Why Does an Electronics Designer Need a Version Control System?
Say you made a change to a project and realized there was a mistake and wanted to revert back to a previous revision, or if you wanted to maintain multiple versions of a product, how would you do that? What if you wanted to see the differences between two versions of your PCB document? What if you wanted to experiment a new concept without interfering with a working PCB design? Or sometimes you wanted to see how much work is being done, and where, when and by whom. This is where a Version Control System would be beneficial.
SVN Version Control:
Though there are many types of Version Control softwares, a good Version Control system such as an Apache Subversion, not only smoothes out collaboration, it can also help establish better PCB design practices. For instance, it's a good idea to review your changes before checking them in. A VCS will list the modified files and showing you the difference easily in simple clicks. Similarly, a VCS should be able to help you review the changes made by others, either during synchronization or at a later time, by comparing historical versions. After going through multiple reviews, your design would become more reliable. You'll spend less time proofreading and more time on designing.
Altium Designer and SVN Version Control:
Altium Designer supports Apache subversion (SVN) and Concurrent Versions System (CVS). Because it has direct support for SVN it gives access to many of the standard SVN commands, including the ability to create a repository, commit/update files, as well as being able to access file revisions from within Altium Designer. This works well with the schematic and PCB comparison features, making it easy to quickly compare and identify differences between two revisions of a schematic or PCB.
There are two ways to perform version control with Altium:
- Use the internal inbuilt SVN
- Use an external SVN client such as Tortoise SVN
Learn how to perform version control with the internal SVN system within Altium Designer by watching the video below.