Using git as subversion client

Almost a decade ago, a company I worked for, started using Subversion which was a great step forward coming from Visual Source Safe.

Today, the landscape is totally different, but on enterprise level not much has changed. Some of the companies use Team Foundation Server which is great if you like total integration, but it’s source control system is not that great.
Others remained with Subversion.

They might be thinking of going to Git, but most of them are afraid of the learning curve. As with all learning processes, you just have to start somewhere, just dive-in, step by step you’ll start learning Git.

Getting Started

As a fan of Chocolatey as machine package manager, just enter at command prompt

cinst git

Or download the installer for git (at the moment it’s version 1.9.4).

Checking out the repository

If your Subversion has the default trunk, branches, tags layout

git svn clone -s <repo_url> --prefix svn/

The -s switch is a shortcut for

git svn clone -T trunk --t tags --b branches <repo_url> --prefix svn/

This will checkout the trunk of the repository by default. Now suppose your repository already had a branch called Test:

> git branch -a
* master

Advanced: Shallow clone

As the default approach above will crawl trough all svn revisions which can be very slow, if you are in an environment where they are using a single Svn repository with a lot of revisions for different projects, you could be looking at a few hours, days or even weeks (+ 150000 revisions). In that particular use case follow this approach:

Get first revision of directory in gigantic repository

svn log <repo_url>

The lowest/first revision number is what you are looking for, if you want full history in git on the project. If you just wanna checkout you can use the last revision number.

Checkout repository

git svn clone -s <repo_url> --prefix svn/ -r <first-revision>

This will initialize an empty git repository, now get the trunk

git svn rebase

If you would look at your branches you would see that the test branch is not there in this case !

> git branch -a
* master

To get the remote branch to appear you need to

git svn fetch

Updating your repository

git svn rebase

It will fetch latest changes from the trunk and will try to rebase your work on top of it. If any conflicting changes where made, you’ll have to merge them.

Committing your changes

git svn dcommit

Further reading