Use Version Control

For most developers these days this advice will sound obvious. For others, almost superfluous.  However, despite being in this game for 15 years and seeing the carnage, I still come across developers who need to take heed of this almost retro-like advice.

These guys are not unicorns. They exist. I can even categorise them:

  1. those who don’t know about version control
  2. those who have heard of it but haven’t bothered to invest in it
  3. those who are “too cool for school” to use it

You Don’t Know What You’re Missing

For those developers out there who still haven’t heard of version control let alone it’s merits, the message is quite simple: Start Using It! You don’t know what you’re missing. I mean that figuratively and literally.  If you know one of these people please help them out; point them to this page and point them towards a good version control tool out there. If you are one of these people, please take this advice. Even if its blindly. You will be thankful for it later.

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got Til It’s Gone

For those developers who “never quite get round to it cos they’re too busy doing real work”.  If you think you’re busy now, just wait a delivery deadline is fast approaching and your development environment goes up in smoke, taking the months of real work with it. Forget pink hotels and yellow taxis, we’re talking the grey matter of software development basics here. The dog ate my homework excuse won’t wash with your customers. Or your boss. And neither it should, you’re a professional now, not a school kid.

You Don’t Know

For those developers who think they don’t “need” version control, they are doing everyone a disservice. They usually prefer to be called hackers. They usually haven’t come from a computer science or engineering background. A lot of them are brilliant coders, but that doesn’t make them brilliant developers, and especially not brilliant craftsmen. What most of them are is lucky. Lucky that so far they haven’t been stung. Some day it will come.  To those hackers, if they don’t believe these warnings, and think its an engineering discipline you don’t need, then at least have some respect. Respect for your peers. Respect for your customers. Respect for your craft and profession.

(note: there can’t be many other tech posts out there with unicorns, pink hotels, yellow taxis and homework-eating dogs)


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