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Getting Started with Subversion on Windows

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Feel subversive from time to time? Don't we all? In fact, a bit of "Subversion" can be good for everyone! In this context, Subversion is a trendy, open-source, version control system product that is largely documented for use on Linux and other Unix variants. Although Subversion might not seem an appropriate choice for Windows users, nothing is farther from the truth! Stephen Morris shows you Windows users how you can easily benefit from all the advantages of Subversion without needing complicated Unix emulation tools.
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I have to admit that I’m a fairly recent convert to open-source tools! I used to doubt that high-quality products could emerge from what I saw as the anarchy of the open-source project approach. Then I started to use some tools, including Apache Tomcat; Apache Axis; Apache Geronimo; SharpDevelop; and, more recently, Subversion. I’ve since revised my opinions and now think that open source is a potential treasure trove. The only small negative is the documentation, but the same can often be said for heavily funded, closed-source products.

Subversion: A Great Product

Version control software such as Subversion tries to do one simple thing: store one definitive copy of one or more files. This might not sound too difficult, but for anyone who has accidentally overwritten source code changes it sometimes represents the Holy Grail of programming! Having one copy simplifies the build process and makes it easier to do things like branching source code.

The files stored in a version control system can be source code or binary—it doesn’t matter. The files are also typically fairly dynamic, with changes being made on an ongoing basis. The bulk of these changes eventually make it into a software release. Many version control products exist, so what makes Subversion so great?

For one thing, Subversion is open source so it has a low total cost of ownership. Subversion is also very powerful and easy to use, and it’s a trendy piece of software at the moment! The only weakness I’ve seen in Subversion derives from its Unix heritage. This means that Subversion documentation for use on Windows is a little weak. This article sets out to fill this gap by describing how to use Subversion on Windows.

The Very First Step

To get started with Subversion, download and install a copy. The installation documents that come with Subversion describe this in detail, so I won’t duplicate it here.

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