What Would Life Without Git Be Like

What Would Life Without Git Be Like

You know it won't be good

Nowadays, everyone is familiar with version control systems aka VCS, such as Git, Mercurial, or Subversion, Git being the most popular one. It has become second nature to us that the first thing we do after initializing our project is to run git init && git add . && git commit -m "initial commit". To understand how important VCS is let's assume we don't know about VCS or something like VCS doesn't even exist.

Let's take 4 scenarios to understand how difficulty escalates exponentially

  1. Working Solo on a Project with Single Deployment

  2. Working Solo on a Project with Multiple Versions and Deployments

  3. Working in a Team of 4 with a Single Version and Deployment

  4. Working in a Team of 4 with Multiple Versions and Deployments

Here, deployment means the version of the codebase. Single Deployment means only one version of the codebase that will be deployed. Multiple Deployments means multiple versions(including client specific) of codebase in multiple environments(staging, uat, production)

Scenario 1: Working Solo on a Project with Single Deployment

As a solo developer without version control, working on a project with a single deployment becomes a risky situation. Any code changes made are irreversible, and there's no safety net in case of errors. If a bug is introduced, there's no straightforward way to revert to a previous, stable state. The lack of versioning makes it challenging to track changes over time, and it's easy to lose sight of the project's evolution.

Collaboration with past iterations is impossible, making it difficult to understand the reasoning behind certain decisions or to revisit successful implementations. The absence of branching and merging capabilities means that experimenting with new features or fixes could disrupt the entire codebase.

Deployments are a nerve-wracking process. If an issue arises during deployment, rolling back to a working state is a manual and error-prone task. Without a VCS, there's no efficient means of documenting the deployed versions or managing configurations for different environments.

Scenario 2: Working Solo on a Project with Multiple Versions and Deployments

In this scenario, the absence of version control worsens the challenges faced in the first scenario. Managing multiple versions and deployments without VCS becomes a logistical nightmare. Keeping track of different code states for various features or environments is practically impossible.

Each deployment is a high-stakes endeavor, as there is no systematic way to isolate changes specific to a version or deployment. Debugging becomes a herculean task, and the risk of introducing new bugs while fixing existing issues looms large. Without branching, trying out experimental features or implementing temporary fixes without affecting the main codebase becomes nearly impossible.

Documentation is limited to external notes or comments within the code, making it hard to understand the rationale behind specific versions or deployments. Coordinating changes across different branches or versions requires meticulous manual effort, leading to a high probability of errors.

Scenario 3: Working in a Team of 4 with Single Version and Deployment

Without version control in a team setting, collaboration turns chaotic. Coordinating efforts among team members becomes a communication-heavy process, relying on constant updates and manual file sharing. The risk of overwriting each other's work is ever-present, and resolving conflicts is an arduous manual task.

There's no clear history of changes, making it difficult to attribute modifications to specific team members, there will be blame games of faulty code as we won't be able to pinpoint who introduced the faulty code. Debugging and troubleshooting are cumbersome, as there's no easy way to identify when and why a particular change was made.

Deployment is a risky and unpredictable process, with no efficient rollback mechanism. Coordinating releases requires meticulous planning and synchronization among team members, increasing the likelihood of errors and downtime.

Scenario 4: Working in a Team of 4 with Multiple Versions and Deployments

In a team setting with multiple versions and deployments but without version control, the challenges escalate exponentially. Collaboration becomes a logistical nightmare, with each team member potentially working on a different version or deployment. Coordinating changes and ensuring a cohesive codebase is a constant struggle.

Without branching and merging capabilities, integrating features or fixes from different team members becomes an error-prone process. The risk of introducing conflicts and breaking the codebase during integration is high. Keeping track of changes across multiple branches or versions requires meticulous manual effort and is prone to oversight.

Deployments are high-stakes events, and rolling back to a stable state in case of issues is a manual and time-consuming task. The lack of versioning makes it challenging to manage configurations for different environments, leading to potential deployment errors.

It was just a Nightmare

To sum it up, without version control, it's like navigating a coding maze with a blindfold. Adding a version control system is like turning on the lights — suddenly, everything just clicks. I hope after reading this, your appreciation for VCS increases tenfold