If you tried Subversive before, it’s time to try it again

Helios’ Subversive release is a vast improvement over previous versions!  If you’ve tried Subversive before and didn’t like it, it is time to try it again.

For those who aren’t aware, Subversive is an Eclipse client for accessing Subversion.  In March 2009, I blogged about both choices of Eclipse client: Subversive and Subclipse.

Installing Subversive in Helios

  1. Launch Eclipse
  2. Help > Install new software
  3. Choose “Subversive SVN Team Provider” and “Subversive Revision Graph”.
  4. Eclipse prompts you to restart the workspace
  5. Go to Subversion perspective
  6. Eclipse launches the “Subversive Connector Discovery” for you to pick a connector.  I chose SVN Kit 1.3.2.  Be careful.  The latest versions of the connectors are not at the top.

New Features

All the new features are documented on the wiki.  The biggest things:

  • Subversive is an incubator project and in the Helios release train.  This means it was designed to work at the launch of Eclipse 3.6.
  • Better tag awareness – I can now do a compare with tag and see list of tags for project.  It is also fast.  Not CVS level fast, but that is because of the way SVN data is stored – something a plugin can’t do anything about.  It is faster than before which is appreciated.
  • Can compare by tag/date/revision or generate a diff file
  • Revision Graph optional feature (see screenshot up top).  This was pretty much the only thing I switched to Tortoise SVN for and now it is in my main tool.  It is also easier to use than Tortoise’s version.  It has the following features:
    • Handles tags/branches/etc
    • If you mouseover a box, you see author, date and full commit comment
    • If you right click a box, you can compare to the trunk (which it calls ‘HEAD’ oddly enough), show history or branch/tag from that revision.
    • The image scrolls well.

What is still missing?

It’s still a pain to look at all the changes to a file.  This is something that is easy in CVS, but not SVN.  It is better than it was in the past release, but still a pain.  I recognize this is a number of operations in SVN, but it would be nice if a tool could automate it.  Since none of the other Subversion plugins have this feature either, I can’t call it a fault of Subversive though.

Comparison with Subclipse

In fairness to Subclipse, Subclipse also has an optional revision graph feature at this time.  Most of the logic from my previous post still applies.  I still like Subversive “just a bit better.”

What’s next?

I think the big question is whether Subversive will get promoted to actually be part of Eclipse.  It looks a lot more promising than 18 months ago.


See my review of Eclipse 3.6 itself.