Author: Mike Mason
Publisher: Pragmatic Bookshelf, 2010
Aimed at: Team developers
Pros: Reference, suitable for beginners to Subversion
Cons: Lacks depth
Reviewed by: Alex Armstrong
A slim, task-based guide to the Subversion source control system.
While Git might be gaining ground as the source control application of choice, a lot of people still use Subversion and a lot make a positive choice to use it. This is a small book packed with instructions on getting using Subversion.
The first part is composed of six tasks that get you started. At this stage it assumes that you have a Subversion server ready to use or that you are using a hosted service, so getting started means using a command line or graphical client. Part II is composed of 16 common tasks - checking out , making changes, committing changes and so on.
From here we have working with a team, using the history, creating a branch and file locking. Part VII is about setting up a server including using a hosted service. It also covers details such as backup and restore. Finally we have a section on advanced topics which deals with working with properties, externals and so on.
In total the book covers 48 tasks and many of them are fairly short - the sort of thing you could discover how to do in a few minutes of searching the documentation. They really only serve to make sure you know what to do next. You also have to know a little about version control to make sense of what the tasks are telling you to do - this isn't a tutorial on the problems of version control.
I'm also not sure it is senseitble to have the section on installing a subversion server so later in the book. It isn't a difficult task and many readers might well want to set up a local server just to try things out. The final warning is that the tasks don't go deep into what can go wrong.
Overall this is a book suitable for the complete beginner who is too lazy to read the documentation or who needs a printed copy. If you know anything about Subversion then it could also act as a reference guide. So the final verdict has to be that this book isn't essential reading, but you might find it useful nevertheless.