Subversion (SVN) is an open source version control system. It was designed to be used by software developers to be able to work on a project concurrently by providing a central repository containing the source code which is accessible over the network. SVN keeps track of all updates which are made (committed) to the files in the repository. It also prevents that an update by one of the team members overwrites the work of another member.
Although SVN focusses on the software development community it is very well possible to use it as a general purpose centralized system for sharing and maintaining information contained in all kinds of data files. And because SVN offers native support for repository access via HTTP (the communication protocol used for the World Wide Web), the repository can be browsed by any well behaved web browser. As such SVN is an easy to use file sharing tool.
Dedicated SVN clients are available for many platforms including Windows, Mac, and Linux. With these clients all SVN features become available.
We have set up a subversion server for FNWI including an administrative interface to manage repositories and repository users. To be able to use the subversion server contact C&CZ to create a repository and appoint an owner. The owner of a repository can create additional users and grant access rights to his/her repository(ies). At the moment it is not possible to use your science account for authentication but we plan to add this possibility in the future. Therefore we urge repository owners to use science account names for users who already have a science account and to use account names starting with an underscore (_) for external users.
To be able to use our SVN server you need the following:
- The URL of the repository.
- An account name and password with access to the repository.
- An SVN client installed on your PC or laptop.
- Internet access.
To explain the basic concepts we will use TortoiseSVN as an example.
For remote access to our SVN repository the HTTP protocol is used. In a way the repository act as a web site. The web address (or URL) of our repositories is typically of the form https://svn.science.ru.nl/repos/ followed by the name of the repository. Note that HTTPS (authenticated and encrypted HTTP using SSL) is used to prevent eavesdropping and to ensure that you are connected to the correct server. Automatic redirection to the HTTPS site is done.
Authentication and Authorization
If you have a science login name the repository owner should have created an account for you with the same account name. At the moment your SVN and science accounts are not connected, i.e. you can change the passwords of both independently. In the future this will probably change. Repository owners will create account names starting with an underscore for external users to prevent username conflicts in the future.
When you first connect to the repository your SVN client will prompt you for your account name and password. Most SVN clients will store/remember your credentials for subsequent repository access. The repository owner can change your access rights.
Installing the client
First download and install an SVN client for your platform. On managed PC's you can ask C&CZ to install the client for you. After installation you must reboot your PC to finish the installation.
Tortoise integrates with the Windows Explorer. It will give you a number of additional context dependent file management menu options, most of which are available by right clicking on a file or folder.
Regular users can manage their accounts through the SVN Administrative Interface. Repository owners can add new users and manage the access rights for their repository(ies). Before authentication the interface lists the repositories available on the server. Click on the repository name for more information. Click Authenticate to log in.
If you forgot your password you can reset it with the Forgot password? option. You have to specify your login name and the exact e-mail address as registered in the SVN database. If you can't remember this address you should contact the owner of the repository to ask him/her to reset your password. If this fails too please contact C&CZ.
If you supply a valid login name and e-mail address a new password will be send to you. Please follow the instructions to change your password as soon as possible thereafter.
After logging in you can also see an overview of the users on the SVN server and you can manage your account to change your mail address, your full name and your password.