Tuesday, March 15, 2011

"Save Game" for programmers

If you've ever played an adventure or saga type of video game, you're familiar with the option of saving your game. Just before a really difficult section or before facing a challenging level boss, you hit save so that if (when really) you died you could try again from that saved point.

Have you ever wished you could do that in real life? Just before embarking on some tough challenge you could hit save and easily get back to that point to try again until you were successful.

Well, if you're a computer programmer, that's exactly what you can do with version control! I've heard a few programmers ponder if it's worth it or not to use a version control system when working on a solo (or hobby) project, but I think it's always useful. Maybe even more so when working on a project that you only touch occasionally in your spare time.

Also, if you haven't checked out a distributed version control system (DVCS) such as Git or Mercurial, then you're working on an older generation of the technology. The lack of file locks and the ease of branching and merging make these systems a joy to work with.

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