Having been using Subversion (SVN) for file version control at work for the last couple of years I really wanted to start using it at home for my own development projects. However, in my experience, it’s not exactly the easiest application to install if you don’t have much experience with SVN.
I was about to give up when I discovered VisualSVN Server for Windows which allows you to quickly and easily install a fully-functional Subversion server on your PC.
Installation was as simple as downloading a Windows .msi file and following the on-screen installation instructions. The installation file is modest too, at just over 4 MB.
During the installation process you are invited to specify where you would like to store your code repositories. The recommendation was to leave it to the default value (C:\Repositories) but I’ve stored my repositories on a separate partition so that they are not lost if I need to reinstall Windows on C.
You also have an option to change the port that VisualSVN is installed on, which is important if you’re running any other kind of Web server on your PC, such as XAMPP.
VisualSVN Server Manager
One of the things that I found trickiest about installing SVN manually was the lack of graphical user interface (GUI). I’m a Windows guy at heart: I need my little pictures!
VisualSVN Server lives up to its name by providing a GUI management console (which is a Windows MMC snap-in) which gives you access to:
- Start and stop the server
- Server URL (to view repository in your browser)
- Logging information
- User and group information
- Version information about VisualSVN
That’s the screenshot at the top of this article.
Access your repository using TortoiseSVN
Just like any other installation of SVN you can access your repository files using the TortoiseSVN client for Windows.
Access your repository via a browser
The trickiest thing that I found about trying to install SVN manually was trying to integrate the Web server features of the application so that I could view my repositories using my Web browser.
This is set-up automatically in VisualSVN Server; I’ve changed the port that I access it on because I’m running a localhost Web server for development purposes.
When I last reinstalled my operating system, upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7 I did wonder if I’d get my SVN repositories back easily.
The good news is that it was simple! During the installation I told the installer to use the existing repository location and it picked up the version-controlled files already there.
If you want a really simple Subversion server for learning, testing, development then I can thoroughly recommend VisualSVN Server for Windows.
- Follow the VisualSVN team on Twitter: @visualsvn