Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mac SVN Clients

One of the only things I have been missing on the Mac has been a good Subversion client. Yes, there is the Subclipse plug-in for Eclipse but unless I am doing prolonged Java coding, I don't want to wait for Eclipse to start up. There is also the command line client but I like a GUI to easily visualize what has changed (yes, I know you can do that on the command line if you can remember the commands). I was looking for something like TortoiseSVN - actually better than Tortoise because Tortoise has the annoying tendency of slowing down Windows Explorer.

For a while I was using the Syncro SVN client. It came with Oxygen and was fine. A couple of days ago my friend Brian told me about Versions and Cornerstone. I have been playing around with both of them and am really impressed. Both are really new (Versions is still in Beta) and they feel like native Mac apps. Versions looks a little like another favorite program of mine: Things. Cornerstone costs $59 for a single user license. Versions hasn't announced prices yet.

Both Versions and Cornerstone are more powerful than their thin documentation would have you believe. For example, neither have instructions on how to branch a folder and neither have menu or contextual menu items to execute this action. However, by holding down the alt key and dragging a folder you can effectively branch.

After going back and forth between Cornerstone and Versions, I am finding Cornerstone a little more intuitive. In particular, I like how Cornerstone shows how many files you changed in Mail.app kind of style. Also, I found the notion of "repository" and "working copy" bookmarks a little confusing although I am sure it wouldn't take long to get used to it.
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

The real test will be when I get to merging. Hopefully one of the two applications will produce some instructions by the time that I need them.