Version control

I can be extremely disorganized with computer files. My bare desktop hides a labyrinthine hard drive that contains files in sub-folders upon illogically named sub-folders that at times, I actually have to search for files.

I’m dependent on online drives for the centralized storage of files I’m working on. For so long, I used my online drive as repository of the latest versions of the files I’d need. Several times, however, I’d forget to upload the latest version of a file and then I’d find myself working on an old copy and grappling to remember which parts I’ve changed.

At times I’d redo the changes I did earlier but often, I’d just wait to report for work (if the files are in my office PC) or go home (if they’re in my home computer).

This can be such a downer, especially if you’ve already map out the things you’d be doing and you’re all set to pull an all-nighter.

Over the weekend, I again forgot to upload files for a newsroom project I was working on in the office. I started the PC at home intending to continue working on the project only to find, in eye-squinting, teeth-gnashing frustration, that I again failed to upload the latest copies of the files.

It was after this that I found a link to Unfuddle, “a secure, hosted software development environment and project management solution for small software development teams.” Unfuddle also offers Subversion for code storage and versioning.

Unfuddle project dashboard
The Unfuddle project dashboard. Photo hosted in Zooomr.

I’m not a developer but trying out Subversion had been at the back of my mind ever since I saw that the team behind the K2 WordPress theme uses it. I’ve never been able to try it before because it all seemed so geeky to me.

Thank God for GUIs and programs such as TortoiseSVN, a software that makes it possible for non-geeks like me to use Subversion.

I opened a free account with Unfuddle. The Private free account allows only one user, 15MB storage and no file attachments for messages and tickets. The services offers paid options that allow more users, bigger storage, time-tracking and SSL connectivity.

Subversion repository in Unfuddle
My Subversion repository in Unfuddle. Photo hosted in Zooomr.

After opening the account and setting up my project page, I then imported my files into my repository. This is easily done with TortoiseSVN because of its integration into the Windows file explorer. In a matter of minutes, the WordPress template files I was working on were already in my Unfuddle repository.

When I reached the office, I tried to do a Checkout but promptly encountered errors. It took me more than an hour to figure out that the office proxy was causing the errors.

The solution is in the Subversion FAQ and involves making the proxy server support the HTTP methods used by Subversion. I asked the office IT whether they could enable the methods and in just a few minutes, I was able to checkout the files in my repository and commit changes I did at the office.

In the three days that I’ve been using it, I find Unfuddle to be a good service. It allows me to use Subversion to host and manage files I’m working on and the ticketing system to keep track of things I need to do. Now, I no longer worry on having the latest versions of files and keeping track of changes.

Using TortoiseSVN
Using TortoiseSVN with the free Unfuddle account allows me to keep updated copies of the files I’m working on. Photo hosted in Zooomr.

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