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Issue 6.6



Issue: 6.6 (September/October 2008)
Author: Brad Rhine
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 3,949
Starting Page Number: 12
Article Number: 6607
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If you're using Subversion with your REALbasic projects, or for any projects, you have a couple different choices for interacting with Subversion. For the terminal jocks out there, there's the command line interface, which, while powerful, can be intimidating for those who prefer a graphical interface. Fortunately for those of us who grew up with a mouse, there are some nice graphical Subversion clients available. One such client is ZigVersion.

ZigVersion first became available almost two years ago in beta form, and since then it has matured into a useful and practical Subversion client. In the interest of full disclosure, I use ZigVersion almost exclusively for my day to day Subversion needs.

The main window in ZigVersion is simple and unassuming, featuring an attractive toolbar and a hierarchical view of your repository. Most of the toolbar buttons offer access to the kind of features you'd expect from any respectable Subversion client, such as Check In, Revert, and Update. Another button compacts your hierarchical view to show only items that have changed or need to be added and their enclosing folders. I find myself using that feature several times a day.

The upside of ZigVersion is the simplicity of its interface. I'm a big fan of applications that stay out of my way and let me work, and ZigVersion fits that category.

ZigVersion also does a nice job of keeping track of repositories you've used in the past, so that they're accessible at the click of a button with subsequent runs. While managing these bookmarks is possible, it's the least intuitive aspect of ZigVersion, which was somewhat jarring.

ZigVersion does come with a few downsides, though. First of all, it's only available for Mac OS X, so REALbasic developers who primarily use Windows or Linux will be left out in the cold.

Secondly, it's not very configurable. While this is certainly due in part to its simple interface (or perhaps the cause of it), one gets the feeling that it would be really nice, for example, to show or hide columns in the main view.

I've also run across some display issues, such as a side by side file comparison that refuses to show me more than just a few lines of code, which is hardly useful when trying to see what's changed.

Finally, while the command line interface to Subversion is free, ZigVersion may or may not be, depending on your situation. For non-commercial use, ZigZig does indeed offer a free license (I took advantage of this for my school-related work). For commercial work, ZigZig asks $99, which isn't unreasonable, but does seem steep compared to the free solutions and lower cost competitors like Cornerstone and Versions. To be honest, I don't know that I'd have stuck with it if not for the non-commercial license.

All that said, it's not a bad program by any stretch. It may simply be a victim of its own simplicity.

End of article.