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July 12, 2004

"Version Control with Subversion": Introducing the Next Generation of Open Source Version Control

Sebastopol, CA--One of the greatest frustrations in most software projects is version control: the art of managing changes to information. Today's increasingly fast pace of software development--as programmers make small changes to software one day only to undo them the next--has only heightened the problem; consecutive work on code or single-programmer software is a rare sight these days. Without careful attention to version control, concurrent and collaborative work can create more headaches than it solves. This is where Subversion comes into play.

Written by Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick, and C. Michael Pilato, core members of the Subversion open source development team, Version Control with Subversion (O'Reilly, US $34.95) introduces the powerful new versioning tool designed to be the successor to the Concurrent Version System or CVS. CVS users will find the look and feel of Subversion comfortably familiar, but under the surface it's far more flexible, robust, and usable.

"Like many tools, CVS is starting to show its age," note the authors. "The designers of Subversion set out to win the hearts of CVS users in two ways: by creating an open source system with a design similar to CVS, and by attempting to fix most of CVS's noticeable flaws." As the authors explain, the original Subversion design team didn't set out to break new ground in version control methodology; they just wanted to fix CVS. They decided that Subversion would match CVS's features and preserve the same development model, but not duplicate CVS's most obvious shortcomings. And they decided that Subversion should be similar enough to its predecessor that any CVS user could make the switch with little effort.

The book begins with a general introduction to Subversion, the basic concepts behind version control, and a guided tour of Subversion's capabilities and structure. The authors cover every aspect of installing and configuring Subversion for managing a programming project, documentation, or any other team-based endeavor. Later chapters cover the more complex topics of branching, repository administration, and other advanced features such as properties, externals, and access control. The book ends with reference material and appendices covering a number of useful topics including a Subversion complete reference and troubleshooting guide.

The book covers:

  • The history of Subversion as well as its features and installation methods
  • The basic concepts of version control and different versioning methods
  • A daily work cycle of a Subversion user
  • A discussion of branching, merging, and tagging
  • The basics of a Subversion repository
  • The internals of Subversion from a programmer's viewpoint
  • Detailed reference of subcommands with examples
  • Version Control with Subversion aims to be useful to readers of widely different backgrounds, from those with no previous experience in version control to experienced sys admins. Those who've never used version control will find everything they need to get started in this book. And seasoned CVS pros can use this book to make a painless jump to Subversion.

    Additional Resources:

    Version Control with Subversion
    Ben Collins-Sussman, Brian W. Fitzpatrick, and C. Michael Pilato
    ISBN 0-596-00448-6, 299 pages, $34.95 US, $50.95 CA
    order@oreilly.com
    1-800-998-9938; 1-707-827-7000

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