Empowered User: Version Control


Version Control

Version control is one of those computer chores like backing up. We know that we *should* do it, but it is far too easy to start coding without having a good version control system in place. Then, when disaster strikes, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.

In an essay for Six Revisions, Anatoly Paraev explains version control by comparing it to the "file history" in Adobe Photoshop. However, he notes that "version control is much better than history in Photoshop: you also get a never-ending undo, effortless backup, peace of mind, and a more organized way of storing different versions of your work. You can have all of these things simply by taking a few minutes to read this article to understand what version control systems are."

"With version control systems, file versions are stored in a special database (usually called a repository). The fact that the history of a file is stored separately from the file itself adds extra safety: even if the file becomes corrupted, you can always restore any of its other versions from the history."

To earn this badge, you will experiment with a version control system called GIT. You will also use a graphical "front end" for GIT that is called SourceTree.


  1. Read through Joe Chellman's essay "Version control: It's not just for programmers anymore" on the Lynda blog.
  2. On Lynda.Com, track down Joe Chellman's tutorial "Version Control for Everyone" and work through all five modules. The total length of the tutorial is approximately two hours, so you should expend approximately three hours following along with the tutorial.
  3. Don't just watch and try to memorize the steps. Instead, you should follow along with the instructor, with your hands on the mouse and keyboard. In order to do this, you will need to download the "exercise files" that are linked to the lesson. If you are unable to locate the files, please contact me, and I'll point you in the right direction.
  4. Take screenshots of the changes you make as you follow along with Chellman's directions. Specifically, be sure to take a screenshot which depicts the use of version control to handle changes in the sample screenplay, changes to a Word document, and changes to Photoshop album cover files.
  5. In a short (4 to 6 paragraph) posting on your personal blog, discuss your experience with version control. What difficulties, if any, did you encounter? Can you see how you would incorporate this in your workflow in the future? Could you imagine using version control tools for other types of activities (i.e. not just programming)?
  6. When finished, please send a short e-mail with the subject line: "Pending: Empowered User Version Control" to adelwich@trinity.edu and be sure to include a link to your blog posting.


Last Revised: January 3, 2017
Please report problems with this page.