SmartSVN 6.5: Differentiating Features
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DZone: What is SmartSVN?
Mark Strapetz: SmartSVN is a GUI client for the popular version control system Subversion/SVN. You can use it in combination with any SVN server to track changes in software, website or other projects. There are a lot of SVN clients available, so you are free to choose the one you like - comparably to e-mail clients which can all communicate with a POP3/SMTP server. SmartSVN is fully compatible with Subversions's protocols and working copy formats.
DZone: How does someone get started using SmartSVN?
Mark: SmartSVN is a desktop application which works on all major operating systems which support at least Java 1.4.1, most notably Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. Just download the platform specific bundle from our website, install and start it. If you have already used a different SVN client, you most likely already have a working copy of your project on your hard disk which you can open in SmartSVN. If you don't yet have such a working copy, you can check out one from the repository with SmartSVN. Then you can use editors of your choice to modify the files of your project, create new files or delete obsolete ones. To make these changes visible to other people who work on the same project, you have to commit your changes to the repository. To get committed changes from the other people, you have to update from the repository.
DZone: What is the current state of SmartSVN? Tell me about SmartSVN 6.5?
Mark: The work on SmartSVN started approx. 5 years ago and in that time it evolved to the most powerful SVN client currently available. I think it's no overstatement to call SmartSVN the most important commercial SVN client.
For SmartSVN 6.5 we have concentrated on polishing and fine-tuning existing features to make them yet easier to use. So, for example, all log-related operations now perform 5-10 times faster than with SmartSVN 6. The revision graph which shows the hierarchical history of a file or directory can now show merge arrows which is a feature unique to SmartSVN.
DZone: How does SmartSVN compare to similar Subversion Clients?
Mark: SmartSVN has a highly optimized standalone user interface but also integrates into the Windows Explorer (like TortoiseSVN) or Finder (for OS X 10.4 and 10.5), so in every situation you are free to choose which suites your needs best. This hybrid UI approach is unique to SmartSVN.
There are a couple of others, even commercial SVN clients, for example some nice looking ones for OS X, but -- according to what we hear from our customers -- none comes close regarding features or stream-lined work-flow.
Here is a list of further features unique to SmartSVN:
- SmartSVN handles tags and branches as seamless as they would have been in a standard SVN feature. You don't have to mess around with URLs. Even when browsing (known) repositories, tags and branches are shown with an appropriate icon.
- SmartSVN can show and work with even non-locally existing files, e.g. those which are new in the repository.
- With SmartSVN you can permanently watch repositories for changes (by a view embedded in the project window as well as by separate, project-independent window and by tray icon notification).
- If files have been moved or renamed on disk, SmartSVN can detect these changes to keep the files' history.
- SmartSVN had allowed to prepare commits with the help of change sets long before they became a standard SVN feature. Even now SmartSVN is better in this area, because it also can handle directories in change sets too.
- SmartSVN allows you not only to edit/compare file contents, but also to edit/compare SVN-properties.
- SmartSVN Enterprise offers a plugin-API to allow interaction with company-specific tools and optimize work-flows.
- SmartSVN has a very good support for SVN externals, e.g. allows to transparently commit all modified files in your working copy, no matter to what SVN external they belong.
DZone: Now that Subversion is going into the Apache incubator, what effects will this have on SmartSVN?
Mark: We expect that the professional and well-coordinated progress in SVN development will continue. We don't expect effects on SmartSVN itself.
DZone: What can we expect in the future from the SmartSVN? What future features are planned?
Mark: SVN 1.7 most likely will be released in the next few months. SmartSVN 7, supporting SVN 1.7, will be released a short time later. For SVN 1.7, a centralized metadata storage is planned. We expect this change will give SmartSVN a significant performance boost for refreshing the working copy information and most other working copy operations. As always, you can expect that SmartSVN will squeeze the best out of the SVN capabilities and that we will continue with our quick and helpful support.
DZone: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Mark: SmartSVN is available in two editions, a free but less feature-rich Foundation edition and the commercial Professional/Enterprise edition. SmartSVN Enterprise differs from the per-user-licensed Professional edition by the mentioned plugin-API and its attractive pricing scheme which is designed for companies with large user counts.
One week ago we released our new product SmartGit, a client for the very powerful distributed version control system, Git. It is designed to make the work with Git as easy as possible and targets developers who prefer a nice graphic application over a powerful but hard to use command line interface.
You can download SmartSVN here.
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