Subversion: Not Just for Code Anymore
or by using svn cat to download a single file:
$ svn cat -r 1563 http://$MY_SERVER/docs/pics/beach.jpg
If you're going to use autoversioning to mount your repository under Linux, you need to install davfs. Once it is installed, mounting the repository is easy. All you need to do is run mount.davfs, like in the following example, which mounts the repository $MY_SERVER/docs at /mnt/documents:
$ mount.davfs http://$MY_SERVER/docs/ /mnt/documents
Before you can use autoversioning though, you also have to turn it on in Apache. To do that, you need to add the SVNAutoversioning on option to your <Location> directive for the Subversion repository.
Subversion is a system with a large feature list, many of which I haven't even touched on. You should know enough now to get started with versioning your files though. I've been using it for my files for a while now and find it to be very helpful. I find it especially useful when used with autoversioning, which makes it an almost seamless integration with the filesystem.
Resources for this article: /article/8751.
Connecting from OS X
Okay, I admit it. I'm a Mac guy. As a Mac guy, my PowerBook gets a lot of use on my home network, so being able to access my files from there easily is pretty important to me. Fortunately, Subversion makes my life easy here. Subversion runs on OS X just as easily as it does on Linux, and it is a breeze to install. If you use the Fink package management system for installing open-source software on your Mac, you can install Subversion from there, or you can get standalone binaries.
If you decide to take advantage of autoversioning, you'll also be very pleased with OS X. Mounting an autoversioned repository is as easy as selecting Connect to Server... from the Finder's Go menu and entering the repository's URL. The repository will be mounted in /Volumes, and it will appear on the desktop as a mounted network share.
Connecting from Windows XP
Whether you use it for games, work, placation of a less-technical spouse or just because you like it, the chances are pretty good that there's at least one Windows machine on your network. The good news is that Subversion was designed as a cross-platform application and is very well supported under Windows. Precompiled binaries of the command-line client are available from the Subversion downloads page. Additionally, there is an excellent GUI client for Windows that integrates with the Windows Explorer, called TortoiseSVN.
Windows XP also supports autoversioning through WebFolders, although you'll want to use the old Explorer-extension version of WebFolders rather than the newer version that was introduced with WinXP, as the new version suffers from incompatibilities. To connect to a repository you simply need to add a new network place and enter the repository URL, with the port number appended. For example, to connect to a repository at example.com/documents, you'd use the URL http://example.com:80/documents.
William Nagel is the Chief Software Engineer for a small technology company, and the author of Subversion Version Control: Using the Subversion Version Control System in Development Projects. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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