The victory of version control

It’s always fascinating to see how applying good practice in one area can lead to unforeseen benefits. The article on version control with subversion in the latest issue of A List Apart is a fine example of just that. Not only is the use of version control a good way to manage your own projects, it’s a vital enabler for significant shifts in working practices and management styles.

Those of us who’ve been building software for a while and keep tabs on best practice in that arena are unlikely to see version control as anything new—CVS has been around since the 80s, after all—but it’s arguably only now really coming into its own as we see social practices, work practices and coding practices coming together. And of course we’re finally starting to see promising mac subversion clients, which has to help.

On a related note, John Gruber noted a couple of days ago:

It strikes me as an odd coincidence that two serious Subversion clients would debut at a time when many developers are starting to switch away from Subversion to distributed revision control systems such as Git and Mercurial.

You could argue that it isn’t really a coincidence at all. Perhaps the fact that technologists have found a superior model for managing versions, and matured it to a point where many of us are starting to use Git is a consequence of really getting to grips with what tools like subversion allow. We’ve become good enough at communicating the features and flaws of one generation of tools that we can both provide friendly tools, and simultaneously witness a more widespread migration to their progeny?

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