FAQ: Source Control or Version Control?

A common terminology question I see is, "Is it source control or version control?"

From the Team System Glossary, version control is "[t]he establishment and maintenance of baselines and the identification of changes to baselines that make it possible to return to the previous baseline." Team Foundation Server is a change management system that integrates version control, issue tracking, software build automation, project metrics reporting, and process management. Team Foundation Version Control is the version control feature of Team Foundation Server.

Since you can use Team Foundation Version Control to manage files other than software source code, such as images and other binaries, we consider it a version control system. However, Visual Studio has a number of existing user interfaces that use the term source control. For the sake of consistency, we chose to use source control in the Team Foundation Server and Team Explorer user interfaces (such as Source Control Explorer). Likewise, we use source control in the product documentation. For the most part, we only use version control in the feature name.

Wikipedia redirects both source control and version control to its entry on the older engineering term, revision control, which I haven't seen since I worked at Newport News Shipbuilding in mid-90s.


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