Using Assembla for Online Subversion Hosting

by Seanba on January 10, 2011

A couple of years ago I decided to move all my hobby source code from my local Subversion service to an online service.

My needs were pretty simple:

  • Interface locally through a Subversion client (like TortoiseSVN)
  • At least 500MB, but the more the better
  • Private, with SSL encryption
  • And, like my email, free

Assembla was highly recommended by peers, but wasn’t free, so I went with something else that fit the bill. Since then this service moved their ideal free, private, secure, 500MB, ad-free package to a less attractive free, private, non-secure, 200MB one – and with badly aligned, eyesore advertisements to boot.

Not that I can really blame them, mind you. They do need to make money, and it’s not like I program for free (at my day job anyhow). So no hard feelings.

But it turns out that Assembla is now offering a free plans so I’m trying them on for size. Their free SVN hosting is private and secure – and currently comes with a 2GB data store which is more than enough for my hobby projects that tend to be heavy on code and light on artistic resources.

It’s early into my relationship with Assembla, but at first blush I’m impressed with how easy it was to create a new repository and start adding code to it. I also appreciate their online dashboard for being well-designed, clean, and functional. You’ll see some ads there, but they are respectfully out of the way.

We’ll see how it goes, but so far so good.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Chris Waters January 10, 2011 at 8:57 pm

Last year when HG Init, a pretty rad Mercurial tutorial, was making its rounds on twitter, I started a BitBucket account to try it out. After playing with it for a while, I chose to start hosting my own code projects on there.

While it’s not SVN, it *does* offer unlimited storage on an unlimited number of repositories … on a free account. What.

Seanba January 10, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I haven’t tried BitBucket, but I’ve heard decent things about them before. If I were to do the whole exercise again I’d likely give them a shot.

Shay Pierce January 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm

I finally got around to learning git a few months ago – as I read through how it worked and handles commits and branches, I was blown away by how much it just does everything the RIGHT way.

Everyone talks about it as though it’s hard to learn, which is ironic, because it’s actually SIMPLER than any other form of version control! The only hard part is unlearning what you’ve learned with other version control systems. Git finally solves the problems of version control in the most logical, simple, elegant way. I was particularly enlightened by this introduction to it: http://www.eecs.harvard.edu/~cduan/technical/git/

And note that this is coming from someone who was a HUGE Perforce fan and has performed many many massive merges of a AAA game engine in Perforce. As well as Perforce handled that, and as great as their tech support is, I still wish I could send git to myself back in time to when I was managing that huge game engine of 30+ branches… I would have used git for sure.

All right, I’m done evangelizing for today. 🙂

Seanba January 25, 2011 at 10:25 pm

@Shay: In what evironment are you using Git? I looked at it briefly and was left with the impression it’s a bit tricky for developers on Windows.

Shay Pierce January 26, 2011 at 7:38 am

It’s true that my experience with it so far has been entirely on Mac OS X, using the GUI client “SmartGit”. However I believe that SmartGit exists on Windows as well, in fact I’ve downloaded that client on my Windows partition but haven’t yet installed it.

If there are OS or file-system level differences with git and Windows, I’m not aware of them – but then, I’m not an expert, just an enthusiast who read about git and has enjoyed using it for a couple of months.

I know that some developers at Blizzard were evaluating using it when I was there and their responses were almost entirely positive from what I heard – and of course Blizz’s devs primarily use Windows.

Adam September 4, 2011 at 12:53 am

I don’t understand what’s the advantage of using a service rather than enabling svn+ssh:// on your local machine.

Seanba December 27, 2011 at 6:21 pm

I’ve done that before in the past, Adam, and was frustrated when my home network went down while I was travelling. I’ve got a bit of a DIY streak in me, but perhaps not as strong as that found in other programmers. For this kind of thing I’d rather just leave the work up to some other entity.

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