Revision Control System

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What Does Revision Control System Mean?

A revision control system (RCS) is an application capable of storing, logging, identifying, merging or identifying information related to the revision of software, application documentation, papers or forms. Most revision control systems store this information with the help of a differential utility for documents.


A revision control system is an essential tool for an organization with multi-developer tasks or projects, as it is capable of identifying issues and bugs and of retrieving an earlier working version of an application or document whenever required.

A revision control system is also known as a version control system.

Techopedia Explains Revision Control System

Most revision control systems run as independent standalone applications. There are two types of revision control systems: centralized and decentralized. Some applications like spreadsheets and word processors have built-in revision control mechanisms. Designers and developers at times use revision control for maintaining the documentation along with the configuration files for their developments. High-quality documentation and products are possible with the proper use of revision control systems.

A revision control system has the following features:

  • For all documents and document types, up-to-date history can be made available.
  • It is a simple system and does not require other repository systems.
  • For every document maintained, check-ins and check-outs can be done.
  • It has the ability to retrieve and revert to an old version of the document. This is extremely helpful in case of accidental deletions.
  • In a streamlined manner, side features and bugs can be identified and fixed using the system. Troubleshooting is also made easier.
  • Its tag system helps in differentiating between alpha, beta or release versions for different documents or applications.
  • Collaboration becomes easier in a multi-person application development project.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.