I was trained 18 years ago on SmallWorld GIS.
 At that time Smallworld had a database technology with versioning
capability called VMDS (Version Managed Data Store) and was unique at that
time. 
Versioning, allows multiple revisions of the data without duplicating all
the data, or requiring different databases to be created. As data Versioning
showed to be very important, other vendors like ESRI-Arcgis implemented
their own versioning system, with some similarities and differences.

 But to be concise: The concept of Version is analogous to the concept that
has of drawing in a plane of paper. The creation of a version is analogous
to the process of making a photocopy of the parent version. But once the
photocopy is created the modifications in the original are NOT transferred
to the copy and vice versa. The only way to transfer the changes between two
different versions, is through the "POST" function. In the case of
SmallWorld, it also has a “MERGE” function to transfer the changes between
two different versions.

SmallWorld VMDS (Version Managed Data Store), allowed also checkpoints, so
you could go back to a checkpoint state of the data inside a version
(usually history related, like a log.).
I have been investigating spatial data versioning, for almost 2 decades.

PostGIS/PostgreSQL does not handle data versioning like SmallWorld VMDS.
But, thanks to new improvements in Postgres engine, I was able to create a
Qgis plugin that integrates with Postgres-Postgis database and allows
spatial data versioning, user security administration and project
management.
https://plugins.qgis.org/plugins/FastVersion/






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