If you are a developer, you’ve definitely heard the name GitHub or BitBucket at least once – these are an example of code hosting service platforms.
A source-code repository is an archive with the code as well as the hosting facility for these software archives, where you can also have the project’s technical documentation, web pages, snippets, patches, etc. which can be accessed publicly (open-source) or privately.
What can a source code repository do?
- Keeps your code safe
- Offers version control option to make sure all changes that were done to your code are tracked, and you know who did something to your code. You can also revert back to the previous version of the code before “Everything went bad.”
- Simplifies the process of unifying changes from developers’ collaboration
- Provides and promotes teamwork principles since several developers can work together on the same projects, modules, and even code lines
- Prepares your code for release to production
- Keep the statistics and analytics of the changes in the code
What is the purpose of a code repository? We think there are three major ones:
- Version control for your project is critical. Even if you’re the only developer on the team, the chances are that you’re human, and you might make a mistake and delete an extra semicolon, sending your beautiful code running into disarray. Version control provides an opportunity to go back.
- Code repositories are great digital portfolios or resumes. For a developer, a GitHub repository or commits to an open-source project are the best CVs possible. You can tell all you want about your excellent hard skills, but providing a link to your code repo would make it more believable. For companies, allowing the developers time to contribute to open-source projects also pays off because it promotes creativity as well as encourages continuous learning.
Besides the features mentioned above, many source code repositories also offer built-in bug tracking systems, wiki-based project documentation, and release management.
What can the code repository contain?
- Commit objects’ set
- References to commit objects (also known as heads)
- A historical record of the repository code changes
Who uses the source code repositories? Everyone who is involved in the project should have access to the repository – frontend and backend developers, project managers, HTML layout developers, QA engineers, etc. – everyone who needs access to the code, tests, and technical documentation.
Code repositories can be for single developers, multi-developer projects, and for open-source software projects (which are a sort of multi-developer, but anyone can easily access the code, whereas the former is shared with a specific set of users.) Single-developer projects can be stored locally, on a server, and in the cloud. Multi-developer and open-source projects are stored online on a server or a cloud, to allow easy collaboration between the users.
Since several people can edit code repositories, there are two terms you should also know about that are essential to this case:
- Branch – when you want to diverge from the main code line, you can “branch” the code from the main “trunk.” The repository code branch remains a part of the original repository, and the branch relies on the trunk. If the original code is deleted, the branch has no support either.
- Fork – when you want to go a completely different way, you can fork the main repository, which means you copy or clone the original and take it from there. The fork, unlike a branch, is not relying on the original repository and will remain if the source was deleted. It becomes its own new trunk.
The traditional composition of a repository is a trunk, branches, and tags. Branches usually contain new versions of the code, which can be either discontinued or merged with the main trunk code.
Choosing a repository tool
There are a variety of modern software repository hosting tools available to choose from. Each code repository system has its own strength and weaknesses. Additionally, each repository hosting tool has various support for underlying version control systems. This guide is intended to walk you through the requirements that may impact which code repository management tool is best suited for your team’s needs.
The difference between a repository hosting services and a version control system
It is important to acknowledge that repository hosting services and version control systems are two separate entities. Version control systems are the low level command line utilities that are used to manage the software development life cycle changes to a collection of source code files.
Learn how to pick the best version control system for your team.
Repository hosting services are third-party web applications that wrap and enhance a version control system. You cannot fully utilize a repository hosting service without using an underlying version control system.
Which source code repository should I choose?
A repository hosting service is an organizational management tool which offers a transparent view into the traditionally opaque workflow process of software development. A good repository hosting service will provide tools for measuring, monitoring, discussing and managing software development efficiency and correctness. A repository hosting service should integrate with other management tools such as Task management, Customer relationship management, and support ticket management tools to provide a connected organizational communication network. Whether your business treats software development as an asset or liability it is important to have insight into that risk source.
WHY DO WE NEED A CODE REPOSITORY?
What is a code repository used for? It’s a way to publish your amazing code to a production server without the hassle of walking to the lead developer the file archives on a flash drive or uploading the file to the production server via SSH or FTP…
But what do you do if there is an error in your code, and you urgently need to fix it? Without a repository management system, you would have to unpack your code once again, look for the error, fix it, repeat the previous steps… Too long.
With a GitHub or BitLocker, for example, this process becomes much simpler and straightforward (not to mention safer for the production server and your end-users.)
As we have discussed above, the repository management solutions (also known as Version Control Systems or VCS) have many other useful features:
- You can work on the same project wherever you are without relying on your local storage for the project.
- You can collaborate with numerous other developers on a company product or contribute to an open-source project that would benefit the community as a whole. (Otherwise, you would have to compare the code from different developers and unite it manually into one coherent archive.)
- You can enjoy the simplified debugging options thanks to side-by-side code comparison, which highlights the things that were changed in the latest versions.
- You can revert to the previous version (or find out who broke the code or fixed a critical bug.)
Source code repository hosts provide developers with secure hubs to store your source code. More importantly, they offer opportunities for collaboration as well as handy project management and version control tools.