July 21, 2008

I like VisualSVN

VisualSVN I'm not a big fan of Source Code Management integration with Visual Studio. I don't know, maybe VSS soured me years ago. When using Vault in the past I installed the Visual Studio integration tools once and uninstalled them a few days later. While using Subversion almost exclusively over the last three years I've been more than happy using TortoiseSVN in an explorer window. The separation of SCM and programming IDE has been refreshing and actually lends itself well to the way Subversion works by default, not requiring a checkout or lock when editing a file.

A few months ago, however, I won a license for VisualSVN at the Indy Code Camp. The license sat on a table beside my desk for about a month before I finally decided to give it a spin. I have to admit that I'm growing fond of it. I still don't run updates and commits inside VS using VisualSVN (even though it just defaults to TortoiseSVN), but I really like the visual indicators that it provides. Showing me which files I've added or modified with the yellow icon greatly reduces any chance of me forgetting files when I make a commit. Or it helps me quickly find any files that I may have forgotten to commit.

The other cool thing is that when I add any new files to a project via Visual Studio, VisualSVN automatically adds the file to SVN. I don't have to remember to browse to the file in Windows Explorer, right click the file, choose TortoiseSVN and then click Add. That may not seem like much of a time saver, but I always forget to manually add the files until after I've done commit (and maybe broken the build).

Even it you don't like mixing your chocolate and peanut butter, um... I mean SCM tools with your IDE, you may like some of the features that VisualSVN provides. Give it a try, they offer a 30-day trial and the licenses start at $49 per seat.

Okay, that probably came off sounding like a commercial for VisualSVN. I am in no way affilated with the product or company and I stand to make no money from a couple more licenses being sold. I simply like the product and I thought I'd pass on my experiences with it. Besides, "if I can change and you can change, we all can change!" :)

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  1.  avatar Brian says:

    I tried VisualSVN a year or so ago and liked it. When it came time to get something for use at work we went with an alternative, AnkhSVN (ankhsvn.open.collab.net). It’s an open source project just like VSVN and does everything you mentioned. I still use TortoiseSVN for most of my checkins though.

  2. I've heard of AnkhSVN and I know a lot of a lot of devs who use and like it, I've just never given it a try. Thanks for the tip, Brian.

  3. G'Day Dan, same as you, I've been using Subversion + TortoiseSVN for years. If you haven't already, make sure you get the latest releases as TortoiseSVN now marks files that have not been added in Windows Explorer (as well as marking excluded files). I blogged about it at theruntime.com/.../the-perfect-storm-of-source-control.aspx

    Cheers, Thomas

  4.  avatar zamli says:

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  5.  avatar danielmen says:

    Hi I would like to recommend you very useful file search - http://newfileengine.com/

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  6. Wow, reading the first lines...  must say... you must have had some "childhood" trauma using SCM integration on IDE's...

    Ive used SVN and CVS plugins in Eclipse and SVN, TFS, CVS and CC/CQ plugins in Visual Studio 2005/2008... and i must say... Ones you have tried a really well done implementation it's just like a month after you have installed ReSharper on VS (if you know of that one)... You simply can't live without it anymore...

    Today i do all my SVN commands directly from Visual Studio more or less, it's so rare that i resort to using "TortoiseSVN" directly...

    However, there is as said, bad and good ones.

    VisualSVN sounds and looks all good, don't know it however, i use AnkhSVN since its Open Source, but the various CVS plugins I have tried for VS sucks... the Eclipse integration works fine. Eclipse and SVN works fine... VS and TFS is very similar to the SVN plugins.

    If you ever should be forced out into ClearCase i would say poor you, i am forced into that world at work, and well... if it wasn't for the so extremely poor integration into Visual Studio, ClearCase would... oh right still suck...

    But I have tried it (And we use it at work, for some Bizarre reason no one has been yet able to explain to us), and if your SCM to IDE integration experience has been close to as bad as that, well then i understand where you come from.

    But i would encourage you to do what you can from your IDE with VisualSVN (Asuming it is as good as or better than AnkhSVN)... There is simply no reason to go out to the file system to do it, it just wastes a few more seconds of your time, and it does the EXACT same thing for your...

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