Subversion on Mac Instructions

May 15th, 2007

I have been looking and looking for a solution for Mac using subversion and have found NO streamlined instructions for how to setup and use subversion on a Mac. I have found a lot of helpful instructions in different areas which I will list here. These may explain some things better than others but I will explain what I did and what worked for me.

I have tried using all of the mac clients for subversion and have found no luck with any of them. I have found the best way to use subversion on the mac is by using the scplugin available at the tigris website. This is something like the third step but wanted it to be known that was my plan.

Getting subversion installed and usable

  1. Using your host admin panel, create a repository with users and passwords for you to use. You will need these later when you actually checkout the repositories.
  2. I am leaving this kind of vague because it depends on your host. I am using dreamhost for ruby on rails application development. Using DreamHost, I login at Click Goodies>Subversion and then follow the instructions for creating a new repository.

  3. Now you are going to have to enable your mac to use subversion. Now we have to install the subversion client found at tigris’ website.
    1. Visit the subversion client download page.
    2. You are going to want to scroll down to the Mac options and choose the non-Fink universal binary .dmg.
    3. Download and run the installation for the subversion client. (I am using version 1.3.1)
  4. At this point in scplugin’s development tigris has not enabled a check for username and password so the first time that you access a project with subversion you are going to have to do it in terminal. For this reason we want to make sure that svn commands are accessible in Terminal.
    1. Open up terminal.
    2. Type svn in the command line. You should get “Type ‘svn help’ for usage”.
    3. If you get a -bash error ‘command not found’ (like I did) you have to let terminal know where to look for your svn client in the .bash_profile file. Good instructions for this is in the Subversion Client installation area in Josh Buhler’s blog from 2005. Let me know if these somehow get outdated or you want me to go through them here.

  5. Now we have to install the SCPlugin so that we can use Subversion with finder. I have tried most of the other clients and have found this one to be the most secure and fully developed.
    1. Download the scplugin from tigris.
    2. Note: I had to download the 1.3 version because the Subversion client that I downloaded was 1.3.1.

    3. The SCFinderPlugin does not have an installer yet but they make it extremely easy to install. Unzip the file that you had downloaded and simply move the .plugin file into the Contextual Menu Items folder that is right next to it. They include a link to this folder on your computer so you are really copying the file onto your hard drive in the appropriate place.
    4. Now you should check to make sure that the scplugin is installed correctly. Right-click/control-click on a folder. There should be a subversion option at the bottom. If there is, it is installed correctly.

    Using subversion with SCFinderPlugin

    Like I said earlier, the first time you checkout the repository (associate your local copy with your online repository) you are going to have to do it in terminal. The SCPlugin does not check for your username and password so it will always fail if you try to check it out in finder before doing it in the terminal.

    1. Open Terminal.
    2. Navigate to a local folder you wish to check the repository out to.
    3. Type svn co
    4. Type in the username and password when prompted. All of the files (if any) should copy to your computer’s hard-drive. This is good even if you don’t have any files in your repository because it establishes the location and steps needed to access your subversion repository with the username and password. From now on you wont need to use terminal to do anything more with this repository.
    5. Note: If you have anymore questions about using or installing the SCFinderPlugin the Tigris website might help you.

    Now you can navigate (in Finder) to the folder that you checked out your repository to. If you right click on the top folder of the application you should have two extra commands ‘Subversion Commit…’ and ‘Subversion Update’. If these two commands are there you checked the repository out correctly.

    To use subversion, just make changes to the files you wish to and save them. Go to the main folder of your application and right-click. ‘Subversion Commit…’ will send all of the changes that you have made to the repository. To get changes that someone else has made select ‘Subversion Update’.

I am planning on updating this, cleaning it up, and adding some screenshots for help. If you have any questions please let me know. I know it is frustrating if you get lost and confused.

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