Subversion is a very popular version control system. Though Subversion provides a very robust command line client, most of us prefer using a nice GUI front end. Windows users are really fortunate to have a powerful tool like TortoiseSVN which without any argument is simply the best front end for Subversion. Unfortunately, TortoiseSVN is available for just the Windows platform. Here I would like to highlight about RapidSVN, a cross-platform GUI front end for Subversion.
This tutorial is directed towards new users of Linux or people who migrated from Windows to Linux recently. If you are a Windows user, TortoiseSVN might be the best bet for you. Learn more about TortoiseSVN from the post “Extending Subversion by using TortoiseSVN“.
Installing RapidSVN in Ubuntu is a breeze,
sudo apt-get install rapidsvn
Once installation is done, RapidSVN can be found under “Applications -> Programming”. Or if you use a dock like GNOME-Do, you can launch it by typing “rapidsvn”.
For other platforms, download the latest release from the RapidSVN site.
Adding a repository to RapidSVN
Unlike TortoiseSVN which seamlessly integrates into Windows Explorer, RapidSVN allows you to manage the files from a dedicated user interface. RapidSVN will display details like status, author, revision number etc in separate columns.
To add a new repository to RapidSVN, right click “Bookmarks”, click “Add Existing Repository” and enter the repository url.
Checkout a working copy
To checkout a working copy from the repository, right click a repository, click “Checkout New Working Copy” and enter appropriate details.
RapidSVN will display any unversioned files in your working copy, if any.
Adding files to working copy
Right click any unversioned file and then click “Add” to add them in your working copy. Click “Add recursive” if you want to add a folder with multiple sub folders inside it.
RapidSVN will display appropriate status regarding the files that are added in your working copy but not yet committed to the repository.
You can commit the added files, modified files by right clicking them and selecting “Commit”.
Updating working copy
Right click your working copy in the RapidSVN sidebar and click “Update” to update your working copy.
View history (Log)
To view the change history of a file, right click a file and select “Log”.
Reverting local changes
Right click a modified file and click “Revert” to revert the changes you made to your working copy.
Compare the changes made (Diff)
Unlike TortoiseSVN, RapidSVN does not provide built in support for “Diff”. However, you can instruct RapidSVN to use any externl diff tool to fill that gap. So this is what you will see when you attempt to run “Diff” on a file,
Fortunately, there are many excellent “Diff” tools available. I use “Meld” as the diff tool in Ubuntu Linux. “Meld” should be available in all major Linux distros. This is how you will install “Meld” in Ubuntu,
sudo apt-get install meld
Once you have your diff tool of choice installed, you need to tell RapidSVN to use the diff tool. In RapidSVN, click “View -> Preferences” and then open the “Programs” tab. In the “Programs” tab, look for a section called “Diff Tool” and enter the command name there and save the changes.
Now you can diff the changes made to a file by right clicking it and selecting “Diff” or “Diff to Head” or “Diff to Base”.
Once you click “OK”, RapidSVN will invoke the respective Diff tool to display the differences.
If you want to open and edit files right from within RapidSVN, open “Edit -> Preferences” and then enter the appropriate value in the “Standard Editor” section.
If you want to explore your working copy from within RapidSVN, then configure the “Standard Explorer” section in “Preferences”.
Overall, RapidSVN is a solid Subversion client especially to linux users. What Subversion client do you use?
What is your favourite Subversion client?
- TortoiseSVN (47%, 103 Votes)
- The one that comes with my IDE (NetBeans, Eclipse, etc) (30%, 65 Votes)
- Subversion Command Line Client (13%, 29 Votes)
- Other (Please mention your choice in the comments) (5%, 11 Votes)
- RapidSVN (5%, 10 Votes)
Total Voters: 218