Non-Standard Source Code Management Tools to Try in 2018

The world of software development evolves so fast that organizations can hardly keep up with the pace. Today, companies have to adapt to new environments, technologies and challenges, revamping the approach to work and scaling seamlessly. It’s no longer acceptable to release updates to your app every several months, or even once a few weeks. This demand of continuous delivery forces you to track the progress of the whole software development lifecycle. So it’s crucial you choose the right source code management tools to track the development stage, maintain successful deployment, support testing environments and check the scope of work that’s still ahead.

In such conditions, the demand to source code management is also high. Modern tech world offers so many alternatives with advanced functionality and features, that it’s worth trying something new and evolving! Don’t worry, we will lend you our helping hand and guide through the list of the most powerful source code management tools, for you to choose the perfect one.

Mercurial

Rated with 4,5 stars by G2Crowd

Key Features

  • Open source
  • Distributed architecture, integrity of file history
  • Fast commiting, branching, merging
  • Extensible with Shell scripts and Python APIs
  • GUI support with TortoiseHg, Source Tree and MercurialEclipse
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to learn
  • Available for multiple platforms
  • Simple command-line interface
  • Extensible with Shell scripts and Python APIs

Challenges

  • No merging of two parents
  • It is not scriptable, offering to use extensions instead

“Work easier, work faster” – claims Mercurial slogan on the website, and it’s not an empty talk. The tool has already proved being both easy with its intuitive interface and Quick Start and fast with a well-designed data structures.

Due to its distributed model, Mercurial provides each developer with the access to the entire development history and works individually from central servers or networks. Graphical user interface support and extensibility make Mercurial suitable for projects of any size. There’s also an opportunity to generate diffs for backup between revisions and return to previous settings in few seconds.

Written mostly in Python, the system is available on different platforms. Apart from core functions, Mercurial can be strengthened with extensions (either download some written in Python or create your own), which may increase its performance and change basic commands. If you have already used Git, it’s not difficult to switch to Mercurial. All you have to do is to install the hg-convert tool and add the plugin definition to your .hgrc-file. Plus, don’t think it will take much time to learn Mercurial – its creators provide clear documentation, tutorials and learning resources.

Apache Subversion

Rated with 4 stars by G2Crowd

Key Features

  • Open Source
  • Merge tracking
  • Interactive conflict resolution
  • Changelists to track and organize workflow and commits
  • Full revision history
  • Path-based authorization
  • Language bindings
  • Easy to learn

Challenges

  • Renaming files and directories may cause bugs
  • Slower speed (e.g. in comparison to Mercurial)
  • No distributed revision control and peer-to-peer model

Originally developed to become an expanded version of CVS, Apache Subversion (SVN) is an open-source version control system. It employs a concept of atomic commits that prevents corruptions in the database and doesn’t let partial changes to break the original source. It also supports merge tracking with the possibility to manage code alterations automatically. Moreover, SVN allows file locking, notifying when multiple users work on the same file or item.

Subversion is interoperable, using the HTTP-based WebDAV/DeltaV protocol for network communications. Directories are versioned as first-class objects and symbolic links are versioned in working copies. SVN focuses on scriptability, so the command-line output can be both human and automatically parseable. Written in C, Apache Subversion supports multiple programming languages, including Java, PHP, Python, Ruby and Perl.

Perforce Helix

Rated with 4 stars by G2Crowd

Key Features

  • Open Source
  • User-friendly
  • Scalable
  • Easy manageable
  • Accessible file history
  • Easy merging and branching

Challenges

  • Non-intuitive interface and workspace
  • Troublesome setting up of server
  • Problematic rollback while merging

Helix by Perforce enables fast source code access in agile environments. The solution has friendly GUI and graphical tools like the revision graph or file history graphs. Users can easily manage multiple workspaces, change lists, branch mappings and merging, having access to all visual information of source changes with graph and file history. The time lapse is user-friendly, as well as side-by-side diff tool.

Easy-to-use dashboard provides performance tracking, create data summaries and visualize reports. Getting used to Perforce Helix will not cause you any headache, as support is available 24/7 over the phone or via website. Plus, there are multiple free trainings, forums and learning materials to get to know Helix better.

Choosing the Right Source Code Management Tools

To thrive in the fast-evolving and challenging world of software development, meet its digital demands and utilize only agile source code management tools. We analyzed capabilities of the most powerful tools and suggest you three variants: Mercurial, Apache Subversion and Team Foundation. Comparing to the other version control systems, these three are suitable for different project sizes, support multiple platforms and are continuously updated. Now, when you have only three variant to choose from, here’s a comparison of their basic functions in the form of checklist, so you can align your project’s requirements with the functions they offer.

  Mercurial Subversion Helix Git
Open source + + - +
Distributed + - - +
Scriptable - + + -
Merging + + + +
Scalability + - + +
Pricing free free free up to 20 users free

To sum up, our biggest advice on source code management for you is not to mix different solutions or jump from one to another frequently. It is impractical and will only create additional mess.

And if you still can’t decide on which source code management tools to use, or in case you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact our team of experts. You may also check out our blog, where we share our best practices and give valuable insights on different aspects of application development.

25 Jun 2018
Olya Bohun / Tech Enthusiast
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