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Getting into Version Control

Short Version:

I think it's high time I got my act together and started using version control for my web design and programming work. Two questions I'd like you to answer: How do you/should I go about making version control part of my working process? and What is a good version control system for my needs? (I have been overwhelmed by all the strangeties of SVN in the past.) The first question is the most important for me as I can pretty much adjust to most anything.

Longer version after the jump...

Long Version:

Here's the thing. Many of you know that I'm a web designer. What I'm here to admit today is that heretofore I have not been using a version control system. I have some new projects about to start up as well as some pretty ambitious programming projects that I'll be working on over the next semester and in my last year of school working on a big group project. So, I thought now would be a great time to get my act together with version control.

My work obviously requires that I do a fair amount with binary files such as images and occasionally sound. So, any version control system would need to handle that stuff gracefully. I'd also like for whatever system to integrate in some capacity with Finder. I'm not averse to the command line, but switching to Terminal to do version control operations is one more step that I fear might keep me from actually using it. I have my hosting account with Dreamhost, which offers ootb SVN repositories, so that might be the simplest solution. Also, and help with workflow issues such as dealing with multiple projects (multiple repositories or one repository with multiple projects?) is greatly appreciated.

As a way of sort of getting into my head with this stuff, it might help if I describe my modus operandi for a project. All of my project folders get treated like a "document" and shoved into my catch-all "~/Documents/trunk" folder and organized by color label. (See also my blog post about organizing my files. Most of my web design projects consist of a simple top level directory with three sub directories for images, javascript, and stylesheets. In the past, if I was going to get experimental with a particular aspect, I'd just make a _bak copy of the file in question and go to work. Not too sophisticated. My programming projects go into ~/Code/$languagename/$projectname, so for my class programming assignments, ~/Code/Java/ProjectName. Again, nothing to earth-shattering. But I did want to show that I do keep my projects separated more than just by project. Maybe I should be keeping my web design projects in ~/Sites. Ach, but I digress...

Finally, I think I have been overwhelmed by the alien concepts in SVN. Branches? Tags? Trunk? WTF? So, perhaps a simpler system is in order. I know Git, Mercurial, and Bazaar are the cool new kids, but is there something else out there that I'm not considering?

Thanks in advance as always for your help, 43F Hive Mind.

About Berko

Berko's picture


Berko is otherwise known as Jamie Phelps. He runs a web design business in addition to pursuing a degree at TCU. Jamie is married to his wonderful wife Ann Margaret and they have eight pets and a fish.




An Oblique Strategy:
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