1.4 Introducing TortoiseSVN

This is an introduction to Subversion, using WANdisco's uberSVN and the trusty Windows client, TortoiseSVN. In fact, you can think of this tutorial as a set of TortoiseSVN water wings, aimed at developers who have been thrown into Subversion at the deep end. As well as getting TortoiseSVN installed, it'll show you how to get your working copy in place and your first changes made to the repository.

tip"Upgraded to Subversion 1.7, but now your working copy won't update?
See our tutorial on Upgrading your Working Copy.

Installing TortoiseSVN

Checkout your working copy

tip"What's a working copy?
A copy of all or part of a repository that is stored on your computer. You can edit these files however you like, as changes won't apply to the repository until you decide to commit them - usually after you've thoroughly tested them. Your working copy is your own private work area: Subversion will never incorporate other people's changes, nor make your own changes available to others, until you explicitly tell it to do so. Bonus!

URL of repository
The address of the repository, or portion of a repository for which you want to make a working copy.

tip"Checkout only what you need
If you include in the address a subdirectory, the checkout will ignore anything in the repository that is above the directory. This is very useful as it lets you quickly checkout a small part of a repository that might take a really long time to copy. e.g.

Checkout the whole repository:
Checkout just a directory:
Checkout just a file: Alas, you can't. Subversion needs to organise working copy data using directories as its own 'housekeeping' data needs to live in a hidden subdirectory. There would be no opportunity to create a subdirectory if you checked out only a file. The workaround is to use the "Checkout Depth" option to checkout only directories, then perform selective updates on the things you need.

You can get the repository URL from the repository's screen in uberSVN: Tortoise 01

Repository URL from uberSVN.

Checkout directory
This is the location on your local file system where the checkout will occur. By default it will be the location that you're currently focused on in Explorer, however you can change it here.
Checkout Depth
  • Fully recursive
    All files, and folders below the checkout point.
  • Immediate Children, including folders
    All files and folders, but don't populate the folders.
  • Only file Children
    Only files, don't checkout folders.
  • Only this item
    Only checkout the folder, no files or child folders.
You can get the latest version of the repository, called 'HEAD' (most up-to-date version), or select a specific revision to go back to a version before particular changes.

Making a change

You change the files in your working copy in the same way you always have, but to apply your changes to the repository you need to perform a Subversion Commit, here's how:

Adding something new

If you create a new file or folder, adding it to the repository is a two step process: