• Getting Started with Subversion

    I’ve been working in the software development industry for some time now, and source control is a huge piece of the puzzle for effective change management and development. However, I’ve never actually had to administrate source control – that was always within the realm of our sys admin team.

    However, we’re now evaluating source control systems for our new J2EE project at Westgate Resorts, and I wouldn’t mind having something set up on my laptop to use on my many personal projects. Naturally, I’ve been looking at Subversion for a while, since it’s essentially CVS with all the bugs fixed and the features rounded out (and CVS sure wasn’t bad). I’ve also worked with development teams who used the Eclipse CVS plug-in, and it makes life very easy indeed.

    So where do I start? With Google, of course! For those of you who may be new to Subversion or in the same predicament as I found myself, I thought I’d post the links and resources I found useful.

    Subversion Book (Free)
    This is an O’Reilly Subversion book that is being given away for free. I downloaded the PDF version and stored it with all of my other PDF manuals on my laptop. I read the first four chapters in about an hour, and I must say that it is excellently written. It also covers the concepts for trunks, branches, merging, and repositories for those who are new to source control. I’d even recommend it as an excellent primer on these concepts for any source control implementation.

    Eclipse Plug-In for Subversion
    I haven’t installed this yet, but here it is. I’m sure that (as with most Eclipse plug-ins for popular software) it will be excellent.

    Not using Eclipse, but need a GUI client for OS X? I suggest SvnX (I think this is pronounced “sphinx”), a GUI tool for SVN (the commonly used short name for Subversion). I also found that SVN installation is pretty darn easy if you use Fink (a package and dependency management tool for open source software utilities on OS X, similar to rpm).

    That should be enough to get anybody started. The book covers history, concepts, software installation, administration, and extension through development APIs, so that’s your best first bet.

    Good luck and let me know what you think of Subversion once you get it running!

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