Allow file-based versioning/snapshotting of all media relating to a project
An After Effects project is frozen. As such all media related to that project must remain untouched yet remain in their location on the file system while still allowing the next version to build on the previous version.
Currently, to support this, I version all media using the prefix _v###. Then, every time I need to freeze a project, I duplicate all the versioned files and increment the version numbers. Sometimes files are renamed, sometimes files are deleted in the process, yet the versions before remain untouched.
In fact, depending on the structure, the files of the new version may not even sit in the same folder as the original version but are moved to a versioned directory.
Some media even remain shared and unversioned, such as stock images. These are simply filed under their appropriate common folders and referenced by each version of the project as needed.
A few things that would aid this project management approach would be ASCII-based project files and the use of a source control system (see https://adobe-video.uservoice.com/forums/911311-after-effects/suggestions/34953394-ascii-project-files) but would create a lot of extra overhead and complexity for most.
A simple file-based approach would be much simpler and easier to understand for most people yet provide some much needed power in terms of version control. Yes, sure it would mean people could still touch files they shouldn't touch and not know, something that a source control system would prevent.
Note that not only After Effects but Premiere Pro as well as Photoshop could all implement this file-based method of versioning/snapshotting all their projects and related media.
Yes, I realise After Effects and Premiere Pro both allow media to be collected. The part that's missing from this process, however, is for all related media to be versioned. But not only that, it does flatten the file structure, and that's not always ideal and requires a lot of additional work to rebuild, including relinking media.