If you are building a website, app or software chances are you will need to go back in time to a stable version of the project or to the last good stopping point. Unless you are using a version control system, that might not be possible.

Good thing you have an undo button! It would be no fun to have to go back and recreate your old code.

For example, a client wants to implement a new version of their logo on their website. They have asked that it be scaled larger and placed on the left side of the page. After moving forward with their request, you happily unveil it on the staging server.

A few days pass. The client lets you know they have decided their new logo needs some more tweaking. They have sent a few requests back to their designer including using a wider typeface in the logo, which will make the logo quite a bit more horizontal in nature. As a result, it will no longer look good on the left side of the page. They think it will look perfect centered on the page instead.

“Uh oh,” you think. Before they kicked the logo back to the designer, you made several markup changes in the grid system to accommodate the new version of the logo. Good thing you have an undo button! It would be no fun to have to go back and recreate your old code. It would be even worse if your version control consisted of files named “index_v2.2.1, index_v2.2.3, index_v3.0.1”.

The undo button is not activated by pressing CMD Z, but it works in a similar manner. The undo button is a version control system which uses commands such as baseline, branch, checkout, clone and commit.

The most popular version control system is Git, which was created by Linus Torvalds, the lead developer of the Linux operating system. Other version control systems include Subversion, Mercurial, Perforce and Bazaar.

If your needs are minimal, Google Docs can provide basic revision control too.

Version control allows development teams to code in tandem without overwriting each others’ work. A set of files can be branched and worked on by separate tandem teams. The completed files can then be merged into a single repository.

Try it out

If you have 15 minutes and want to get your feet wet with Git and Github goto: Try.Github.io

And here you can find a number of useful resources for getting started with Git and Github.

Button Image by By PetrS. (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0]

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