Software Development with Linux

Book Review : Version Control by Example

MON, 13 MAY 2013

I have read Version Control by Example from Eric Sink a couple of months ago, but let's talk about DataBallet first.

I am happy to have finally moved to DataBallet's NEWS engine for this blog. The main issue was that I needed to migrate all the previous (around 200) posts from flat HTML files to templates and database content. I guess the reason why it took so long to do so was that it wasn't something particularly interesting to do... But at last, this is now done so I will now be ready to share thoughts and other things here. So let's move to the book review.

Published in 2011, the book discuss version control tools, more particularly distributed version control tools. On interesting point of the book is that it does a great comparison of centralized version control tools and distributed version control ones. The same function is described for both, so you can easily see where the differences are, what benefits you get from each, etc.

The first part of the book talk about the basic usage of a centralized version control tool, using Subversion (aka SVN) for examples. The second part of the book cover the exact same functions (commit, checkout, log, etc.) but using distributed version control tools, using Mercurial, Git, and Veracity. Finally, branching workflows and how a distributed version control tool works under the hood is covered in Part 3.

All in all, this book is easy to read. If you are looking for an introduction to distributed version control, and prefer to read it from dead trees or wants to enjoy the many puns and jokes inside, that is a good choice. But, don't be surprised once you've been through it that you only skimmed the topic. Also, the fact that the all the version control functions are described in details for 4 different tools, well, this can a bit boring to read depending on your knowledge level. As of today, the book is priced at around 31$US on Amazon.com. I don't think it is worth that much. If you can get a copy in the range of 10$-15$, that would be alright. A better deal is probably the PDF version available from the author's web site. Judge by yourself if it is worth the paper copy price.