What is GIT?
GIT is an open source, distributed version control system integrated with fully functional local repositories, making it easier to work remotely or while offline. Developers can work on their codes locally and then sync their copy of the repository with that of the server.
The main advantage of a version control system is that it lets you compare builds so you can keep track of your application in a better way. It lets you identify differences, compare files and align the changes before committing the codes. This process is also called ‘Versioning’.
A version control software keeps track of each and every modification done to the code in its database. So when a mistake is made, the developer can just turn back the clock and go back to an earlier version of the code. This is a major help as it can protect the team from having bad disruptions in the project. Each contribution made in the code would be recorded, in case there has been a mismatch (for example, the code developed by one developer didn’t match with the other person’s ).
Here are the main features of GIT:
1) It’s free and open source
GIT released under GPL’s open source license doesn’t have to be purchased. GPL stands for General Public License. Since it is open source, you can modify the code as per your convenience.
2) It’s fast
As you don’t have to connect to any network, you can perform all your tasks quickly. This is because fetching version history from local repositories is 100 times faster than fetching it from remote servers. As the core part of the system is written in C, you can avoid runtime overheads, normally faced with similar high-level languages.
3) Supports non-linear development
GIT is integrated with specific tools for visualising and navigating non-linear development. Hence, it supports rapid branching and merging. The branches are lightweight, as they are only references to individual commits.
4) Easy branching
Branch management is a very easy task. Within seconds, you can create, merge or delete branches. Developers can create their own branches if they want to work on something. This way, the master branch will remain untouched and pure, but with quality codes. The developers can enjoy isolated environments for changing their codebase.
GIT is highly secure as it uses SHA1 or the Secure Hash Function to name and identify objects inside the repository. Everything within this repository is check-summed. Every commit of version is checked and an ID is placed. If an authorised change is made, then it will be immediately noticed.
6) Highly Reliable
The data will never vanish, because there are plenty of local repositories. As each contributor has his own repository, you can easily retrieve them from any one of them.
7) An economical choice
Earlier, while developers used the traditional CVCS (Centralised Version Control System), they needed to bring in very powerful central servers to serve the requests of every subscribed members in the team. But with DVCS or Distributed Version Control System, it is easier to make changes because there is no need to interact with the server unless there is a push or pull change. This would be a very good option when you need to extend your team.
8) Integration with existing systems and protocols
Use HTTP, FTP or GIT protocol over either ssh or plain socket to publish the repositories. With the help of Concurrent Version Systems (CVS) server emulation, it is possible to integrate the GIT repositories with existing IDE plugins and CVS clients. You can directly use GIT-SVN with Apache SubVersion (SVN) and SVK repositories as well.
9) A huge community of users
Numerous circles of developers have accepted this version control system. You can easily hire new developers and be guaranteed that they will be knowledge or experienced in the method of distributed development.
10) Faster Release Cycle
Enjoy faster release cycle through feature branches, distributed development, pull requests and the support of a well extended community. As these capabilities enhance agile workflows, nothing stands in the way of your deadline anywhere. Even if you have last minute changes awaiting in the pipeline, deployment is faster with a centralised system.
11) GIT plays an important role in DevOps too
The VC system has become integral in the DevOps scenario. DevOps is a practice that has taken revolutionised the way apps are built, tested, deployed and monitored.
GIT follows agile methodology and this has boosted project life-styles considerably. Through this new ideology, engineers, developers and operations team foster a renewed communication system where you have seamless and smooth transition from project planning to building, deployment and later, monitoring.
GIT facilitates the communication process by managing the code that all of them create and save in the shared repository. Whenever required, the developers would extract the required codes for CI or Continuous Integration process, create a build, test and deploy the build on the desired platform.
12) Distributed development aids in marketing too
Imagine you already have an app in the market, and you are planning to introduce some new and innovative features in it. Example would be:
- One change could be about a highly demanded feature
- Second change could be about a little update in the user interface
- Another change would be targeted towards existing customers
All these three changes are actually unrelated, but will be released at the same time.
With shorter development cycle, thanks to GIT you can easily divide the three into individual releases. This makes it easy for marketers because they can market all three changes in individual market campaigns.
On the other hand, if you are relying on the traditional development workflow, the three changes would all be rolled in a single release. The marketing team would find it difficult to focus on all the changes made in the app with a single marketing campaign.
The VC system is a boon when it comes to managing large projects with ease. If you need something that would enable proper communication between the development team and Operations, GIT is the answer.
GIT is also a dream come true for enterprises providing customer support for their apps because faster bug fixes make customers happy. They no longer have to wait for the next monolithic release for fixing bugs.
Picture Source: Flickr.com/ Steve Snodgrass/ Official GDC
The author: Reema Oamkumar is engaged as a thought leader at www.Software-Developer-India.com which is a part of the YUHIRO Group. YUHIRO is a German-Indian enterprise which provides programmers to IT companies, agencies and IT departments.