You may or may not have heard of revision control systems such as Subversion (http://subversion.tigris.org/), Mercurial (www.selenic.com/mercurial) or Git (git-scm.com/). Usually, these applications are used to keep track of revisions in software projects. Each time you change the source code of a project, you check it into your revision control system so that you can browse back and forth through various versions. Revision control systems have many standard features that are very useful, including the ability to display only the differences between two versions of a project.
Revision control is generally associated with software development, but in actuality, its uses extend far beyond. Anything you work on can be checked into a revision control system. For example, at home, I check the stories I write into Subversion so that I can track the changes I make and go back to a previous version if necessary. Even binary files, such as word documents, images, etc. can be tracked this way. If it’s something that you change regularly and if the changes don’t result in very many differences to the structure of its associated files, there’s no reason you shouldn’t check it in.
Since revision control is still primarily associated with software development, there will inevitably be a significant learning curve. However, googling for graphical front ends to projects like Subversion will bring up some results. While it doesn’t make learning the concepts of revision control any easier, it can ease the burden of day-to-day use, since it can alleviate the user of having to resort to the command line.
eRacks is ready and willing to install revision control software per your instructions when purchasing any new system, and even offers consulting services for those times when you need help installing, configuring or using your software.
james February 10th, 2009