As requested by Mauriat, I'm writing a blog entry to assess how well I've been able to version control "my life" (see original blog). The bottom line: I LOVE it. Subversion has really changed the way I work.

I have TortoiseSVN installed on no less than 3 computers such that I'm able to keep my documents, source code, projects totally in sync and work on them anywhere. No more emailing files to myself, no more manual transferring of files from one computer to another, and the ability to have access to my work anywhere. Even without TortoiseSVN, I can still look at my code/documents, since I put the repository available as read-only via the web browser, which is a nice to have.

It does take some discipline to remember to perform an Update before starting any work for the day and to remember to perform a Commit when I'm done, but thanks to TortoiseSVN, these are available as right-click options in the Windows Explorer. Even if you forget to sync things and accidentally create conflicts, you can still pretty easily resolve them if they are small. I've had to do this maybe twice. If they are large, make sure you have a decent diff tool like Compare It.

If my repository's IP address changes (as my ISP likes to do once every 2-3 months), TortoiseSVN allows you to change your settings to point to the new location with another right-click option. Adding files/directories, renaming files and moving files within a repository is a little more involved than the Windows equivalent, but TortoiseSVN adds context menu items for all of these. For instance, when you drag a versioned file to another location, the Windows drag menu has items like "Move files into Subversion here". Don't worry, once you get used to the new paradigm, it's quite intuitive.

Of course things are easier to keep in sync when there is just one project member aka "me" (despite my efforts to get another person involved in some projects). So I really can't comment on Subversion as a source code version control system for projects where number_of_developers > 1, but I can say that the ease of TortoiseSVN integration into the Windows desktop makes using Subversion very easy indeed. I can see it working... For Linux lovers, you can install Subversion directly onto your box and use the command-line to do the updates/commits, but I have no experience with any Subversion GUI clients for Linux yet, sorry.

§123 · July 18, 2005 · Life, Software, Technology · · [Print]

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  1. […] So tinkering a bit with a new project in Eclipse recently, I noticed that there’s CVS support built in. I like Subversion and have a couple projects stored in Jeff’s subversion repository. I love the almost seemless integration of the Tortoise SVN client into Windows Explorer. So seeing the CVS support in Eclipse got me wondering about SVN support. Sure enough, the good people at have an Eclipse plugin called Subclipse. The installation instructions are very clear, but demostrate what I don’t like about Eclipse. This is standard practice for installing a plugin for that framework, I’m sure, but it’s vastly different than plugins for more familiar software projects. I’m sure the steep learning curve keeps a lot of otherwise enthusiastic developers out. Subclipse developers shouldn’t have to include that many screenshots to do something as run-of-the-mill as adding a plugin. Without those screenshots I would have probably given up though. Eclipse could learn something from the XPI installation method that Firefox uses. […]