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What's New in Subversion 1.7

So, What's In It for You?

If you've read through to this point, you've learned about Subversion 1.7's primary offerings in some technical detail, but may find yourself still in need of the "big picture." And if you've only skimmed subtitles thus far, that's understandable — time is a precious resource. So let's summarize Subversion 1.7. What's in it for you? Why is now the time for you or your organization to embrace Subversion for the first time? Why should you or your organization upgrade your existing Subversion deployments to the new 1.7 version as soon as you can?

  • Protection. Subversion has always been a passionate guardian of your versioned data. It's a well-established fact that your data is safe with Subversion. But over the years, Subversion's developers have learned many lessons about how users can sometimes do things that are not in their best interests. Subversion 1.7 brings several changes aimed at preventing — or at least discouraging — users from accidentally complicating their day-to-day lives and workflows. You'll have an even better experience with Subversion overall as the software encourages your adherence to established best practices.
  • Performance. By and large, the Subversion 1.7 release is about addressing some long-standing complaints about the software's speed, especially on the Windows platform. In today's network-centric world, users understand that there are real costs involved in transferring files to and from a remote server. They "get" that. But they reasonably expect local operations — or the locally handled portions of remote operations — to perform much better than they historically have in Subversion. Subversion 1.7 brings noticeable improvement in this area.
  • Permanence. Subversion took the version control world by storm before it even reached its 1.0 release. It's everywhere today. But more importantly, it's not going away tomorrow. CollabNet — the company that founded the project over a decade ago and was its sole corporate sponsor for many years — is now joined by other companies who bring additional resources to the developer community and additional benefits to the Subversion user base. The project's move to the Apache Software Foundation has invited the attention of still more developer volunteers. Project activity continues to trend upward. In many aspects, the Subversion project has never been healthier.
  • Potential. Subversion 1.7 demonstrates the benefits of developers' willingness to revisit some of the software's inner workings. It ain't sexy work, but the results are worth it. And the benefits won't stop here. There are already a number of features planned for future versions that wouldn't be possible without the sorts of plumbing changes previously described. As the project continues to mature, users will see Subversion — and the expanding ecosystem of Subversion-related tools and services — evolving to fill more and more of their needs.

If you're not using version control as part of your development processes, Subversion could very well be the difference between lost assets and the safekeeping of your developers' hard work. If you've already embraced version control in general, but are shelling out big bucks to your version control vendor, Subversion — which is free — could drastically reduce your operational costs. And if Subversion is your current version control solution, Subversion 1.7 promises your best Subversion experience to date, with the necessary groundworklaid for still more improvement in the future. Download Apache Subversion 1.7 soon here.

— C. Michael Pilato is a core Subversion developer and the coauthor of Version Control with Subversion. He also authors the C-Mike Run blog.

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