All work — physical or digital — requires a specialized toolset to master the task at hand. One of the most helpful tools for program developers is source control management software. Now that the end of the year is approaching, projects will be coming to a close. However, many programmers forsake the implementation of source control management because they don’t understand the benefits of establishing standout coding practices and habits.
Whether the work is an individual project or a large team effort, source control helps track, manage, protect, and improve code in order to meet those end-of-year deadlines. Read further as we define it, highlight the challenges and emphasize the importance of Source Control.
What Is Source Control?
In essence, source control is the process of storing and tracking changes and edits to a coding project from start to finish. To accomplish this, programmers often use source management systems, services designed to help coders save a detailed log of backups for each iteration of code. They also allow multiple DevOps team members to work and edit within a single version and make changes without getting in the way of others’ progress.
Selecting a source control management system isn’t easy. An abundance of tools are available, making it crucial for developers to research which ones best fit their needs.
Source Control Challenges
Remember: The absence of source control is an approach to source control. It’s also the worst approach. Failing to conduct source control methodically with the proper tools can be disastrous.
For example, trying to conduct a project without a systematized backup of previous versions makes it incredibly difficult to backtrack and identify errors. Additionally, without a proper source code management system, different coders won’t be able to work simultaneously within the codebase. This lack of collaboration increases the chances of miscommunication, errors, and frustration throughout each project.
Although getting an entire team initiated with a new process and management system is often labor-intensive, it’s worth the commitment. Finding the right source control management system for a team’s work style is vital to long-term success.
Reasons to Implement Source Control
From a birds-eye view, implementing a source control strategy is vital to a functioning and productive coding organization. Not only does it increase productivity, but it also increases safety and fosters collaboration.
Increase Code Security
All DevOps teams know that the source code requires as much protection as possible. Therefore, instituting proper source control is crucial because it boosts security measures.
All data is stored in a repository through the source control management system. The repository, which can be either a public or a private server, keeps each version in a safe and centralized cloud-based system.
Additionally, many systems also come with encryption protocols and application hardening.
Track Changes and Defects
With source code construction, keeping an eye on every change is absolutely necessary for a project’s success. Management tools provide developers with dynamic ways to track and monitor all tweaks and edits.
Many source control management solutions automatically alert users to a code’s detected vulnerabilities and defects. Because of this, coding teams prefer these systems — such as PreEmptive’s source control solution — because they analyze and identify issues throughout each version.
Foster Collaborative Code Building
Especially in team environments, synchronizing all collaborators within one version is an immense step to success. Source code management allows developers to work within one codebase and merge all of their changes in one central repository instead of pulling together multiple versions.
Working on the shared code allows the whole team to review, edit, and leave comments in the same place. The improved collaboration accelerates the code-building process and keeps everyone in the loop on the team’s progress.
Store Backup Code
Source control management is also sometimes referred to as “version control.” This alternative title highlights the ability for programmers to go back and look at previous versions.
This ability to store every version and go back in time is critical to productivity, as it can save hours, days, and even weeks of work when someone is trying to track down errors.
Best Practices for Source Control Management
When a company is figuring out which source control management system best serves its needs, there are a handful of habits it can get the team into early to ensure a more successful transition.
Find a System That Suits the Project’s Needs
Not all source control systems offer the same features. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to put in extra effort up front and nitpick over which solution best fits the necessities of the project.
It’s important to investigate the competing security features, different access controls, and storage methods.
Knowing the fine details up front helps avoid stress later on. Check out PreEmptive’s source control solutions to see whether the wide range of features can meet all of the project’s source management needs.
Maintain the Latest Version
Every code revision ensures the new code is pulled and stored within the system. Keeping versions of each code iteration may seem tedious, but tracking even the slightest changes can be extremely helpful.
It’s recommended to save commits as often as possible, as storing many versions eliminates the need to second-guess the timing of changes and edits.
Keep a Detailed Note Log
When saving and creating new versions of code, it’s wise to note every change — large or small. There’s nothing too insignificant to be tallied; promoting an organized source control process saves teams time when issues arise.
Review All Changes
Every time a new code version is committed, the team should run a detailed review of all changes. Doing so reduces the likelihood of building on faulty code.
If the source control management system offers automatic error detection, the team should address any issues that arise immediately. Quick action saves incorrect code from slipping through the cracks.
Implement Source Control as Soon as Possible
There’s little reason any programming team should be without a sound system for managing its coding projects. As is evident, implementing the best source control management service brings immense benefits to the team’s productivity and the safety of the source code.
Happy Coding everybody!