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VisualSVN Server

Last  time, we talked about Source Code Management (SCM) systems and why you need them. Today we’re going to set up our choice of SCM: Subversion. I used to install Subversion server on a Linux machine and dedicate that box to being a SCM system. The problem I always had was getting it set up and getting it authenticating against Windows credentials. Not long ago, someone turned me on to VisualSVN Server and I haven’t looked back.

Here a quick set-by-step for getting a subversion server set up using VisualSVN Server.

First, download the server from the VisualSVN website ( Make sure you download the SERVER and not the VisualSVN Visual Studio plug-in. It’s only about 4Mb and it installs with a double-click. The version that downloads by default (as of this writing) is 2.0.6.

Installing VisualSVN

We click on the installer and start with a setup wizard screen that tells you it is going to install Apache and Subversion. Click the “Next” button, and accept the license agreement. The next screen gives us a choice of installing the server and the management console or just the management console. We choose the “VisualSVN Server and Management Console” option and click on the “Next” button. On the next screen you can accept all the defaults except one: the “Use Subversion authentication” we want to change to “User Windows authentication” so we don’t have to manage any user accounts for Subversion, then hit the “Next” button, and click “Install” on the next screen.

When it finishes, make sure the “Start VisualSVN Server Manager” is selected (it is by default) and click the “Finish” button. This will start the VisualSVN Management Console. If you have already unchecked the “Start VisualSVN Server Manager” check box and closed the window, you can go to: Start > All Programs > VisualSVN > VisualSVN Server Manager and start it from there too. You should see a screen like the one below.


You’ll want to right-click on the “Repositories” tree node on the left, and choose “Create New Repository…”. When you do, you will see the “Create New Repository” screen where you can give your repository a name. We’ll name this one “FirstRepo”. You can also choose to have it create the default structure for you (trunk, branches, tags), but in this case we don’t want to (we’ll talk about that in the next post). When you click “Ok”, you be taken back to the Server Manager screen and you’ll notice the “FirstRepo” node has been added to the “Repositories” node on the tree on the left.

Checking Out the Repository

You can get the TortoiseSVN client for SVN from the Tortoise website ( and install it just as easily. Once you’ve downloaded and install Tortoise, you will probably need to restart your machine (at least I did on the x64 version). Once you’re back, go to your C:\ drive and create an “svn” folder under the root (this isn’t mandatory, it’s just how I do things). Then open that folder, and add a “FirstRepo” folder. Right-click on the “FirstRepo” folder and choose “SVN Checkout” from the context menu. You should see a screen like the one below.


You should enter the URL of your SVN repository shown on you VisualSVN Management screen above. Take the Server URL and append the repository name (for me, that’s https://[servername]/svn/FirstRepo/") everything else should be good by default. Then click “OK”. You might be hit with the screen below.


Since we’re using a self-generated certificate to transfer files over https, this warning will come up. Just “Accept Permanently” and wait for the login screen to come up. Login with your Windows credentials and voila, you have just created and checked out your first repository! You should notice a green circle-check on your “FirstRepo” folder (you may have to refresh the folder to get it to show up). This indicates that the content on your hard drive, matches what’s in the Subversion repository.

Congratulations! Now you can add code files to this folder, and right-click at any level (most often you should do it at the root folder) and choose “SVN commit” and that will check code into the repository.

Next time, we’ll look at common folder structures for SVN repositories and why we use those structures.

‘Til next time

Additional Resources

The Subversion Book (It’s Free):

VisualSVN Documentation:

Another Subversion Book (Not Free): Pragmatic Version Control: Using Subversion

Check Out Some Code

From Google Code:

From CodePlex:

Posted on Friday, September 4, 2009 11:36 PM | Back to top

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