For anyone involved in development, whether for the Web or a computing platform, Jeff Atwood’s entry, Software Branching and Parallel Universes provides an excellent description of branches and their importance within a version control system and the larger software development cycle.
Perhaps the most accessible way to think of branches is as parallel universes. They’re places where, for whatever reason, history didn’t go quite the same way as it did in your universe. From that point forward, that universe can be slightly different– or it can be radically and utterly transformed. Like the Marvel comic book series What If?, branching lets you answer some interesting and possibly even dangerous “what if” questions with your software development.
Using the concept of parallel universes and a healthy smattering of comic book industry practices, Jeff presents a very readable case to utilize the power of branching more often than many of us do.