Pocket guide to the best 7 version control tools

6 min read
Digvijay Singh

Version control is an essential aspect of modern development and software management. Version control tools allow you to track changes to an application codebase over time, which allows for collaborative projects, auditing purposes, and more.

Version control is a way to keep track of all the different versions of your code.

Version control tools allow you to:

  • Go back and find older versions if needed
  • Have multiple people working on the same project at once without overwriting each other's changes

It also helps prevent you from accidentally deleting primary code or removing edits that can break something else in the project.

Related: Easily manage remote teams

Teamwork made much easier

When you have a cohesive team working on a project, version control can help keep everyone on track and ensure that each team member knows where they are with the entire project.

It also promotes collaboration by giving users access to other people's work and vice versa.

Version control tools make it easy for developers to work together remotely without any negative impact on performance, speed or efficiency.

If you're looking for a version control system (VCS) that will support your team's needs as they expand or change over time, this list can provide some guidance:

1. Git

Git version control system website

Git is a free, open-source distributed version control tool that provides strong support for non-linear development and is capable of efficiently handling small to large projects. It was initially designed and developed by Linus Torvalds for Linux kernel development.

Git is used for version control for Git repositories.

A Git repository is a special kind of repository that can have multiple parents and allow branching and merging.

A Git repository contains one or more file names known as blobs containing data that might be binary content or text content.

The data is stored within subdirectories of the repository (known as trees), along with references to other repositories (references can be local branches, remote branches, or tags).

2. Mercurial

Mercurial is a distributed version control system written and used by Mozilla, jQuery, and Linux kernel developers.

Mercurial is free and open-source software under the GNU General Public License version 2 or later.

This is a command-line tool that helps you track changes to your codebase over time so you can manage multiple versions without fear of losing data.

To use Mercurial effectively, you'll need to learn about concepts like branches and commit changes. Doing so will not only help keep your project organized but also allow for easy collaboration with other developers.

3. Subversion

Subversion is a:

  • Version control system
  • Revision control system
  • Source code management software

It's an effective tool for managing source code.

Subversion is an open-source project with many contributors from all over the world. It's written in the Python programming language and licensed under GNU General Public License (GPL).

4. Perforce

Perforce is a distributed version control system that supports large projects. It can be used to track changes to files and programs.

Perforce version control tool website

Perforce is best for software development teams who need to work together on large codebases because it allows them to work simultaneously without interfering with each other’s workflows.

Perforce integrates easily with other tools like:

  • Jira
  • Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS)
  • Slack and more

5. Concurrent Versions System (CVS)

CVS is another most popular version control system and a critical part of Source Configuration Management (SCM). You can record the history of source files and documents effortlessly with the help of this version control tool.

CVS was the first version control system available to the public.

It also became the first open-source VCS (Version Control System). The idea behind CVS was to create a centralized repository where all of a team's changes could be stored.

With CVS, if someone made an update on one computer and then moved on to another computer terminal, they could bring their work with them without the worry of losing data.

The idea behind storing all of your code at once in one location came from RCS (Revision Control System), created by Walter F. Tichy at Bell Labs back in 1976 as part of Unix's development process.

6. Bazaar

Bazaar is a version control tool that also allows you to track the changes you make to your files. It's free and open-source and it runs on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and other platforms.

Bazaar is a distributed version control system (DVCS). DVCS stores every change in your file history as an individual commit with its unique hashcode. It makes it possible for you to integrate all of these commits into another repository, even if they were previously stored in separate repositories

Bazaar is a great version control tool and is easy to use.

Bazaar is:

  • Cross-platform
  • Distributed
  • Fast
  • Flexible

Bazaar can be used on any project that requires source control management.

7. Team Foundation Server (TFS)

Team Foundation Server website

Team Foundation Server (TFS) version control is a powerful way to manage changes to your codebase. Version control allows you and your team to track the person who made the change, the change that is done, and when it was done.

TFS also allows you to reverse changes if necessary and manage multiple versions of your code.

This version control tool is based on a client-server distributed repository model and provides Windows, cross-platform OS support through Visual Studio Team Services. TFS also supports the entire application lifecycle, including:

TFS has great support for branching and merging operations and helps in implementing a steady codebase.

Version control tools make teamwork easier

It is highly efficient to use version control in your application development because it allows you to keep track of all your files and helps in collaboration between the team members. Version control also allows you to go back and find older versions if needed, and this comes in really handy in certain situations when something goes wrong with an important project.

There are a lot of version control tools on the market these days. Some of them are more popular than others. The choice depends on your project and team size, but there are no wrong answers here!


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