migrating tags from a large coderanch repository from svn to git

To review, this repository has just under ten thousand commits and just under 400 tags. Migrating with “git svn clone” would have taken over 48 hours. Since the majority of the time was going to migrating the tags, I decided to migrate just the trunk/branches and then re-create the tags. After all they are just labels. This post describes the procedure.

Also see

Looking at the commit comments

Each migrated commit in git has a comment like:

git-svn-id: https://<url>/svn/projectName@8848 9a30da7b-550c-0410-b2c9-c7485123b453

This is good. It lets me map SVN commits (ex: 8848) to Git has (9a30da). This means it is possible to create the tags with a script.

Some “light googling” didn’t find such a script so I wrote my own.

Step 1 – Create a file containing all the SVN tag names to migrate

This is easy. Go to https://<svn url>/svn/tags/ in a browser and it gives you such a list. Just copy this to a file. My file had 396 lines in it. But copy/paste doesn’t charge per line so this was ok!

Step 2 – Map SVN tag names to SVN commit numbers and Git commit hashes

I wrote a script to create CSV of these pieces of informatio. I didn’t include creating the tags in that script so I could review the output in between. I spot checked and it looked reasonable. (the script took about 10 minutes to run against a remote SVN. But I had almost 400 tags so that’s not bad.)

The script is long so I included it at the bottom of the post.I put in a file named generateSvnGitMapping.sh

Step 3 – Actually create the Git tags

I ran another script I wrote to actually create the github tags. We had one SVN tag with a single quote in it. This tag was created in error. Since it was recreated with the proper name, I choose not to migrate it. I put this script in a file named generateTags.sh:

for line in `cat ../tagMapping-oneLine.txt`
echo $line
echo ${line} | awk -F',' '{ print git tag -a $1 -m"re-creating tag for SVN @$2 commit" $3 }'

Then I

  1. ran generateTags.sh > tags.sh
  2. Placed script in git repo directory: mv tags.sh new-git-repo
  3. cd new-git-repo
  4. Ran script ./tags.sh
  5. Delete script rm tags.sh
  6. Listed tags to ensure seemed reasonable: git tags -l

Step 4 – Push tags to GitLab (or GitHub)

git push --tags

The script for step 2


# To run, pass two parameters: 
# 1) The location of the local git repository
# 2) The file containing the tag names you'd like to check
# 3) The URL of the base SVN (not including /tags)
# ------------------------------------------------

# gets svn revision number for a svn tag
# $1 = svn url (ex: https://svn.com/svn)
# $2 = tag (ex: my_tag)
# sets variable svn_revision
set_svn_revision() { 
  svn_revision=`svn log "$1/tags/$2"/ --limit 1 | 
       head -2 | tail -1  | awk '{print $1}'`

   # remove leading "r" so just returns the number

# ------------------------------------------------

# sets the git commit number for a svn revision
# if no commits are found (or more than one comment has this tag), exits the program
# $1 = svn commit (ex: r1234)
# $2 = tag name (ex: my_tag)
# sets variable git_commit
set_git_commit() {
  # since didn't migrate tags, need commit right before the tag
  # this might be a few commits back in some cases so check 5
  while [ "$commit_right_before_tag" == "" ];
    # add character before/after in git-svn log message to avoid ambiguity
    candidate_commit="@$previous_commit "

    num_lines=`git log --grep "$candidate_commit" | grep commit | wc -l`

    # if found a commit, use it. otherwise try some more
    if [ "$num_lines" -ne "0" ]; then
    # if  tried too many times, give up
    if [ "$num_attempts" -gt "$max_to_try" ]; then
      echo "commit ($1) for tag name ($2) not found. Aborting. Please check git repo or remove this tag from the input"


  git_commit=`git log --grep "$commit_right_before_tag" | head -1 | awk '{print $2}'`

# ------------------------------------------------

if [[ $# -ne 3 ]]
    echo "Requires three parameters:"
    echo "1) Path to git repo"
    echo "2) name of file containing tags"
    echo "3) url to svn"


all_tag_names=`cat $tag_names_file`

cd "$git_dir"

for tag_name in `echo $all_tag_names`
    set_svn_revision "$svn_url" "$tag_name"
    set_git_commit "$svn_revision" "$tag_name"
    echo "git tag -a "$tag_name_without_trailing_slash" -m \"re-creating tag for SVN @$svn_revision commit\" $git_commit"

cd $current_dir

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