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Introduction to Apache Subversion (SVN)

If you are working on project with a team of developers, then revision control is necessary, period.  Even developers working solo on a project will find that using a revision control system provides many benefits. Revision control systems have been around for over a decade, and Apache Subversion (SVN) has been the most popular system for much of that time.


How does revision control work?

Revision control is the management of changes to the files of a development project.  Changes are usually identified by a number or letter code, termed the "revision number", "revision level", or simply "revision". For example, an initial set of files is "revision 1". When the first change is made, the resulting set is "revision 2", and so on. Each revision is associated with a timestamp and the person making the change. Revisions can be compared, restored, and with some types of files, merged.


How does a Centralized Revision Control System work?

Centralized Revision Control Systems (CRCS) use a centralized model where all the revision control functions take place on a shared server. If two developers try to change the same file at the same time, without some method of managing access the developers may end up overwriting each others' work. Centralized revision control systems solve this problem in one of two different "source management models": file locking and version merging.


What's good about Subversion?

The biggest asset that Subversion currently has is it's popularity; it's been around for a decade, so you can find lots of developers that are already familiar with it.  Subversion was created by CollabNet Inc. in 2000 and is now a top-level Apache project being built and used by a global community of contributors.  While the Subversion project does not include an official graphical user interface (GUI) for use with Subversion, third parties have developed a number of different GUIs, along with a wide variety of additional ancillary software.


Does this meetup need any volunteers?

We currently have a presenter for this meetup, but are still looking for co-presenters with experience in the subject to assist, as well as volunteers to help with various aspects of the meeting (like signing attendees in and videotaping the presentation).  The meetup will be presented by Chris Baril, who holds a Computer Science B.S. degree from the University of British Columbia and has been developing websites since the late 90s.  For more information visit


Who should attend?

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Front-end and back-end developers

DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Beginner/Intermediate


Where should I start?

Join or login to comment.

  • David S.

    Good intro to SVN. Would have probably benefitted with a bit of an intro to what source control is in general since I'm not sure that everyone was familiar with source control

    August 29, 2012

  • Joel R.

    Are there any plans on videotaping this meetup, since there aren't any spots left to attend?

    August 24, 2012

  • Jacob F.

    I hope this and the Git meetings happen soon. We are actually getting ready to revamp our servers and have been weighing the pros/cons to moving from SVN to GIT, so these might be very timely for me.

    February 10, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi guys, I have a place to meet if you need one. Plenty of room and wireless internet and even a projector. It is in Aurora near chambers and I-70 at CDL College. Already cleared it with my boss too. Let me know. Thanks.

    Ray James

    December 15, 2011

  • Chris B.

    @Brian - I do agree with you, but I think SVN is used on enough old projects that it's still relevant. I also suggested a similar meetup focuses solely on Git and Github -

    December 10, 2011

  • Brian O.

    Not to poo-poo Subversion too much, but new projects seem to largely be choosing a distributed version control system like git or Mercurial, which allow one to, for instance, do diffs and make commits without having to contact an external server. Will this be covering subversion only, or other modern version control systems as well?

    December 9, 2011

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