.
- Supports full customizable project environments.
- It is very stable.
- Application flow from dev to prod environments can be tracked very well.
- It is not that user friendly.
- The merging feature is not that good.
PVCS stands for Polytron Version Control system. Which is developed by Serena Software. It is a client-server modern based version control tool. It supports platforms like Windows, Unix.
- It supports a multi-user environment.
- It follows a locking approach to concurrency control.
- The learning curve of this tool is very simple.
- It is very easy to use.
- The GUI of this tool is not that good.
It was developed by the Darcs team which is a distributed version control tool that follows the concurrency model. It is written in Haskell and it supports Unix, Linux, BSD, Microsoft Windows.
- It can select which changes to accept.
- It works on linearly ordered patches.
- The command of this is very interactive.
- It is completely free of cost.
- It has some performance issues.
- The installation process is quite long.
In this article, we discussed 15 best version control tools out there. Every tool has its own merits and demerits you should choose what is best for you. Just remember one thing they are just tools which make your life easy but they don’t do all the works the main tool is your mind.