EasySVN beta 1: Use Subversion for file sharing with automatic update and commit

Posted by Andy Singleton on December 2, 2011 13:22:00 PM

Today we are offering the first beta release of EasySVN for Windows, an automatic update and commit feature that will make Subversion as easy to use as file sharing tools like Dropbox.  Get it on the download page.

EasySVN enhances the things that we like about Subversion:  Its ease of use, the fact that it uses normal files and folders that are easy to understand, and the fact that it can handle big files, like the files that designers often share.  I think the designers on your team will appreciate it.

To use it, just select "automatic update and commit" from the right-click menu of a repository directory.  The EasySVN process will commit changes and new files in that directory, and update your local files with changes from anyone else using the repository.

easysvn menu resized 600

How it started and where it is going

We started working on this project when I noticed that there are hundreds of thousands of designers and Web developers working on sites like oDesk that don’t use Subversion.  They should be using a sharing and versioning repository, but they aren’t.  They use simpler sharing media like emailed archives, ftp, and Dropbox. 

I emailed Stefan Kung, a leader on the TortoiseSVN project, to ask if he would help us.  He replied that the automatic update and commit mode is a feature he had been wanting to add for some time.  He referred us to Stefan Fuhrmann, also on the Tortoise team, and we started building a team around him with contribution from Christian Amarie and Oleksiy Suschuk.  So, the first release of EasySVN is a Windows version based on TortoiseSVN.

This first release of EasySVN isn’t as "easy" as it will be.  It requires that you install two pieces of software, TortoiseSVN and the EasySVN replicator.  Then you have to checkout a repository populate it, and share it.  In the final release, we will have a single installer, and you will just be able to select an existing directory and “Share with Assembla.”

We are also working on a linux port (command line), which can be a reference implementation for other linux client developers, and on a Macintosh client that will have some Finder integration.

Commitment to Subversion AND Git

Just because we are innovating with Subversion does not mean that we are moving away from our commitment to git.  We love git, and we use it in our own development process because of the incredible flexibility it gives us when we share, review, test, and deploy code.  We are working on enhancements that will upgrade the basic git merge request workflow to include review features seen in the Gerrit review system.  Eventually, these powerful workflows will also be available for Subversion, when we finish upgrading Subversion merge.

Some advantages over other file sharing

If you are a Subversion user, you can recommend EasySVN for the non-programmers on your team.  What if you aren’t a Subversion user?  There are some specific reasons and circumstances that you might want to use EasySvn instead of other types of file sharing.

  • Subversion repositories are portable.  You can dump them and move them to in-house servers.
  • Versioning and recovery features are excellent.
  • It handles large files and repositories with atomic commits.
  • When you use it with systems like Assembla, it has notifications and auditing and linking that makes it easy to use for team collaboration.
  • It’s an open system.  There are many subversion clients and servers, and many ways to access subversion and use it for publication, notification, mobile access, etc.

This is the first beta release.  It will have some problems.  Thanks for your patience and your suggestions as we improve quality and ease of use.

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About the author

Andy SingletonWorking on Continuous Agile and Accelerating Innovation, Assembla CEO and startup founder

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