A Tale of Two Trees

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can become large and overwhelming, so SCM tools provide ways to cope. For example, Vault provides a History Explorer which allows the history entries to queried and searched and sorted.

Perhaps more importantly, most SCM tools provide a feature called a "label" or a "tag." A label is basically a way to mark a specific instant in the history of the repository with a meaningful name. The label makes it easy to later retrieve a snapshot of exactly what the repository contained at that instant.

Looking Ahead

This chapter merely scratches the surface of what an SCM tool can provide, making brief mention of two primary benefits:

    • Working folders provide developers with a private workspace which is distinct from the main repository.

 

  • Repository history provides a complete archive of every change and why it was made.

    In the next chapter, I'll be going into much greater detail on the topic of checkins.


Eric Sink is a software developer at SourceGear who make source control (aka "version control," "SCM") tools for Windows developers. He founded the AbiWord project and was responsible for much of the original design and implementation. Prior to SourceGear, he was the Project Lead for the browser team at Spyglass (now OpenTV) who built the original versions of the browser you now know as "Internet Explorer." Eric received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The title on Eric's business card says "Software Craftsman." You can Eric at eric@sourcegear.com. This series of articles from Eric Sink are part of his online book called Source Control HOWTO, a best practices guide on source control, version control, and configuration management. You can find it online at http://software.ericsink.com/scm/source_control.html

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