[thelist] Getting version control into the office for the first time

Symeon Charalabides symeon at systasis.com
Fri Sep 26 11:37:23 CDT 2008

Hi Barry,

>  I've read up about Subversion and it seems the way to go, but I'm open to
>  suggestions of simpler alternatives if you have them.

SVN is definitely the way to go. CVS is less powerful without being any simpler to install or operate (if not more complex). I won't refer to VSS for the obvious reasons.

>  What are your experiences of getting version control into a development
>  environment (we are a LAMP house) for the first time?

I don't have any there, as the places I've worked have always used some form of version control. But I do know that they all eventually switched to SVN, or are in the process of.

>  What would we need to look out for with regard to common mistakes and doing
>  things the wrong way (ie, bad habits)?

Make sure to instigate a policy (I believe it's an actual administrative setting so you can force people) to not commit anything without writing a comment. People tend to get lazy and commit stuff without comments because they themselves know what they just did (and imagine they'll remember it forever). If you allow this to happen, you lose half the practicality that you installed version control in the first place.

>  I'd appreciate any comments, suggestions or warnings you can share -

Nothing else I can think of, I always found SVN simple and straightforward to use. If you were a Win shop (or use Win on the desktop) I'd suggest that Tortoise SVN, which deploys on your context menu, is actually more powerful than Smart SVN or any other SVN GUI.

You will probably want to follow the advice of the manual and develop on a branch of the trunk but... it's in the manual. However, I worked on a project where we only had the trunk which was also the web directory, and never had any issues. That setup is quite sensitive however, so I wouldn't officially recommend it.

Have fun

Symeon Charalabides (cosmopolite trainee)

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