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What is the Concurrent Versions System?

By Adrem Siratt
Updated May 16, 2024
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The Concurrent Versions System (CVS) is used by software developers to keep track of the development process. Many software projects, particularly in the field of open-source development, require developers in different parts of the world to collaborate to create and maintain software. Also known as the Concurrent Versioning System, CVS is a method used to ensure that each developer can keep track of changes that are made within the software.

Software development is a rigorous process. The behind-the-scenes work that goes into creating software applications often involves hours of work resolving "software bugs," or errors in the program that cause unintended results. By using a Concurrent Versions System, developers are not only able to keep track of all changes that are made to the application, they also are able to "roll back" those changes if problems develop. This helps to minimize the time it takes to develop the software application.

Most types of Concurrent Versions Systems work by having a central server that stores the programming code and documentation. Clients can connect to this server to request a copy of the code or documentation, perform revisions on it, then upload it back to the server. The server will then store the new changes without deleting the prior copy. This is how a CVS is able to ensure that software developers can undo any changes that are made to the programming or documentation.

This system also allows the CVS to help software developers in the creation and maintenance of software documentation for their applications. By having a concurrent versions system, developers are able to keep track of all changes and additions made to a program since the last release. This enables documentation writers to add descriptions of the new features to existing documentation rather than requiring them to write new documentation from scratch. This can greatly decrease production time and cost of software documentation.

As open-source development has increased, the importance of CVS in the programming world also has increased. Traditional software development teams generally have been located within a small geographic area on a closed system. Open-source development, on the other hand, often features software programmers from across the world collaborating on a single project. Without a system like CVS, open-source development would be impractical.

Even though the Concurrent Versions System saw its rise through open-source development, its applications in other fields of business are immeasurable. The field of law has often kept track of changes, making CVS useful for legal applications. No matter what its use, the benefits of the Concurrent Versions System have become quite obvious since its development.

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