Use Local History to Avoid Disaster

Use the IDE's built-in history facility to recover changes when VCS can't help you.

Movies aren't the only things with time machines.

You mistakenly made a big change or deleted a file, and either you aren't under version control or the change was since your last commit. Local History to the rescue.

In Depth

This is the "Oh my goodness you saved my sanity" tip.

Sometimes you are in a project that's isn't yet under version control. Or, you've done a lot of work since your last commit.

Then, disaster make a big change, or delete a chunk of code, and Undo is too far away (too much has been typed in) to help.

Or worse, you deleted a file. Oh, that sinking feeling.

Local History to the rescue. Our IDEs have a built-in facility that tracks revisions for all IDE-initiated changes. On a file, Show History brings up a listing of changes on the left. On the right, a diff for the selected change compared to the current file. You can apply parts of the diff or right-click on the change to "revert" the current contents to the contents at that revision.

If you selected a directory and opened Show History, it shows file changes, including deletions and can thus revert a delete by right-clicking on the change that did the delete.

By default changes are retained for 5 days, but this is configurable.

Local History has more features, such as applying labels to simulate branches and generating patches. It isn't a replacement for a VCS, but it is very helpful when disaster strikes.

Full Video