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20 Best Version Control Systems of 2018

Are you in the search for a reliable version control solution? If you are managing complex projects with multiple contributors, particularly in the context of software development, you need a system to organize and oversee each component of the project. Hence, we compiled the 20 best version control systems to streamline your search and narrow down your choices.

Version Control Software

Challenges in document management rob organizations of up to 21.3% of their overall activity. According to Nitro Blog, the time wasted on document management cost organizations $20,000 per worker per year. This challenge becomes even more crucial large and fast-changing projects such as software development with many contributors. Hence, it is critical to track and update each change a contributor makes for a successful project completion.

The two popular types of version control systems. (Source: Edureka)

At its core, version control systems work in a straightforward fashion. It tracks collaborative changes made and ensures each collaborator is aware and has access to the project’s most recent version. As different projects vary, VCS tools also come in various offerings. Furthermore, the latest trends in the industry are seeing modifications in how they’re deployed as well.

With the growth of the IT and telecommunication industry, the trends around global version control systems are seen to greatly affect the market. According to a report conducted by ResearchandMarkets, version control systems will see more availability in SaaS and an increase in remote access control and strategic alliance around 2018 to 2022.

In this article, we compiled the 20 best version control systems that not only offers the essential features of a VCS but also packs various functionalities you may need for your unique projects while offering a good value of your investment. This may range from offering organization and tracking of project development to an individual-level to global-scale collaboration, among others.

20 Best Version Control Systems

1. AWS CodeCommit

AWS CodeCommit lands the first spot on this list of 20 best version control systems. It is a fully managed source control service that empowers your team to collaborate on code. Hosting scalable and private Git-based repositories, it offers a secure storage solution for your binary files, documents, and source code in the cloud. It also integrates seamlessly with your existing systems while eliminating the need for operating your own source control system or scaling its infrastructure.

This version control service is hosted by Amazon Web Services which offers a fully-managed service so you don’t have to worry about provisioning hardware, adding administrative overhead or installing, configuring and updating server software. Repositories are also encrypted both at rest and in transit to ensure a secure code storage. They can even scale to your development needs and handle lengthy revision histories and large numbers of branches, files or file sizes.

AWS CodeCommit lets you use its service for free for the first 5 active users. This already includes unlimited repositories, 50GB storage per month and 10,000 Git request a month. Scaling is also affordable. Each active user above the first 5 users costs only an additional $1 per month.

Why choose AWS CodeCommit?

  1. Code collaboration. Full support for pull requests where users can easily comment and review code changes prior to merging them into branches.
  2. Free service for small teams. The first 5 active users are free and scaling is offered in affordable pricing.
  3. Robust integrations. It integrates with IAM, other AWS services and third-party services.

2. Team Foundation Server

Team Foundation Server is an integrated server suite of developer tools designed for professional teams to share code, track and monitor workflows, and ship software. Its version control solution offers unlimited private repositories for storage and collaboration on the code. You also have the option to choose between a Team Foundation version control (TFVC) for centralized version control or Git for distributed version control.

At its core, Team Foundation Server is a collaborative software development tool. It empowers cross-functional teams to effectively work on software projects of any size using this solution that integrates with your existing IDE or code editor. In addition to its code repositories, it has a bug and task tracking, agile planning tools, and continuous integration.

The tool works on any language such as HTML5, JavaScript, C#, Java and Python. Meanwhile, Team Foundation Server offers TFS Express for a small team of five members to start with for free. As the team grows, they can easily scale with the system.

Why choose Team Foundation Server?

  1. Git repositories. Develop your code with a flexible and distributed version control system.
  2. Team Foundation Version Control. A centralized version control for managing code.
  3. Pull requests. Enables reviewing and merging code in a Git team project by creating a pull request.

3. GitHub

GitHub is a software development platform specifically built for developers. It empowers you to manage projects, build software and host and review code in a private cloud with GitHub Enterprise or on-premise with your own server. The app’s code review enables you to write better code in Pull Requests by improving how your team collaborates in building your software more efficiently.

Right alongside your code, you can streamline the involvement of your team members by simply mentioning them as project management happens right in Issues and Projects. With its hundreds of integrations, finding the tools you prefer and looking for new ones are available in the GitHub Marketplace where you can easily browse and purchase.

Administrative and security requirements are not a problem. It offers signed commits, required status checks, and protected branches so you can maintain a high standard code. Meanwhile, the access-controlled functionality limits team access to those who need it with features such as authentication and granular permissions through SAML/SSO and LDAP.

Why choose GitHub?

  1. Built-in code review. Code review tools are built right in pull requests where you propose new features, discuss implementation details before applying code changes and evolving projects.
  2. High visibility. Parts that are new, edited or deleted are highlighted to easily spot changes and compare versions of code side by side.
  3. Wikis. Each wiki, which is its own repository, makes each change versionable and comparable.

4. Jedi VCS

JEDI VCS is an open source VCS platform. It offers features such as project and line history, time tracker, project-based rights management, an integrated ToDo Manager and customizable DiffTool. Additional backup capabilities are available over the database backup or into the archive files. It also has available integration for build tools with Commandline or console application.

The tool is fully integrated into Delphi IDEs. If you prefer a standalone application, the software also offers this option. Its database backend is based on MySQL, Oracle, MSSQL, and Firebird. For its repository, it is viewable over project tree view or the VCS browser.

Why choose JEDI VCS?

  1. Delphi integrated. This solution is suited for users looking for a full integration with Delphi IDEs.
  2. Migration tool. For users with other database systems aside from the app’s offerings.
  3. ProjectTreeView implementation. This allows faster switching between projects in the main form.

5. IBM Rational ClearCase

IBM Rational ClearCase is a solution built to provide a controlled access to your software assets on its enterprise-grade configuration management system. These software assets refer to requirements, code, models, test plans, test results and design documents that require an optimized management. With flexible access anytime and anywhere, this tool offers secure version management, baseline management, automated workspace management, and parallel development support.

Flexibility is one of the things that separate this solution among others. The product is scalable for enterprise deployment with flexible pricing offers. It also has flexible usage models for various developmental methodologies. Meanwhile, compliance is achieved with traceability and process control with minimal administrative effort through features such as user authentication and audit trails.

Why choose IBM Rational ClearCase?

  1. Control versioning. You can display and delete versions, branches and files as well, list version histories, and compare and merge versions.
  2. Independent, collaborative environment. It offers development and integration models, public integration areas, and private workspaces.
  3. Version management. Any project artifact represented as digital content can be managed and controlled.

6. IBM Rational Synergy

IBM Rational Synergy is a unified platform that empowers collaboration for global, distributed development teams. This task-based software configuration management system synchronizes tasks and changes in real time for a cohesive collaboration in a global delivery framework. It is a highly scalable platform that delivers automation to tasks and processes with efficiency. Additionally, it has an advanced baseline and release management functionality.

Software components can be versioned and uniquely identified in the component repository to streamline reuse. This enables an efficient management of your software development lifecycle as delivered by features such as conflict detection, parallel development, and product lines. Determining all file and logical changes are also streamlined.

Why choose IBM Rational Synergy?

  1. WAN access. Distributed teams can work with LAN-like speeds and decrease the overhead of multiple servers.
  2. Unified repository. It manages all artifacts related to software development such as libraries, documents, source code, and final software.
  3. Fast backup performance. Planning maintenance activities can be done efficiently with agile practices and overlapping timezones.

7. Bitbucket

Bitbucket is a Git solution designed for professional teams. It offers a single platform for teams to handle project planning, code collaboration, testing, and deployment. Code review helps you approve more efficiently with pull requests as you can create a merge checklist with designed approvers. This is where you can discuss directly in the source code using inline comments.

It has fast feedback loops, configuration as code, and built-in continuous delivery. Additionally, an integrated CI/CD streamlines how you build, test and deploy. IP whitelisting and two-step verification ensure your code is secure in the cloud. Features such as branch permissions and merge checks to ensure quality code also restrict access and control actions of certain users.

Why choose Bitbucket?

  1. Free unlimited private repositories. Small teams with less than 5 members get unlimited private repositories for free.
  2. Jira and Trello integration. It lets you create branches right from Trello cards or Jira issues.
  3. Built-in continuous delivery. Creating, testing and deploying code is streamlined through an integrated CI/CD.

8. Subversion

Subversion, also known as SVN, is a popular software versioning and revision control solution designed to maintain current and previous versions of files like source code, documentation and web pages. This is an open source platform under the Apache License to help in tracking changes, recovering data and recording the history of changes. This tool offers easy implementation and programming languages. Creating branches and tags is streamlined. Meanwhile, handling text and binary files are accomplished with ease on its consistent storage.

Why choose Subversion?

  1. Versioned directories. Directories are versioned as first-class objects similar to files.
  2. Branching and tagging. It offers these operations in an affordable manner.
  3. Merge tracking. Flow management between lines of development is automated.

9. GitLab

GitLab is a single application developed for the entire DevOps lifecycle from project planning and source code management up to CI/CD monitoring. It empowers collaboration for teams to deliver more effective and faster value to customers through shortening DevOps cycle time, reducing manual work, and connecting silos and stages.

GitLab’s top features include audit management, cycle analytics, issue board and trackers, source code management, unit testing, and continuous delivery. It enables change to occur in a production environment for easy scaling and monitoring. Hence, you can respond to market changes faster, eliminate engineering risks and modify your long-term plans as needed.

Why choose GitLab?

  1. Silos and stages. Automatically linked the single source of truth for every change made.
  2. Lower engineering risk. Smaller and more frequent deploys lead to better predictability, easier troubleshooting, and better code quality.
  3. Geographically distributed teams. Remote teams can work on the latest version of the code and stay current.

10. Git

Git is a distributed version control system that you can use from small to large projects in an efficient and speedy manner. It is a free and open source with an easy-to-use interface and fast performance. Some of its top features include its cheap local branching, multiple workflows, and convenient staging areas.

Designed to work on the Linux kernel, it performs nearly any operation locally and handles large repositories. Since it is distributed, the tool lets you create a clone of your entire repository, give users a full main server backup, and implement unlimited workflows with ease. It also supports an integration manager in its workflows for an individual to commit to the “blessed” repository.

Why choose Git?

  1. Branching and merging. Multiple local branches are entirely independent of each other and it accelerates development creation, merging and deletion.
  2. Data assurance. Every aspect of your project ensures cryptographic integrity.
  3. Staging area. This is where commits are formatted and reviewed before its completion.

11. GNU RCS

GNU RCS offers automation for revision storage, retrieval, logs, identification, and merger. It supports the management of multiple file revisions. This tool is commonly used for frequently revised text such as source code, graphics, documentation, form letters, and papers. As it is a free software, it can be modified and redistributed under the GNU General Public License.

This software is developed to be a better and improved version of GNU CSSC or Source Code Control System. With that, it offers a user interface that is easier to use. Its versions storage is also improved to support faster retrievals.

Why choose GNU RCS?

  1. Improved performance. The software stores a complete copy of the latest versions.
  2. “Deltas.” It also saves “reverse” differences.
  3. Free software. It is free to use, modify and redistribute.

12. CA Harvest SCM

CA Harvest SCM is a tool you can use for the management of development teams across your enterprise. At its core, it is a release management platform designed for corporate compliance initiatives and IT governance policies. This enables automated source code versioning and streamlined workflows. The software offers an efficient repository database management for project administrative utilities and minimizes bottlenecks resulting from network issues. It is also one of the few solutions that extends its platform support to Linux.

Why choose CA Harvest SCM?

  1. Work state. Where you check out items, check in files and create baselines in the version control lifecycle.
  2. Version information. Executing list versions and comparing view processes in the Snapshot state.
  3. Remote site repository cache. This decreases bottlenecks resulting from network issues.

13. StarTeam

StarTeam is an enterprise change management platform for process-driven development teams. It supports the global control and definition of all assets across its lifecycle and delivers modifications in multiple ALM tools and repositories with a single source of truth. The tool helps you easily track any changes made to the source code, features, tasks, and defects.

This solution provides you with complete visibility in comparing cross-project data and capability in integrated assets. You can tailor workflows according to your organization’s needs. Additionally, it offers a data warehouse for comprehensive data analytics to enhance project clarity and transparency.

Why choose StarTeam?

  1. Enterprise-scale development. Geographically distributed development is empowered with a single source of truth.
  2. Automation. Release management is enhanced with automated linking of delivery artifacts as a natural aspect of the development process.
  3. Connect assets and teams. Complete versioning, baselining, and reporting is available for geographically located or co-located teams.

14. TortoiseSVN

TortoiseSVN, an Apache Subversion (SVN) client, is an easy-to-use and intuitive software versioning and revision control system. It is implemented as a Windows shell extension and it doesn’t need to run the Subversion command line client. It can be used with any type of file and any development tools you prefer.

Developed under GPL, the software is completely free to use even on corporate environments. The source code is available for free with no restrictions. Hence, you may develop your version with ease. Its other features include descriptive dialogs, right-dragging files to move them in Windows Explorer, and direct view of file status in Windows Explorer.

Why choose Tortoise SVN?

  1. Free to use. It can be used for free without restrictions.
  2. Issue tracking systems integration. It connects with any web-based bug tracking system.
  3. Commit dialog. It has text formatting, auto-completion of keywords and paths of modified files, and integrated log messages spellchecker.

15. Alfresco One

Alfresco One manages and syncs your cloud and on-premise repositories through its hybrid cloud enterprise content management platform. It secures your version control workflows ensures controlled consumer file sharing and secure collaboration outside of your firewall by syncing document management, process automation and collaboration in the cloud. Some of Alfresco One’s top technical capabilities include encrypting content, content modeling, activity monitoring and tracking, auditing, content replication, clustering, and multi-tenancy, among others.

Why choose Alfresco One?

  1. Content encryption. Alfresco Content Encryption and content stores ensure your critical business content is safe and secure.
  2. Built-in workflows. Workflows can be extended into full business process management.
  3. Smart Folders. The simple presentation of content in folders is empowered with robust search queries and contextual content view.

16. ONLYOFFICE

ONLYOFFICE is an online office application that gives you a secure platform for running your private cloud office. This enables small and mid-size companies to create, edit and collaborate on your business documents online. The software is an all-in-one suite that integrates its online editors with collaboration platforms such as CRM, mail, projects, and calendar, among others.

It is also suitable for developers looking for a document editing functionality whether on a SaaS or on-premise deployment. The multifunctional portal is offered in pricing packages in cloud service, developer edition, integration edition and enterprise edition.

Why choose ONLYOFFICE?

  1. Online Document Editors. Empowers sharing, editing and collaborating on documents online with access levels for groups and users.
  2. Developer edition. Direct access from the web application and high compatibility with OpenDocument and Microsoft Office file formats.
  3. Enterprise solution. Use the web office under your corporate brand and create a separate workspace for each department or branch.

17. Beanstalk

Beanstalk is a complete workflow solution for writing, reviewing and deploying code. It offers flexible control to your code review process and empowers feedback, both Issues and Discussions, from your team through its direct integration with your branch. Directly from your browser, you can add files, make branches, and edit with no client required.

Customizable deployment configurations in multiple environments are available which enables you to ship code to one or more servers simultaneously. It also offers enterprise-class secured infrastructure, performance, and reliability. The software offers plans from freelancers and startups to businesses and enterprises starting from $15/month.

Why choose Beanstalk?

  1. Team permissions. Suitable for any team size, you can define repository and branch-level permissions for teams and individuals.
  2. Release notes. Team members can stay in-the-know on what is deployed and when.
  3. Secure infrastructure. Bank-level encryption is used in transferring data to and from the fully managed environment.

18. HelixCore

HelixCore is an enterprise-class VCS designed for accelerated environments. It offers a single repository to version all your digital content and files making it flexible for large teams to scale with. Furthermore, it can deliver files to remote users and manage up to thousands of daily transactions. Some of its key features include a single source of truth, flexible branching, workflows, and DevOps-ready for modern development teams. Available on both cloud and on-premise deployments, the software supports multi-factor authentication among its other security features to ensure tight security for your intellectual property.

Why choose HelixCore?

  1. Workflow freedom. Members can work remotely while you get total control by setting granular file-level permissions.
  2. Automate branching. Use lightweight branches for isolating individual tasks, shelve works in progress and opt between centralized or DVCS.
  3. Open Ecosystem. It offers continuous integration, deliverability, and scalability as a DevOps-ready solution.

19. CVS

CVS or Concurrent Versions System is a VCS that tracks all changes and work done in a set of files while enabling collaboration to developers. A crucial component in SCM (Source Configuration Management), this tool is used for keeping a record of source files and documents history. The capabilities that set CVS apart from other tools is its ability to run scripts that can be supplied in logging operations or enforcing site-specific policies and enabling developers from different locations or slow modems to function as a single, collaborated team.

Why choose CVS?

  1. Modules database. Symbolic name mapping for components of a larger software distribution.
  2. Unreserved checkouts. Multiple developers can work simultaneously.
  3. Run scripts. Enforce site-specific policies or supply logging CVS operations.

20. ArX

Wrapping up the list of 20 best version control systems is ArX. It is a user-friendly distributed VCS that manages your archives, such as a software project’s source code files, and tracks each file history together with forks, branches, version tags, and change comments. This product’s main offering includes robust branching and merging features, cryptographic data integrity features, and portability to multiple operating systems. The software works fast even with large repositories and comes with a friendly user and developer communities in addition to its short learning curve.

Meanwhile, we recommend you to also check out this list of 20 best collaboration software tools which offer similar collaborative features for project management that may fit with your workflows better. It is curated by our team of experts based on overall top-notch functionality and value.

Why choose ArX?

  1. Archives publishing. You can publish archives on any server.
  2. Storage. It stores files and documents such as text files.
  3. File history. Track version tags, change comments, branches, and forks, among others.
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