Subversion web development question.

Philip Hallstrom freebsd at
Mon Jul 24 17:11:22 UTC 2006

> Forgive me if this question is stupid or has been answered before, more than 
> likely this info exists, but I'm not looking in the right place.  I work in a

I'd recommend searching the subversion mailing lists as well.  It's been 
covered, but it's not stupid :)

> small corporation that is heavily dependent on web apps in which I am the 
> sole developer.  Currently we're using ASP on Win2K with SQL Server 2000. 
> We've used RedHat for years on our mail / DNS servers, and have migrated to 
> FreeBSD for both.  Since ASP has pretty much been rendered obsolete by .Net, 
> we are eventually going to migrate our web apps.  Rather than continue down 
> the road of MS technology, we have decided to migrate to PHP & MySQL based on

Not to start a war, but if you're switching now, you might want to look 
into Ruby on Rails as well.

> Our development infrastructure to date works in this manner.  Since I am the 
> sole developer, and will be for the long term future, there has never been

Since you're changing things now, assume that you are not the sole 
developer anymore.  You'll be thankful you did when the next developer 
comes along :)

> any real need to incorporate SourceSafe.  Instead we run a separate 
> development server to do all the coding.  An FTP site has been set up to 
> repository on the server.  I currently use HomeSite for it's built-in FTP 
> client.  Coding is done locally, saved back to the server, and tested on the 
> server in a browser.  Testing is not done locally because our needs are such 
> that there is a large number of static text files need to be accessed by our 
> apps.  The parameters to access these files are hard to duplicate to a 
> workstation, and it has proved (for us anyway) to be easier to test these 
> apps on a server that is a mirrored environment of the live server.

This sound very similar to our situation..

> My question is can something like this be replicated on FreeBSD w/ 
> Subversion?


> I would like to setup a versioning system, but am at a loss on 
> how the development process would operate.  I have found information on how 
> to update files on the live server from the development server, but not much 
> in the way of how to set up a development server to get Subversion to update 
> the files in the Apache directories.  It would be trivial for me to simply 
> set up FTP sites that map to the Apache directories, and change the 
> permission structure to allow access to these directories, but I'd rather not 
> create a security headache for myself down the road.  Can Subversion be set 
> up to check out a file, commit it back to the server, and test it in a 
> browser from a workstation?  Or does the file need to be moved from the 
> Subversion directories to the Apache directories by someone w/ root 
> privileges every time a file has been edited?

If your development server is local (ie. on the LAN) to your workstation, 
I would setup Samba to share your web tree to your workstation.   Once 
this is done you can simply create/edit/delete files right from your 
workstation and the changes take affect immediately on the development 

The second step is to add subversion.  To do this, create the subversion 
repository on your development server (or on a dedidcated server 
somewhere) and set it up to allow remote access.  Then, go get a graphical 
SVN client like TortioseSVN (for windows only, but mac clients exist too) 
and configure it to check out your repository onto that share you mounted 

At this point you can manage your files on your workstation and 
immediately check your results.

Then when happy, you can commit your changes with SVN and they get 
committed to the repository.

You don't need subversion to move files into your web tree.  That's not 
what it does.

Some other thoughts...

If you like the command line, you can skip the graphical SVN client and 
just do it directly on the development server.  That's what I do.  If you 
did that you could also skip Samba and keep on using your FTP client, 
although I personally hate having to FTP files back and forth.

Search the net for books on subversion... there are a couple that are 
freely available.  OReilly also has made their samba book free as well.

Good luck!

> Sorry if this question has been answered somewhere else, it's just that most 
> of the info I seem to be finding is based on application development for 
> locally run binaries in which the app is tested locally before being 
> committed back to the server.
> Best regards,
> Greg Groth
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