SVN vs Git:Difference between them

SVN vs Git:Difference between them

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Updated on Feb 28, 2023 10:42 IST

This article explains the key differences between SVN and Git, two of the most popular version control systems. Learn how they differ in terms of workflow, branching, merging, and more.

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Version control is a very important practice in DevOps. Version control systems (VCS) are essential tools for software developers, allowing them to manage changes to their codebase, keep track of different versions of their software, and collaborate with others. SVN and Git are two tools that are the most widely used in VCS, each with its strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will discuss the differences between SVN and Git, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Table of contents

What is SVN?

SVN (Subversion) is a version control system that was released in 2000. It allows users to manage changes to their codebase. It was created as an alternative to CVS (Concurrent Versions System). SVN is a centralized version control system with a central repository where all changes are committed/stored. Users/developers can check out a copy of the codebase from the central repository, make changes, and commit those changes back to the repository. SVN uses locks to prevent conflicts when multiple users are working on the same file.

What is Git?

Git is also a distributed version control system that was first released in 2005. It is now one of the world’s most widely used version control systems. Git is a decentralized version control system, meaning each user has a copy of the codebase. In short, Users/developers can change their copy of the codebase and then push those changes to a central repository, where their code is merged with changes made by other users. Git doesn’t use blocks like SVN, instead uses branching and merging to manage changes. This allows for more flexibility and a more powerful workflow.

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Advantages of Git

  1. Works locally- Contributors work on clones of the main repository. You can continue working offline without a network connection to the main repository. Contributors only need to connect when they are ready to push their changes. This also helps limit network traffic to the main repository.
  2. Failure-Avoid single points of failure. The main repository can be restored from one of your local copies as repositories are distributed in local copies.
  3. Robust system- Handles merging multiple contributors effectively. All contributors work independently on a copy of the main repository. Git then provides a robust system for collating and merging each contributor’s changes. Staging is part of this, allowing contributors to focus on specific features without affecting others.

Disadvantages of Git

  1. Complicated process- To collaborate on a project using Git, you must make changes locally, deploy those changes, and merge the changes into the main branch. This process can be complicated, especially for non-technical users.
  2. No restricted access- It lacks fine-grained access control. Git supports applying restrictions on the ability of contributors to create branches and merge changes into the main repository. However, it is not possible to restrict access to certain parts of the repository. Anyone with access to the repo can access everything in the repo, and the local repo is a clone of the entire codebase.
  3. Compressing files- Does not effectively handle storing large binaries. Git cannot compress these files effectively. This means that the size of your repository can grow exponentially with every change you make to a large binary.

Use cases of SVN and Git

Use Cases SVN Git
Centralized workflow Best for large teams with strict access control Not ideal for centralized workflows, but possible
Distributed workflow Not ideal for distributed workflows, but possible Best for distributed teams and workflows
Code collaboration Best for traditional, hierarchical code review processes Best for agile, collaborative code review processes
Open source projects Popular for open source projects with many contributors Popular for open source projects with many contributors
Large codebases Good for managing large codebases with a lot of binary files Good for managing large codebases with a lot of text files
Speed Slower than Git in terms of performance Faster than SVN in terms of performance
Learning curve Easier to learn for beginners, less flexible Steeper learning curve, more flexible
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Differences between SVN and Git

  • SVN is a centralized version control system, while Git is a distributed version control system.
  • SVN is better suited for large codebases with frequent changes, while Git is better for smaller projects with a more decentralized workflow.
  • SVN uses locks to prevent conflicts, while Git uses branching and merging to manage changes.
  • SVN has a simple workflow, while Git offers a more flexible and powerful workflow.
  • SVN is slower than Git when it comes to branching and merging.
  • Git is easier to learn than SVN.

Conclusion

In conclusion, SVN and Git are powerful version control systems with strengths and weaknesses. SVN is a good choice for larger projects with a more centralized workflow, while Git is better for smaller projects with a more decentralized workflow.

FAQs

What is SVN?

SVN (Subversion) is a centralized version control system allowing users to manage codebase changes.

What is Git?

Git is a distributed version control system allowing users to manage codebase changes and collaborate with others.

Which one should I choose?

It depends on your specific needs. SVN is better suited for large codebases with frequent changes, while Git is better for smaller projects with a more decentralized workflow.

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