A repository is a central directory for storing files, documents, or even data models. Depending on the application, there are different types of repositories. In the most common cases, it is a so-called code repository, which contains the latest programming status in a software project. The repository is a central element in the version control system Git, with the help of which different code states can be collected and merged in the course of the project.
What are the different types of repositories?
Basically, repositories differ according to the areas of application. The most common applications are in the area of data and version control of software projects. Accordingly, a distinction is made:
- Data repositories are a common storage location for structured and unstructured data. This generic term thus covers various data stores, such as a data warehouse, data lake or database. They are used to have a central storage location for data and thus to be able to ensure data quality.
- A code repository, on the other hand, is the central storage location for programming code, as used in various version control systems such as Git. This involves downloading individual files from the central repository to make changes or add new features to the code. Once this is complete, the file is uploaded back to the directory, and functionality is ensured with the other files.
How does Git work?
Git is so-called decentralized version control. Each programmer has a copy of the current repository, i.e. the directory, stored on his local computer. With this local copy, the programmer can then either create new files in the project or modify existing ones. At the same time, he can also test locally and ensure that the local changes do not affect the functionality of the overall program.
After downloading the latest version, you create a branch in which the new development is programmed. As soon as you have made and tested the changes, you can commit them, i.e. save them. Afterward, however, you cannot simply upload the latest version directly back into the repository.
In the time between the last download of the repository and the implementation of the change, other team members may have overwritten the repository. For this reason, you perform a pull request to have the latest version of the repository on your local computer. Then you can “merge” this new state with the changes in the branch. In doing so, you make sure that your own changes do not have a negative impact on the work of others.
What is the purpose of the code repository?
The code repository enables the use of central version management, which ensures that the various code states are accessible to the entire team and thus there is no confusion. In addition, it is mainly used for open-source software that is not managed by a central team, but by a large community that is not so easy to define precisely.
A similar principle is currently being used in Germany to create a public platform for German administrations in which software can be exchanged and further developed. This will create transparency for the public about the systems in use and at the same time create a leaner and less expensive administration.
In a broader sense, this central platform also offers many opportunities in larger-scale projects that would otherwise not be so easy to manage. For example, GitHub provides a central and public code repository where programmers can publicly share projects and engage in exchange.
What are the advantages of a data repository?
By centrally storing data that is accessible to the entire organization, it is easier to ensure data quality and that everyone in the organization has the same level of information. Otherwise, confusion can arise due to different files that may have been created at different times and thus represent different statuses.
In addition, centralization also makes it easier to set up access management so that confidential data can only be accessed by selected people. These can then create targeted evaluations or reports for the data they have access.
Finally, the centralized data offering can also save storage space, as users may refrain from building decentralized data silos and store replicas of existing information in them.
This is what you should take with you
- A repository is a central directory for storing files, documents or data models.
- In the application, different types of repositories are distinguished. The most common are code or data repositories.
- Data repositories are a central location for storing data, which can be used to ensure data quality and manage access authorizations.
- A code repository is used to manage the latest code status in a project and to simplify teamwork.
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This link will take you to GitHub. It is probably the best-known form of the code repository.