Subversion has taken over the position as the boring version control system that just works. And even though several good alternatives have come up from the camp of distributed VCS’s, I still prefer the good old central repository model. The drawback of having a central server is in my opinion subversion’s strong side. Scattering multiple copies around just makes getting everything into a system and ready for production a whole lot more difficult.

As an old Linux user, I’m also quite fond of using a proper shell to help my workday along. And for that I prefer zsh, mostly because of its strong completion system. Like most unix shells, zsh can be extended with custom functions, simple or complex. Below are three such functions that I use frequently. (They can probably easily be ported to bash or other shells as well, but the syntax used here is for zsh).

Filtered status view

If you’re anything like me, you frequently pollute your repository with dump files, debug files and other junk while working. This will clutter the status check with a bunch of files that subversion does not recognize, and therefore displays with a ‘?’ at the front, like this:

'-(18:51:%)-- svn status                                        --(Tue,Oct20)-'
?       pypi-classifiers.txt
?       dump.pcap
M       src/

If you just want to see what files have changed since last sync with the repository the following small function is helpful.

svnstatus () {
 templist=`svn status $*`
 echo `echo $templist | grep '^?' | wc -l` unversioned files/directories
 echo $templist | grep -v '^?'

This will print a quick summary of unknown files, and then list files with modifications since last commit.

'-(18:51:%)-- svnstatus                                         --(Tue,Oct20)-'
2 unversioned files/directories
M       src/

Show log when updating

When running svn update a list of modified files is output but there is no mention of what exactly has changed in these files. The following little snippet will display the log before doing the update. Handy for seeing just what your coworkers have been up to lately.

svnup () {
 svn log --stop-on-copy -r HEAD:BASE $1
 svn up $1

A little warning on this though. svn log can be slow if run on a huge set of files, or if there has been a very long time since the last update from the server repository.

Colorful diff tool

This little function relies on the code2color script often automatically installed in gentoo with the standard less package. If you’re not using gentoo, you can get it here. It might need a bit of massaging.

This little function will simply do what a normal svn diff will, but the output is fed through code2color, and the result is a screenful of pretty colors. If you want to, pipe it further to less as you would normally do.

export C2C=/usr/bin/code2color
svndiff () {
 svn diff $* | $C2C -l patch -

That’s it. To use these functions, just add them to your $HOME/.zshrc file, and start a new instance of zsh. (or source $HOME/.zshrc if you like).