Repository

In software development, a repository is a central file storage location. It is used by version control systems to store multiple versions of files. While a repository can be configured on a local machine for a single user, it is often stored on a server, which can be accessed by multiple users.

A repository contains three primary elements — a trunk, branches, and tags. The trunk contains the current version of a software project. This may include multiple source code files, as well as other resources used by the program. Branches are used to store new versions of the program. A developer may create a new branch whenever he makes substantial revisions to the program. If a branch contains unwanted changes, it can be discontinued. Otherwise, it can be merged back into the trunk as the latest version. Tags are used to save versions of a project, but are not meant for active development. For example, a developer may create a "release tag" each time a new version of the software is released.

A repository provides a structured way for programmers to store development files. This can be helpful for any type of software development, but it is especially important for large development projects. By committing changes to a repository, developers can quickly revert to a previous version of a program if a recent update causes bugs or other problems. Many version control systems even support side-by-side comparisons of different versions of files saved in the repository, which can be helpful for debugging source code. Additionally, when a repository is stored on a server, users can "check out" files for editing, which prevents files from being edited by more than one user at a time.

Updated August 18, 2011

Definitions by TechTerms.com

The definition of Repository on this page is an original TechTerms.com definition. If you would like to reference this page or cite this definition, you can use the green citation links above.

The goal of TechTerms.com is to explain computer terminology in a way that is easy to understand. We strive for simplicity and accuracy with every definition we publish. If you have feedback about the Repository definition or would like to suggest a new technical term, please contact us.

Want to learn more tech terms? Subscribe to the daily or weekly newsletter and get featured terms and quizzes delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the free TechTerms Newsletter

How often would you like to receive an email?

You can unsubscribe or change your frequency setting at any time using the links available in each email.

Questions? Please contact us.