Collaborate and Connect with Subversion

by Ryan Irelan

43 Reader Comments

Back to the Article
  1. You listed Version which is a proprietary software in beta version….

    SvnX is a great open source solution and definitely usable.

    http://www.lachoseinteractive.net/en/community/subversion/svnx/

    I would have expect that ALA proposed open source alternatives to proprietary ones (at least both).

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  2. Thanks for the note on SvnX, Hadrien. I do know about it and that it is open source, however, in my use—and by some of the team at Airbag—we found it extremely difficult to use. In fact, that’s the reason I just had the people I work with learn the small handful of SVN commands on the CLI because it was actually easier than trying to navigate SvnX.

    There was no conspiracy to eliminate open source software, I just can’t recommend it as a application to use. Versions (and now Cornerstone) are much better choices on the Mac. However, I still recommend people first learn how to use SVN on the CLI. I feel it offers a greater understanding of how SVN works.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  3. I’m a ‘back-end’ developer and use SVN (having moved from the evil Microsoft VSS).  Personally after getting my head around a few concepts I’ve never had any issues with it (not sure why there are lots of moans about merging problems – it’s really quite good).  Choosing a version control system shouldn’t be a big beauty contest – if it works (and svn does a fine job) stop comparing it with all of the other shiny and new version control systems.

    To the point of my post – at work I use “Eclipse”:http://www.eclipse.org/ for Java development with “Subclipse”:http://subclipse.tigris.org/ which builds version control right into the editor.  You can browse repositories, do diffs and pretty much anything you can do with Versions or Tortoise.  It’s excellent.  At home I also use “Aptana”:http://www.aptana.com on a mac (as I do more script work at home) which is built on eclipse, so I can use the same Subclipse plugin at home too.  Eclipse/Aptana are written in Java so run on macs and PC’s and are open source – so it’s a great editing tool all round for me.  It’s flexible too – you can install eclipse and get an Aptana plugin or just install Aptana on its own. I highly recommend it for back-end server-side development and front-end web development needs and especially recommend it for simple SVN integration.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  4. Ok, I understand your point on SvnX and I agree with learning people to use svn CLI to better understand Subversion.  (Anyway, my comment was a bit subversive :D )

    I do also use Eclipse which is to my opinion one of the best IDE ever which integrates all languages and tools (because of a pluginable architecture).

    Eclipse (with “Aptana”:http://www.aptana.com/docs/index.php/Plugging_Aptana_into_an_existing_Eclipse_configuration , “Subclipse”:http://subclipse.tigris.org , “Flex”:http://www.adobe.com/products/flex/ , “Sysdeo”:http://www.eclipsetotale.com/tomcatPlugin.html , “Mylyn”:http://www.eclipse.org/mylyn/ plugins) permits me to code front-end (AJAX/HTML/Javascript/Flex/AS3) and back end (Java EE/Tomcat/PHP), linked with “scm”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software_configuration_management (subversion – “trac”:http://trac.edgewall.org/ – “bugzilla”:www.bugzilla.org/ – “Jira”:http://www.atlassian.com/software/jira/ ), and also debug the whole application (backend + frontend) in the same environment which is one of several added values (like being a platform independent software).

    BUT, it is quite developer oriented and I would not expect from a web designer to be able to use such a tool in a natural manner.

    Anyway, thank you for the article on subversion. I know so many web agencies which work without any versioning tools. At end of projects, there are always file like
    final_4_f.new.psd and it always got on everybody’s nerves to search for the good version.

    Questions :
    Do they teach about versioning in web design schools ?
    Don’t you think that any computing related studies should include a course on versioning and how to work better/faster ?

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  5. Questions : Do they teach about versioning in web design schools ? Don’t you think that any computing related studies should include a course on versioning and how to work better/faster ?

    That’s a great question. I didn’t go to school for new media or web design, so I don’t know. My guess would be that most schools don’t teach it. But I’d encourage others to chime in on that.

    I think a course on workflow would be helpful and that should include talking about version control.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  6. I think a course on workflow would be helpful and that should include talking about version control.

    +1
    That is what I should have write :)
    Learning versioning without any workflow concerns is irrelevant.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  7. one of the main advantages of subversion for me is that it is well integrated with most tools that i use:
    Editor: BBEdit has built in svn-support so I can commit, diff, merge and view logs from right within the editor. The same holds true for eclipse of course.
    Project mangement: we work with freelancers from all over the world (germany, india, italy, us) for coding and webdesign (yes we are one of those small web-outfits…) and use trac for managing our projects. Trac is also very well integrated, so you basiclly have one website per project where you can see all the tickets that are being worked on, and a very convenient view of the project’s history in the codebase. All svn commits are neatly listed and displayed with all the code changes instantly visible.
    This setup (svn, trac, eclipse, other editors) has turned out to be a very successful workflow for a number of projects from small to large in the past year so I can highly recommend svn even while it may not be bleeding edge. It just gets the job done. Also: al of our freelancers already used and knew it, so no problems with integrating new members into projects.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  8. I’ve switched all my personal stuff to mercurial – when I’m away from internet, it’s nice to still be able to commit changes in my local working repo, then push them back to my main repository when I get back to the world.

    Having come from RCS -> CVS -> SVN, the fact that most Mercurial commands have the same syntax as the SVN ones makes me happy.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  9. I used SmartSVN for the Mac for years, until I switched over to git. It has a good interface and wizard for connecting to new repos. If you are using git, I highly recommend using GitHub.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  10. http://jadeohlhauser.com/2008/c_vs_v/

    Here’s my thoughts on the two new Subversion GUI clients for Mac.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  11. There’s a TextMate bundle called svnmate that integrates all the Subversion functionality into the world’s best text editor. Very very useful.

    Although after reading these comments I may look into Git; sometimes I’d love to be able to branch, and Subversion either can’t do it, or (more likely) doesn’t make it easy enough for me to figure out.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  12. Here’s my thoughts on the two new Subversion GUI clients for Mac.

    Thanks for the link, Jade. Great side-by-side.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  13. I find it funny all those discussions about which SCM system is best.

    At my company we use Subversion… and the reason was pretty simple… it can be accessed in many different ways (either through the command line, through a specialized GUI or even hidden behind a “Shared Folder” under windows or Mac).

    But the biggest reason why I think Subversion is great as a collaboration tool is that it allows anyone to use it (heck, even my mom was able to use it after a 10 minutes training and she’s pretty “un-literate” when it comes to computers)

    If you’re using it as the collaboration tool for your organization you have to stop thinking about source code and developers and start thinking about graphical objects, PDFs, PSDs and graphical designers, project managers and copywriters…

    From that standpoint, SVN is still the best in my mind.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  14. For those of you who prefer to work with PHP rather than ruby, you can find a script that will post to Basecamp here.  Not as difficult to set up as it first looks.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  15. For those of you who prefer to work with PHP rather than ruby, you can find a script that will post to Basecamp “here”:http://www.whompbox.com/?p=5 . Not as difficult to set up as it first looks.

    Sorry for the double post, please remove the badly formatted one above.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  16. Have any of you tried out “DropBox”:http://www.getdropbox.com/ ? It seamlessly syncs a special folder and all of its subfolders with all the computers you connect to it via amazon’s s3 servers.

    It’s really amazing, you can designate collaborators for specific folders, and it has version control. All files are saved locally to your hard drive, except previous versions.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  17. I use Subversion for all my projects, not only with clients and sub-contractors but also with some of my own stuff.

    Lately I’ve started using Subversion to work on some of my longer blog articles, that way I can continue writing from my desktop or laptop and keep everything at hand in my server.

    After reading the comments about git and bazaar I think I’ll take a look at those options.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  18. While the basic points about needing a version control system are sound, subversion itself is obsolete. The world has moved on to distributed version control systems like git (or perhaps mercurial).

    Certainly you wouldn’t start a new project using subversion — it’s only appropriate for legacy setups where making a switch to a modern setup needs to be delayed for some reason.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  19. While the basic points about needing a version control system are sound, subversion itself is obsolete. The world has moved on to distributed version control systems like git (or perhaps mercurial).

    Certainly you wouldn’t start a new project using subversion — it’s only appropriate for legacy setups where making a switch to a modern setup needs to be delayed for some reason.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  20. “As the subcontractor’s employer, you have every right to stipulate deliverables, the tools used, and how and when the work gets done. Your subcontractors will appreciate a solid workflow and know that you have your act together.”

    I suspect this statement would not stand up within a court of law, at least not in states like California which distinguish between the rights of employees and those of contractors.  Even if a sub contractor were to sign a contract surrendering his/her rights about how work gets accomplished, I’m not sure if that contract would be enforceable. 

     

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  21. There is no software for mac to replace a PUTTY and SVN Tortoise – combination (Yes, I have searched in Google and I find all this SVNX and others to be really unusable). Plus, I find SVN itself extremely hard both to install and to manage. From my experience I can say that using SVN doesn’t worth the time you’ll have to spend to get it working and to keep fixing it.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  22. For those of you that feel SVN is obsolete, please look into VisualSVN Server as well as TortoiseSVN—these free tools make SVN very very easy.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.
  23. You can just head to http://xp-dev.com and get hosted subversion repositories that work with Basecamp out of the box, and there’s a free plan as well.

    Copy & paste the code below to embed this comment.