The best tools for code source control

If you don't have complete control over your code, things can get pretty ugly fast. Here are some of the best source control tools on the market.
Jan 23, 2020 • 4 minute read
Adam Smith @HomebrandAdam
Technical Co-pilot
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Version control is particularly important if you have multiple software developers on a project

Version control or source code control is essential to track the changes made to code. This is especially useful when problems pop up when there is more than one developer working on or changing source coding. Using version control allows developers to track back through the changes and revert to a previous version.

Source code management allows multiple developers working on a project to separate their work using branches that shows who makes what changes. You can view work history, use and manage code and revert to previous versions.

Software used to control versions saves changes in one place so if you make a mistake you can undo it or track back to find where another developer has made a mistake to resolve it.

There are many software version control tools available and you should choose the one that works best for you and your company.

Here are some of the best tools on the market.


Git takes a different approach than CVS or SVN and is a distributed version control system that is fast and efficient. It is open source software that is free and has an easy to use interface. 

Designed to operate on the Linus kernel, it does not have a central server so may not suit individual developers or small teams if using a non-repository computer. There are workarounds for this but it may slow you down.

Benefits of GIT include:

  • supports multiple workflows
  • has cheap local branching
  • convenient staging areas
  • data assurance
  • full history tree available when working offline
  • is a distributed, peer-to-peer model.


GitHub was specifically built for developers to control code versions and is a web-based Git repository. It is open source software you can use in the cloud or on a private server, and improves team collaboration

It has Git’s functionality for source code management and distributed revision control but GitHub has a different set of features and functionalities.

GitHub benefits include:

  • built in code review tools
  • protected branches
  • track changes to code
  • task management
  • multiple workflows
  • local branching
  • mobile integration
  • feature requests
  • signed commits
  • access authentication and granular permissions using SAML/SSO an LDAP
  • limit access to only team members who need it
  • convenient staging areas
  • changes and new code have high visibility as they are highlighted to make it easy to compare versions side-by-side
  • wikis for hosting documentation for your repository, which makes it simple for other developers to access to contribute to the project. 


GitLab “is a single application developed for the entire DevOps lifecycle from project planning and source code management up to CI/CD monitoring.” It has a lot of useful features such as a project website and you can use it either on the cloud or on your own server.

Benefits of GitLab include:

  • it reduces manual work
  • automatically links stages and silos when you make changes
  • audit management
  • sand continuous delivery
  • repository mirroring for access to repositories on a different server
  • unit testing
  • source code management
  • cycle analytics
  • code review for line-by-line evaluation
  • allows teams of developers to work together from remote locations
  • deploys more often for better-quality code that is more predictable and is easier to troubleshoot.


Beanstalk is browser or cloud-based which makes it ideal for developers working remotely. It allows developers to write; review; commit; and deploy code using a web browser. You can also add files, edit and create branches.

It is customizable and has deployments in many environments so you can move code to individual or multiple servers at the same time.

Benefits of Beanstalk include:

  • it supports Git and SVN
  • built-in analytics
  • branch level permissions for teams and individual developers
  • uses two-level encryption for security
  • built-in integrations
  • uses releases to let team members know what changes are made and when
  • integrates with messaging platforms and email.
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Concurrent Versions Systems

Concurrent Versions Systems (CVS) is open source software first developed in 1986 and distributed under a GNU licence. It is one of the oldest, most mature source code management systems available. What sets CVS apart from other version control systems is its ability to run scripts when logging in. CVS run scripts allows developers working remotely to work as an integrated team and can also enforce site policies.

CVS benefits include:

  • keeps a snapshot of historical data
  • runs scripts
  • client server repository model
  • has cross-platform support
  • multiple developers can work on a project at the same time
  • a modules database that uses symbolic name mapping
  • teams can merge code changes
  • keep copies updated with an Update command
  • anonymous read access
  • delta compression for efficient storage
  • multiple branches.

Apache Subversion

Apache Subversion or SVN is an open source version control system originally created 20 years ago and distributed under an Apache licence. It is an alternative to CVS but remains compatible with it.

Benefits of SVN include:

  • history tracking
  • inventory management
  • workflow management
  • atomic operations to prevent database corruption
  • cheap local branching
  • access controls for users
  • security management
  • dedicated server approach
  • multiple team members can work on a project simultaneously
  • simple to use
  • a huge range of plug-ins for IDEs.


Bitbucket is a code source management system for professional developers. You can deploy it on the cloud or a local server. Created by Atlassian you can use it free for up to five users so you can try before buying. It is a single platform for teams to plan, collaborate, test, and deploy code when working on a project.

Benefits of Bitbucket include:

  • integrated with Trello and Jira
  • streamlines writing, testing and deploying code through integrated built-in continuous delivery
  • unlimited free private repositories for teams with fewer than five members
  • fast feedback loops
  • pull requests
  • in-line commenting and discussions in code review
  • IP whitelisting
  • two-step verification for user access
  • access control for users
  • integrated CI/CD
  • permissions for branches.


These are among the best source control management systems for developers. But you have to choose the one that will work best for you. Consider use, purpose and affordability when making the best decision for your team.


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