Version Control Definition & Meaning

Version control is a tool that tracks all updates and changes to a program, system, or database. Version control software allows teams to keep records of each version of the program, application, or website code. It can also record changes made to multimedia files. A few of the main benefits of version control software include:

Tracking each version of applications and updating the code where necessary

  • Alerting developers to issues within the code as they arise and as multiple people develop software in different places
  • Allowing developers to return to a previous version of the code or file if they make an error
  • Maintaining records of users, edits, and time stamps

Version control benefits

Version control software saves teams time they might otherwise have to spend in long email chains coordinating changes to code. Some features are automated, eliminating some manual management and oversight. Version control quickly updates versions of applications and programs so that everything is connected and available in real time for all the developers. Version control helps teams work together more efficiently. It’s also beneficial for development and operations teams that are remote, even spread across different continents. Faster updates and better collaboration mean that even distant teams can successfully develop programs.

Version control software gives developers greater visibility in their programs and applications, showing them which team members made an edit and being able to restore a previous version if needed. Developers can see the entire revision history of a file. Version control software also shows teams where members made conflicting updates and allows them to compare versions and decide which one works better.

Branching

One crucial feature of version control software is branching: branching allows developers to create a new feature in the code they want to experiment with before implementing it within the live program. Branching provides an opportunity for developers to design a trial run for their program or application and then merge it with the live system once it is sufficient. Branching and merging are especially useful for website development.






Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a contributor for websites such as Webopedia.com and Enterprise Storage Forum. She writes about information technology security, networking, and data storage. Jenna lives in Nashville, TN.

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