I just installed Subversion on my server. I’m going to spend the next couple of hours reading the book and figuring out to create and use a repository.

I’m doing this so that I can make the cable grapher program a little more mature. Right now I keep all the source code on my laptop and manually copy the files over to the server when I make changes. Every geek who reads this should be shaking their head and saying “David, David, David… YOU FOOL!” right now.

So, time to check the program into a version control system.

And later, a bike ride.


The bike ride was good. Just what I needed.

Now, a word about version control systems.

If you spend a great deal of time dealing with documents of any kind that change a lot, you should probably learn a bit about version control systems. Most of them are geared towards programmers, but they work for any kind of electronic document.

A version control system lets you take a document, modify it, and then go back and retrieve a previous version of it. They also let multiple people work on the same document at the same time and help resolve any conflicts that might emerge. This is an incredibly handy thing for computer programmers, but I imagine it would be just as useful to writers, journalists, lawyers, and educators. Hell, probably cooks too.

Some of the systems I’ve had experience with include Subversion, CVS, SCCS, Bitkeeper, and Arch. If this sounds like something you could use, click the links to get a current Google search.

No Responses to “Subversion”

  1. David Says:

    Kaetchen, you guys mostly use the MS Office suite for your documents, right? Word has versioning built into it – you can see who made what changes when. I don’t know about the other apps.

    Of course, this assumes that you’ve got versioning turned on in that particular document . . .

  2. spoonix Says:

    It can track more than just documents.

    One of the main reason I looked into it and started using it is because it can also handle “binary” files, like .wav’s, pictures, and
    animation files without doing anything extra like CVS requires. Which makes it handy to use when you’re trying to find just the right slobbering, alien monster to wedge into your game mod. 😉

    In other words… svn is useful for versioning *anything*. And it gets around the funky tagging/branching syntax that CVS uses… it’s much more user friendly.

  3. Kaetchen Says:

    I wish UC would use one of these programs to keep track of revisions in policy and procedure. Drives me crazy trying to track back prior versions to see if an academic department kept to appropriate policy on 8/20/01, for example.