Is it possible to detect if a site is using a version control system
Guessing this is most likely not possible, at least by any easy or legal means, but I’m curious if maybe there is some small thing left behind in the public domain by a version control system that would be possible to detect.
Even if its not possible to detect every type of version control, maybe there’s a way to see one. Or maybe just a way to see that version control in general is being used, but not specifically which brand.
For instance, if a site is using git, maybe there is a certain hash added to the end of a file that is available on the server and only git uses that structure. Or maybe there is a way to detect that a file has been recently changed and mercurial performed a specific change to the line endings.
Looking for outside of the box answers here
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There is no reliable way to find that out, but sometimes there traces left in projects. Most common thing is the configuration of the version control system
Git creates a folder called .git, in subversion it’s called .svn.
You can try to access them on a website:
Try something like
http://website.com/.svn and so on.
If that folder exists, they are most likely using this VCS.
Mind you, if it does not exist, this does not mean they are not using this VCS. Many servers will be configured to hide these folders from visitors.
It will be faster to google or ask. Since you’re talking about big companies just google, check quora, or check the skills listed on their job postings. For example:
The funny thing, though, is that what they are using is very rarely what they want to be using and would pick now, so it’s not terribly useful data. Google still officially uses Perforce, but everyone there wishes they were on a modern DVCS.
Look at the source code for comments that the developers may have left in. You’d be surprised what teams will leave in there source code comments. While you will not be able to see the server language comments, perhaps the team left a ton of html comments on the site. Some might point the way to the answer you are looking for. Probably nothing like
<!--Git is so cool. I love that we use it on this project--> but maybe something that talks about what they are using. This is no guarantee, but if you read through all of the source you can see you just might find your answer.