Software Release Glossary
Most commonly used terms and acronyms by product managers, engineers and devops, regarding deployment strategies
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Version Control

Version control, also known as source control, is the process of monitoring and managing changes to software code. Thus, version control systems help teams manage changes to code, enabling them to work faster and more efficiently.

Source code is basically the original version of a software while version control helps safeguard this code from any damage so that developers can experiment with different versions of a software with minimal risk or from creating code conflicts.

When teams develop software, it is likely that multiple versions of this software are deployed and that developers work simultaneously on changes and updates. In other words, as development becomes more complex, there’s an increasing need to manage all these multiple versions.

This is where version control comes in. It allows you to keep track of changes and helps improve visibility over the development process.

By using a version control system, developers working concurrently can work on code and separate their work using branches. These branches keep any code changes in one of these branches, so developers can work on specific changes in isolation from the source code. Then, these code changes can be merged after verifying the changes on each branch do not conflict.

Benefits

One of the major benefits of version control is that it allows developers to track every individual change and any troublesome changes can be quickly and easily discovered and then resolved. Thus, you can trace every change that is made within the code.

Version control gives you a single source of truth across your teams and code. With the right version control system in place, you would have a replica of your repository, your single source of truth, so if something goes wrong, you can easily switch back to it.

This means that if developers are working on changes simultaneously which might lead to incompatible changes, version control would identify any issues so that developers can revert back to the previous version or simply identify the source of the issue to resolve it by going through the revision history.

Therefore, a version control system helps reduce conflicts when merging multiple contributions from different sources, providing a centralized source for your code (source code).

It makes it easy to track bugs and fix them as developers will be able to retrieve different versions of the software to determine in which version the issue is occurring. 

Considering these advantages, version control is an essential best practice to incorporate into a DevOps culture, allowing developers to move faster and meet consumer demand.

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Furthermore, it enhances productivity by encouraging collaboration and communication among team members while facilitating a continuous way to develop software.

Version control systems (VCS)

There are several VCS options you can choose from. Depending on your team’s needs, the VCS can be localized (stored within a local system), centralized or distributed.

The difference between centralized(CVCS) and distributed version control systems (DVCS) is that in a distributed system, instead of a single central copy where developers commit their changes, each developer has their own server and has their own copy of the code without the need to rely on a central server.

CVCS are usually suited for beginners as it’s easier to learn and set-up while DVCS allows you to work offline since all changes are made in your own server. Working in branches is also easier with DVCS as each developer has an entire history of the code in DVCS so they can share their changes before merging to the remote server.

The most popular VCS in use today is called Git, which comes under the distributed VCS category. Git is a free, open source distributed system that can be used for projects of any size.

Other systems include Mercurial, a free and distributed control management service that can handle projects of all sizes, and Apache Subversion (SVN), an open source, centralized VCS.

Conclusion

If you are working on a big software development project that requires cross-team collaborations and frequent changes then you will need to use a version control system.

Whichever system you choose will ultimately depend on your organization’s needs.

Nonetheless, whether you’re working in a small team or collaborating on a large software development project across teams, version or source control is an important element of the development process.

More terms from the glossary
Smoke Testing

Smoke testing is a rapid regression test of major functionality to detect early errors and indicate whether the product is ready for further testing.

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Software Development Life Cycle

Software development life cycle (SDLC) refers to the different stages that a software goes through from planning to completion.

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Release Manager

A Release Manager manages all aspects of the software delivery lifecycle and works across teams to ensure a proper release schedule.

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