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2011/12/06

Book Review - Version Control by Example, or "Thank you, @eric_sink"

For too long, I've worked in environments without version control. There's been backups, either real or virtual, and for the web part there's the Google cache (which saved by butt once as the webmaster for my LUG) but version control has always been something that I know I should be doing, but we've never done. (The one exception was doing temp work at the car parts company. There, we used code reviews and Synergy. Not the good Synergy, which gives you the ability use one keyboard and mouse across several computers in software, but the bad one, the ancient, slow and ponderous configuration management system, which is similar enough to version control that I cannot express the distinction.

So, here's something where I know I should be doing it, but I don't really know how to do it. I've heard enough about Git and have signed up with Github, which put it before Subversion and CVS and the rest of the choices. But, unfortunately, I hadn't heard enough about Git to really know what the heck I should be doing with it.

Then I saw a post by my internet friend Funnel Fiasco about Version Control by Example by Eric Sink, saying how good it was. And, as it turns out, Eric is much more about teaching people about how to not do stupid things than he is about sales, so you can download digital copies, browse through online, and he'll even send you a copy free.

I've had it in my bag for several months without cracking it open, which was stupid of me. Right now, I'm in a decent place at work, with little sitting with a tight deadline, so I have time to go through the book and start  actually learning from it, and wow! I'm getting it! It makes sense. The core of the book is the same examples expressed in Subversion, Mercurial, Veracity and Git, so it serves as a Rosetta Stone, too, so if you know one, you have a step toward using the others if that's what your workplace or project uses.

Thank you, Eric Sink!