Product Features
Tech Tips

Copia vs. the Archive Folder

Published on
November 2, 2021

Copia provides significant advantages over an archive folder for tracking and managing changes to programmable logic controller (PLC) source code. An archive folder gives you a place to store files, but its value largely ends there. With Copia, you can do so much more than keep all of your PLC program files in a shared location. Our Git-based solution is designed to help you put time back in your day so that you and your team can work more efficiently.

The Power of Git

Git is a distributed version control system. Copia adds a special layer so that it’s easy to identify changes, work collaboratively, and deploy workflow solutions that are built around your existing tools. An archive folder just lets you see the names of files and how they’re organized. You can open files (if they’re not locked), but it can be hard to track changes and work collaboratively.

Part of the problem with using an archive folder is that you’re relying on everyone to name files correctly and to upload all of their work at the end of each workday. As a Git-based solution, Copia doesn’t need you to perform these manual tasks. The identifiers that Git uses come from the object itself and Copia saves your work completely and automatically.     

Plus, Copia archives source code in context so that you can see who made the changes and when and why. It’s also easy to spot differences in two versions of a file (i.e., diffing). Because there’s a complete revision history, you can always review prior changes. With an archive folder, you may have to rely upon developer notes (if they exist) or compare file contents based on file dates. That’s tough with binary code.

Copia delivers Git version control directly to PLC files

Ease, Speed, and Efficiency

An archive folder might work for a lone developer, but Copia makes it easy to collaborate with a team. With an archive folder, you probably can’t open a file that’s in-use or see who’s working on what. If file sharing is supported, you risk overwriting a co-worker’s code or having your own work overwritten. There’s also a chance that someone may accidentally delete a file or remove it to save space.

Copia lets multiple developers work on the same file – and without copying and pasting code. This increases efficiency, but it also reduces the risk of error. From any master branch, you can create parallel branches that represent separate lines of development activity. You can then merge these separate branches back into a single branch. Those are features you won’t get from an archive folder.

Finally, Copia streamlines project organization. With Git, there’s a working tree, a staging area, and a remote repository. You can organize an archive folder however you’d like, but that might not be so efficient. Creating too few directories can lead to a lot of scrolling but creating too many directories makes things unmanageable.   

Try Copia for Yourself

Are you ready for a faster, easier, and more efficient way to track and manage PLC source code? Sign-up now for a free 14-day Copia trial