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Wed, 17 Sep 2003

This is an archived blog post. I've switched to using WordPress as my blogging software and have not migrated all my old posts. I believe strongly in not letting an old link die, so this page continues to work. Please do visit mikemason.ca/blog to read newer posts.

Source Control As Backup

At lunch today I was chatting to colleagues, generally setting the world to rights, and one of the guys said, “But source control isn’t backup – you should backup your laptop anyhow.” We were discussing the problem of having a large set of changes on a particular machine, which was pertinent since my laptop decided to die on me last week.

The thing is, I do think of my source control mechanism as backup. I don’t consider a change I’ve made to be “real” until it hits source control and other people can see it. In ideal conditions I’d like to check in whenever I’d produced anything significant – I like to think this happens several times a day. So if I’m checking in every few hours, source control is indistinguishable from a backup medium. In fact, it’s better than a backup medium because I’m exercising it more often (incremental daily backup is the most frequent backup I can imagine doing).

I could take this further, couple it with TDD and say I should commit every time I’ve added a test and have a green bar. This is probably a little too much, but I’d certainly like my environment to support frequent checkins. You’ll need to fix any Infrastructure Smells first though – this doesn’t work very well if someone makes a mistake and the cost of a build breakage is high.

Posted 13:56, 17 Sep 2003.  

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