Best Version Control Software To Use In 2022

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Best Version Control

There are certain systems that can be used to keep track of changes to software development projects and also allow the members of the team to change and work on the same project files. These systems are known as version control systems, sometimes often referred to as source control or revision control systems.

Version control systems also allow developers to manage changes to software code and isolate their own work through branches. These are designed to protect one developer’s code changes from code changes made in other branches.

However, these branches can be merged when all the developers are in unison. Version control systems are essential in an environment where various members of the team collaboratively and distributively work on the source code.

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Developers can automatically track their work, keep a tab on all changes, and go back to previous versions of a project when required with a VCS. All of the code changes and branches are stored in a repository. Therefore, this enables developers to reverse the changes with minimum disruption if there is a mistake or error.

A version control hosting solution is required when choosing a version control system in order to host the master repository where the team of developers carries out the changes in the software code.

For managing the functionality of the version control system, developers employ version control clients through a graphical user interface (GUI). Several software development tools are integrated with version control systems, such as build automation software, PaaS, and IDE providers.

If you are a software developer and looking for the best version control system, then you must read on further because we will be sharing the 10 best version control systems out there. But, first, let’s see what are the qualities of the best version control system:

  • It must allow the developers to track the code changes.
  • Let the users view a history of changes.
  • Enable multiple users to work on the same code files simultaneously without any interference.
  • Allow the main developer to merge the various code changes from different branches.
  • Let the developers see the conflicts after code mergers so that they can resolve them.
  • Enable the developers to reverse the changes when a mistake occurs.

10 Best Version Control Systems in 2022

1. Microsoft Team Foundation Server

Microsoft’s version control software allows teams to share the changes in code, track the changes, and ship software, and you can do all of it in many languages. Microsoft Team Foundation Server is an ideal complement to your IDE.

2. AWS CodeCommit

A fully-managed version control system, AWS CodeCommit is designed to enable firms to host extremely secure and scalable private Git repositories. Developers can employ this service to store anything, ranging from source code to binaries under high security, and you do not require anything else apart from your existing Git tools.

3. Git

One of the easiest version controls to learn, Git comes with a small footprint and with extremely fast performance. It easily outshines SCM tools like Perforce, Subversion, ClearCase, and CVS due to the presence of great tools, for example, functional staging areas, economical branching locally, and multiple workflows.

The personal plans of Git range from free to $50, and organizational plans range from free to $200.

4. Subversion

An open-source (free) version control system, Subversion was founded in 2000 by CollabNet, Inc. It has become really popular in the last decade, and it continued to enjoy widespread success in both the open-source industry as well as in the corporate world.

5. Helix Core

Helix Core is a fast, enterprise-class source control system designed for more collaborative development of software for both small and big teams. Helix Core also offers tools, such as Git and Visual Studio.

It comes with great features, such as immensely fast workflows, support for all types of files, and many more. There are numerous organizations and companies around the world that use Helix Core in building and delivering complex digital software of higher quality in less time.

6. Rational ClearCase

IBM’s Rational ClearCase is a software configuration management system that provides its users with version control, parallel development support, build auditing, and workspace management.

7. FogBugz

FogBugz is a source version control system that offers developers all the features they require in making software collaboratively, such as issue tracking, project management, and support, along with good processing to deliver your digital product.

This software lets them see the issue, the project info, along with the updates from the tools you have integrated with their version control. In addition to this, FogBuz helps you in developing great software by providing you with expert advice and guidance.

8. Mercurial

Mercurial is an open-source source control tool that enables developers to efficiently manage and handle digital projects of any size and provides an easy and user-friendly interface.

9. Plastic SCM

Plastic SCM is a version control system that is mainly distributed, but to make things easier for the developer, it can work centralized as well.

This version control tool can make the lives of developers much easier because it is great at branching among the team members and merging all the branches. It can handle projects of any size and provides access to GUIs and tools that lead to even simpler development of digital products.

10. CVS

CVS is one of the top version control systems and SCMs. This system allows the developers to keep track of the history of source files and documents and it offers the same features as free software packages like RCS, Aegis, and PRCS have.

What is the Need for Version Control Systems?

Version control systems are virtually necessary for any software development environment as:

  • They are designed with the aim to significantly cut down development time and encourage efficient team collaboration by allowing simultaneous development collaboration.
  • They are also helpful in saving the time and energy of developers because they are proficient at maintaining histories of code changes, and, hence, protecting successful progress from interruption by other team members.

Who Needs Version Control Software?

Version Control software provides necessary tools to develop digital products to:

  • Software development teams: Software development teams employ version control services so that they are able to effectively produce and manage digital products with the entire team’s collaboration and also without any interruption on the individual-level with its branching and merging features.
    Individual team members can work on their own branched file while the master repository remains intact.
  • Solo developers: While version control systems are perfect for team collaboration of software developers, they have other benefits too. Solo software developers also employ version control systems because of their branching feature, which allows them to make changes to their projects without worrying about breaking their builds.

Types of Version Control systems

There are 3 types of version control systems available:

  1. Local: The version control systems that work on a single system are known as local version control systems, and they are ideal for solo developers. Such systems do not allow for the collaborative development of software.However, they do enable solo developers to have access to version history and make desired changes to codes safely. Although these systems are simple to use, it can be a bit hard to duplicate a repository completely, which also makes them more prone to errors.
  2. Centralized: Centralized version control systems work through a shared server that can be accessed by various users (who are sharing the same server) on their own devices to work on files. The team members make changes to the files, and these changes are shared with all other users on the shared server.This setup is handy for development teams, but it requires good quality internet connectivity so that the distance between the members does not affect their work.
  3. Distributed: Some version control services are peer-to-peer (P2P). Each member of the development team has a copy of the complete repository and is known as distributed version control systems.The changes made by individual team members are committed to the local repositories of all members, which can also be transferred to other repositories present on the network. Such systems can easily take complete backups because every user has a clone of the entire repository.

Characteristics of Version Control Software

Following are some of the best features of version control systems:

  • Code branching: Through version control software, developers are able to perform isolation of segments of code from the full project in a “branch,” which is known as code branching. This feature allows developers to make changes on the branch without affecting the main project until the branches are merged with it.
  • Merge error detection: It is a common occurrence that when various branches are merged, it can very likely lead to unforeseen errors and these errors are famously known as “merge conflicts.”
    They cause conflicts in the new code in the merged branch and the overall project. Version control software proves to be really helpful in such cases as they send alerts to the developers regarding such conflicts, allowing them to resolve these issues.
  • Progress tracking: This feature lets developers easily keep track of the progress of their projects. The team can easily view what other members are doing on their own branches, which helps in maintaining a comprehensive understanding of the overall project and ensures transparency.
    This kind of transparency helps in minimizing post-merging errors.
  • Project backups: VCSs allow users to have an updated version history of the changes in the project all the time, which acts as a backup and, in turn, minimizes bugs and errors in the project.
    Sometimes, mistakes are made, and in those times, users can easily revert to previous versions using this feature, thus preserving the project’s overall progress.

Additional Tips

There are certain best practices for using version control systems that every software developer should be aware of. We will discuss them here. These practices are easy to implement and do not involve obscure methods.

1. A descriptive commit message

It can prove to be really helpful in the future if you ensure that whenever you make a change, you describe why you made that change. This will help anyone who is examining the changes. If anyone is trying to find the changes related to a given concept, they can easily use the search feature in the commit messages, and they can quickly find what they were looking for.

2. Each of your commits should be a logical unit

As a developer, you should make sure that each of your commits should have completely fulfilled a single purpose. Due to this, it becomes easy for someone who is locating the changes related to some particular concept or bug fix to view them all together in a single place and manage them.

If one commit has code that fulfills multiple purposes, then it compromises the history feature of the version control system.

3. Try not to run indiscriminate commits

It is recommended not to run any commit without supplying file names because these commands commit all the changed files. When you do not supply file names, you create a single commit that serves multiple purposes.

Therefore, in order to avoid mistakenly running more commits than originally desired, you should run the commands given below:

For Git:

# Lists all modified files
git status
# Shows specific differences, helps me compose a commit message
git diff
# Commits just the files I want to 
git commit file1 file2 -m "Descriptive commit message"

For Mercurial:

# Lists all the modified files
hg status
# Shows specific differences, helps me compose a commit message
hg diff
# Commits just the files I want to
hg commit file1 file2 -m "Descriptive commit message"

Conclusion

Whether you are a solo developer or part of a team of software developers, you may find it hard to choose one among so many great version control systems. This guide has provided you with 10 of the best version control systems out there, along with their specific features.

However, in order to help you choose, if we had to choose one that is the best among all the systems mentioned here, we would tell you to go for AWS CodeCommit. It is powered by Amazon Web Services and boasts all the VCS features you will require to successfully develop software. You can sign up for its free trial to see if it suits you and your project.

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