10 Best Source Code Management Tools For Version Control

Here, we review top Source Code Management Tools, and determine the best Source Code Management software to track application code changes:

Source code management tools, also known as version control or revision control systems, are used to track changes to application code and allow teams to collaborate on the same application at the same time.

Most of the versioning systems have a concept of branches, where each developer can create or fork a branch for the project they are working on and modify one or multiple files.

When the developers want to push their changes to the main branch of the application, they can create a “Pull” request which comprises the difference of changes between the main branch and the developers’ branches and allows other team members to review changes and push the code to the main branch.

Best Source Code Management Tools (1)

Source Code Management Tools

In a nutshell, all the version control systems perform the following:

  • Provide a mechanism to keep track of file changes.
  • Allow multiple team members to work on the same file simultaneously.
  • Provides UI- or web-based interfaces for developers to visually see the differences between the two versions of the same file.
  • Provides a technique to resolve conflicts when the same line in a file is changed by multiple members of the team.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q #1) What is a source code commit?

Answer: A source code commit is a set of changes to one or multiple files created by a team member working on a software project.

Think Commit as a container that comprises all the changes being made by the developer. The commits can then apply to the main branch of the code in order to publish the changes and make them usable by other team members.

Q #2) Is “Git” a source code management tool?

Answer: Yes, “Git” is a software tool that enables version control of the source code.

Git helps to:

  • Track different versions of the same file.
  • Resolve conflicts in changes to the same file(s) by different team members.
  • Allow teams to collaborate on the same set of files simultaneously.

Q #3) What are the different source code management tools?

Answer: There are different source code management tools available for use and a lot of them are also open-source and free to use. Depending on the team’s requirements, an appropriate tool can be used.

Tools integrating project management and build pipeline features are GitLab and Team Foundation Server.

For on-premise setup, teams can use Git, Subversion, CVS, etc.

Q #4) Is Jenkins a source code management tool?

Answer: Jenkins, by itself, is not a source code management tool. It’s primarily used to set up CI/CD pipelines. It, however, provides integration with a lot of Version Control tools like Git, CVS, and Subversion.

Jenkins plugins are available for these version control tools that can be installed and used to build pipelines.

Q #5) What is the difference between Git and Github?

Answer: Git is an open-source version control system that lets you perform versioning for a repository that is created or initialized using Git.

Github, on the other hand, is a cloud-based hosting service (which is currently owned by Microsoft) that allows you to host repositories on the cloud and, besides source control, allows additional features like:

  • Git-based workflows
  • Pull requests
  • Integration with CI tools.

Q #6) What is the difference between SVN and GIT?

Answer: Both SVN and GIT are version control systems. SVN or Subversion is a centralized system where you can check out a single version of a repository which implies, even without being connected to the Internet, you can still perform mergers, reviews, etc.

GIT is a distributed version control system where, upon checking out the repository, you get a complete snapshot of the repository including all commit history till that point.

Q #7) How do I create a repository?

Answer: Depending on the source code management tool chosen, there can be different ways to instantiate or create a repository using the tool.

For example, if Git is the chosen tool, you can create all your source code and just type git init

This command will initialize all the settings and files required for Git to function properly. Once you commit/staging your code, it will be available as a Git repository for others to download/contribute.

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List Of The Best Source Code Management Tools

Here is the list of popular source code versioning and management tools:

  1. GitHub
  2. Git
  3. GitLab
  4. Apache Subversion (SVN)
  5. CVS
  6. Mercurial
  7. Monotone
  8. Bitbucket Server
  9. Team Foundation Server (TFS)
  10. Bazaar

Comparing Top Source Code Management Software

GithubEnables large development teams to collaborate, review, and manage software or application code• Offers free trial
• Team: $4 per user/month
• Enterprise: $21 per user/month
BitbucketOne-stop solution for versioning, project management, and collaboration across teams of any size• Free for small teams with up to 5 members
• Standard and Premium come at $3 and $6 per user/month, respectively
GitlabUsed for end-to-end project lifecycle with git-based tools: version control, project management, CI/CD• Free for individuals
• Premium and Ultimate editions come at a cost of $19 and $99 per user/month, respectively
Team Foundation ServerEnterprise-grade source control management tool that supports integration with most of the existing IDEs• Offers free trial
• Basic Plan: $2 per user/month
• Azure Pipelines: $15 per parallel job
Apache SubversionOpen-source version control system supporting file locking and merge tracking• Open source: deployed on premise and is free to use

Review of source code versioning and management tools:

#1) GitHub

Best for distributed version control across multiple teams.



  • Enables large development teams to collaborate, review, and manage software/application code.
  • Provides integration with Bug tracking tools.
  • Built-in support for access control and permissions.


  • Supports Windows, Mac, and mobile devices.
  • Supports cloud-based deployment.
  • Can manage multiple projects and permissions at a granular level.
  • Great documentation and support.


  • Security for high-value intellectual property projects/codes can be a concern, as Github is available as a cloud-based setup.
  • Reviewing large pull requests can be tedious and time-consuming.


  • Free trial is available with limited support for individuals and organizations.
  • Other options are the Team version at $4/user/month and Enterprise at $21/user/month.

=> Visit Github Website

#2) Git

Best for teams that have high-value intellectual software code/applications like – banking software and defense-related applications.



  • On-premise setup of Git softwares.


  • Easy to learn.
  • Supports distributed versioning.
  • On-premise setup is fast and secure.
  • Doesn’t have a single point of failure as each pull of Git will put an entire copy of the repository locally.
  • All files and commits are checksummed and hence, it ensures the integrity of the code.


  • Since it’s free, developers will need to rely on community support.
  • On-premise setup can be difficult to manage, especially with other integrations like CI tools.


  • Open-source and free to use.

=> Visit Git Website

#3) GitLab

Best for being used as end-to-end project life cycle with Git-based tools like version control, project management, CI/CD, etc.



  • It supports Git workflows, CI/CD integration, project management.
  • It has over 30 million users & 100 thousand organizations.
  • Single application for the entire DevOps life cycle.


  • Uses standard Git underneath for version control.
  • Easy to use and learn.
  • Good support (depending on the pricing tiers).


  • High pricing tags make it less viable for larger teams and organizations.


  • Free for individuals.
  • Premium and Ultimate editions come at a cost of $19 and $99 per user/month, respectively.

=> Visit Gitlab Website

#4) Apache Subversion

Best for small to mid-sized teams who are looking for basic versioning features.



  • Open-source version control system.
  • Supports merge tracking and file locking.


  • Well documented and maintained.
  • Visual Highlighting helps with quick conflict resolution.


  • Does not support basic features like Pull requests.
  • Can’t be used as a distributed system.


  • Open-source and free to use.

=> Visit Subversion Website

#5) CVS

Best for teams of any size that are looking for basic versioning needs. However, since it’s quite old, teams now prefer modern versioning solutions like Git.



  • CVS stands for Concurrent Version Control Systems.
  • Simple and sophisticated version control capabilities.


  • Basic version control needs.
  • Conflict resolution is straightforward.


  • It’s slightly outdated as it was one of the first available version control systems, and most modern solutions provide all these features.
  • Merging with multiple commits can sometimes be painful.


  • Open-source and free to use.

=> Visit CVS Website

#6) Mercurial

Best for teams of any size looking to get started with version control of their code.



  • Web-based version control system.
  • Simple branching for hassle-free development.


  • Intuitive interface
  • Good IDE support
  • Easy to learn and use


  • The in-built merging tool can get complicated when there are a lot of merging conflicts.
  • Lack of pagination support for listing commit logs


  • Open-source and free to use

=> Visit Mercurial Website

#7) Monotone

Best for slightly outdated, but can be used by small- to mid-sized teams for basic versioning needs.



  • Single-file transactional version control.
  • Lightweight branches.


  • Easy to learn.
  • Support a three-way merge.
  • Functional on all major OS – Windows, Mac, Unix/Linux.


  • Not as popular as other versioning tools.


  • Open-source and free to use

=> Visit Monotone Website

#8) Bitbucket Server

Best for teams already using Atlassian-based products like Confluence and Jira should go with Bitbucket to unleash the full power of the Atlassian suite.



  • One-stop solution for versioning, project management, and collaboration.
  • Team-based workspaces.


  • Great integration with Atlassian products like Confluence and Jira.
  • Friendly GUI and easy to learn.
  • Supports automated deployment and testing.


  • Integration with external systems is not straightforward.
  • User permissions and ACLs are complicated to use.


  • Free for small teams with up to 5 members.
  • Standard and Premium come at $3 and $6 per user/month, respectively.

=> Visit Bitbucket Website

#9) Team Foundation Server

Best for teams that mostly use Microsoft suite of tools. They should go for Team Foundation Server (currently known as Azure DevOps server).



  • Enterprise-grade source control management tool.
  • Integrates with existing IDE for teams to work and collaborate efficiently.


  • User-friendly interface and good integration with Microsoft tools like Visual Studio.
  • Integrates project management and Bug tracking.
  • Office 365 Integration.


  • Licenses are costly.
  • Does not provide a lot of integration with non-Microsoft-based tools.


  • Offers free trial
  • Basic Plan: $2 per user/month
  • Azure Pipelines: $15 per parallel job

=> Visit TFS Website

#10) Bazaar

Best for small- to mid-sized teams who are looking for lightweight version control tools.



  • Version Control system and track project history over time.
  • Offers rename tracking and smart merging.


  • Lightweight with web visualization.
  • High storage efficiency.
  • Offers cross-platform GUI application.


  • Not very popular.
  • Doesn’t offer a lot of 3rd party tools integration.
  • Permissions and ACLs are not very convenient to use.


  • Open-source and free to use

=> Visit Bazaar Website


In this tutorial, we learned about different source code management tools, their features, and their pros and cons.

Version control systems are one of the most important tools used by almost all the development teams to keep a track of changes to the application code and help multiple team members to collaborate on the same project simultaneously.

The most commonly based and adopted tools by teams of small and large enterprises are GitHub and GitLab which provide almost all the required features under one roof.

Both can provide secure cloud-based hosting solutions for repositories and great integration with CI/CD tools and defect management tools. They also provide an integrated mechanism for Pull requests and reviews.

All these features make these a preferred choice for most of the new projects and organizations.

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