Source Control and Its Role in Software Development

The rise in a reliance upon managed software development services in Charlotte and throughout the national business landscape means that organizations are less versed in maintaining proprietary software and legacy applications. This creates challenges for managed service providers when they are brought in to either revamp or recreate custom software solutions. Source code is often out of date, locked away on no longer accessible databases, or worse, non-existent. When code is accessible, it’s often poorly documented, with features and functionality shoehorned onto the original code structure in ways that make it hard to determine where the original software begins and where additions have been made. 

This is not how software should be maintained. Properly managed, software applications should have a form of source control in place in order to protect their long-term viability and integrity. Apex Technology wants to take this opportunity to help our community understand what source control is and how it plays an important role in the software development process.

 

Source Control Through Source Code Management Tools

At a high level, source control refers to tracking changes to existing software over time and properly documenting the purpose of updates and features. In order to accomplish this, many development teams utilize source code management tools to track and manage updates or changes to the code of a given project. Often executed through an online repository or on an in-house data storage solution, source code management tools allows multiple team members to create features, make performance improvements, or add additional code to a temporary branch from the original code. Software project managers can test these additions, ensuring they are within the scope of the project and solve targeted challenges, and then integrate them into the core version of the code.    

Why Source Control is Crucial to Software Development

Before source control and source control management tools became the accepted norm in the industry, it was fairly common for companies to maintain proprietary software solutions and custom applications with an inhouse group of programmers. As the organization grew and evolved, its IT department would be tasked with using these legacy bits of software as the foundation upon which to add features and build new solutions. Years of this, with different team members contributing to the whole, and the result is an application more resembling Frankenstein’s monster – a convoluted and hashed together solution that is almost impossible to support on the back end when it comes to updates and modifications.

Modern programming conventions solve this and other development problems by ensuring the integrity of the software over time and facilitating stakeholder collaboration so code remains truly focused on solving business challenges. 

Maintains the Integrity of Software and Applications

It’s important to remember that software development is a process largely built around trial-and-error, as team members work to add features and functionality or make improvements to a functional bit of software. Source control ensures the core application remains functional while team members experiment with their methods of solving business challenges, and that the final result is structurally uniform and adheres to development best practices. 

Improves Collaboration, Speeds Up Version Releases

Applications that have historically benefited from source control best practices are easier to work with, modify, and maintain for the hybrid teams of organizations adhering to DevOps principles . Less time is spent trying to reverse engineer spaghetti code, leaving more time for the team to focus on creating business solutions. And with a centralized method for approving code in place, project managers are able to homogenize comments and code structure prior to pushing code out into the live server. This ensures that in the event the organization were to change service providers, or new team members were brought aboard to work on the application or software, they could easily follow the flow of the code and spend more time providing business solutions.  

Source Control and the Future of Your Software

Our DevOps-centered approach to software development services in Charlotte and the surrounding metropolitan area is built around software development best practices and guarantees that your business tools will never hold your organization back. That’s because our primary goal at Apex Technology is to ensure that the proprietary, custom software solutions we create for your organization remain viable and functional for your business to benefit from for years to come.