Source code management (SCM) is the practice of tracking source code versions and controlling where changes are made. Source code management systems streamline software development by managing documents, tracking revisions, and storing files in a central location. This article explains what source code management is, the benefits of an SCM system, and how SCM software can help your team. Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Software Development? #
Before learning about SCM, it’s helpful to understand software development. Software development is the process of designing, testing, and developing computer programs. It includes all aspects of the development process, including other activities such as requirements analysis and project management. Software development is usually done in a programming language and a programming environment. The process is more often called software engineering when it is applied as a way to solve a given problem, in a systematic fashion. It is also known as source code management.
Why Use Source Code Management? #
Source code management is important in all phases of the software development lifecycle, but there are specific benefits at each phase. First, source code management helps teams plan projects by providing a central repository for code. This allows you to plan how many people will work on the code and how long it will take. You can also identify potential bottlenecks and anticipate any issues that may arise. Second, SCM helps with collaboration by making code accessible to multiple team members.
This allows each person to work on the code without affecting the work of the others. SCM also helps you easily identify who made what changes to the code and when. This helps you keep each team member accountable for their work. Third, when you are ready to test the code, SCM allows you to easily see what changes have been made. This allows you to test only the new code rather than the entire program.
Fourth, when you are ready to deploy the code, SCM helps you identify the correct version. This means that you can test and deploy the correct code, and you can prevent errors. Fifth, when a change is made to the code, the SCM system tracks the changes and allows you to roll back to a previous version of the code. This helps you resolve issues that may arise.
SCM Tools #
There are many SCM tools on the market. Each has its own features and benefits, so it’s important to select one that works for your team. The following is a list of common SCM tools.
Git – Git is an open source SCM tool. It is one of the most popular SCM tools used by developers. It is flexible and easy to use, which makes it a great option for beginners. It can also be used for distributed version control. Distributed version control allows team members to work remotely and track changes to the code.
Subversion – This centralised SCM tool is most often used by larger organisations. It is easy to use and requires less maintenance than decentralised SCM tools. It does not allow for remote working, so all work is done on a central computer.
Perforce – Perforce is a centralised SCM tool that is often used by larger organisations. It is easy to use and has a low learning curve. It also offers strong security and protects the integrity of the code.
Key Functions of Source Code Management #
Source code management tools allow software developers to track changes to code, collaborate with others, and use version control. The following are the key functions of source code management.
Collaboration – It’s important for team members to work together when developing code. Source code management allows multiple people to work on the same code without overwriting each other’s files. This helps prevent errors and ensures that each person is held accountable for their work.
Tracking code changes – SCM tracks who made what changes to the code and when they were made. This information can also be used to identify areas that may need improvement.
Version control – Source code management allows you to use version control. This allows you to identify which version of the code was deployed at a specific date and time. It also allows you to roll back to a previous version if necessary.
Pros of Using an SCM Tool #
There are many benefits to using an SCM tool. These include the following.
Improved collaboration – Keeping track of who made what changes to the code makes it easier for team members to work together. This helps prevent issues and encourages open communication.
Accurate project management – Knowing which version of the code has been deployed allows you to accurately track project milestones. This makes it easier to identify potential risks and bottlenecks and stay on track.
Improved code quality – Using an SCM tool helps you identify areas in need of improvement and quickly make changes to the code. This can result in higher quality code. – Reduced risk of errors – SCM can help you identify potential issues before they arise. This helps reduce the risk of errors and miscommunications.
Cons of Using an SCM Tool #
While there are many benefits to using an SCM tool, there are also some downsides. These include the following.
Team members must learn how to use the tool – Because each team member must use the SCM system, they must be familiar with it. Otherwise, they may encounter issues while working on the code.
Extra storage space may be required – SCM tools store data, so you must consider how much storage space is required. This can be a concern for smaller teams and organisations with limited storage space.
Source code management is important to software development. It helps teams plan projects, collaborate, track code changes, and use version control. There are many benefits to using an SCM tool, but it does require some initial setup and knowledge.