Alcides Fonseca

40.197958, -8.408312

Guide to SVN

SVN... what? And why should I care?

SVN is a centralized versioning control system. This means there is a server where all versions of your files are stored. This is really useful for your projects (being those office documents, graphic work, code, or just simple files) since:

  • they work as a back-up copy of your work outside of your computer
  • all the versions you want are stored, and you can go back whenever you want! Believe me, this is incredibly useful.
  • let’s you sync your project with your coworkers.

In this article I will explain how to use them in a simple project by two people.

My First Online Repository

Repositories are where your documents are stored. You can call it Project Folder if you don’t like geek terms. Repositories can live in the web, or in some server in your home/company, if you don’t like having your data at someone else’s place. If your project has no confidential information, I’d recommend you to use a online web service that provides you SVN repositories. I’d suggest Beanstalkapp for SVN only, or Dreamhost, if you also need webhosting, email and ftp. We will use the first in this guide, and the free version.

As you can see here the free account is limited to 20MB, 3 users and 1 Repository (project) at a time. This may be enough for a lot of people (and surely to this guide), but if you have a larger team, larger project or just more than one project at a time, consider buying an account over there.

So back to the guide, head over to signup page and fill your details:


After creating your account, just login with the username and password you’ve just set up. Remember this details, since this is how you will access your project. Inside the page, in the right column, you will see a “Create first repository” button. Hit it! Now give it a name and uncheck “Create default repository structure”. This is the default structure for hardcore users. We don’t need it at this point.


Checking Out