Book review: "Practical Subversion"

6 12 2005

Book CoverPractical Subversion, by Garrett Rooney, Apress

I picked up this book because, after having worked for a long time with CVS as my only source control system, I moved to Subversion and needed to acquire a deeper knowledge of it (Incidentally, you would be crazy to still use CVS now that Subversion is stable and freely available). And deep does this volume go indeed. It’s written largely from the perspective of a repository administrator or a power user wanting to extend the system and develop new applications on top of it, as the long (73 pages) chapter on Subversion APIs demonstrates.

But even if you are a developer wanting to know more about Subversion because your company or favorite Open Source project just standardized on it, you’re bound to find a good deal of useful information in it. Just don’t think to be able to understand everything is you’re totally inexperienced when it comes to source control systems. In this case, I’d suggest “Pragmatic Version Control Using Subversion” as a more accessible alternative.

The introductory chapter (A Crash Course in Subversion) and the Best Practices chapter are very good even for beginners, anyway.

The writing style is clean and linear. Typography is good, apart from the horrible font used for the headings and the table of contents.

In conclusion, I don’t think you can find anything better, either online or in print, if you really want to make the most out of Subversion, so I give it five stars. The fact that it is not an introductory text should not detract from this judgment but, as always, caveat emptor.

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3 responses

6 12 2005
Garrett

Thanks for the kind words. It’s always good to hear from experienced version control users who’ve read my book and enjoyed it, because that really was the target audience I was shooting for.

6 12 2005
Andrew Savory

I’ve always used http://svnbook.red-bean.com/ as a good guide to using and administering subversion. Highly recommended.

14 07 2006
Agylen » Using the Ruby Bindings for Subversion

[…] 1. When I reviewed Garrett’s book, I wrote: “It’s written largely from the perspective of a repository administrator or a power user wanting to extend the system and develop new applications on top of it, as the long (73 pages) chapter on Subversion APIs demonstrates.” Finally that long chapter has been useful to me! […]

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