By LUKE MCGOVERN
Published: June 30, 2009
One of the biggest features for developers in Dreamweaver CS4 is the Subversion (SVN) integration. Hearing about this feature makes you want to clap your hands and get ready for more efficient coding fun!
This isn't Dreamweaver's first taste of integrated version control. MS Visual SourceSafe (VSS) used to be the old flavour for DW but has since been given the flick. Interestingly, VSS was one of the worst version control systems available and it was so bad MS didn't even use it in-house for there own development! Despite the short comings of VSS the DW integration was pretty good. Nothing special but it worked (most of the time).
Adobe is now trumpeting its support for SVN and its new tools for integration. One might wonder about Git and CVS support but once you see the SVN integration you'll be thankful they are absent.
With all that being said, let's have a closer look...
First you'll want to setup access to your repository. It's all relatively simple with the set up handled in the "Manage Sites..." area. The only snags come about if you are using svn+ssh access. If you use svn+ssh you'll get a "helpful" warning message informing you that you are going to have to dig through some help files to complete the set up - no joke. What they are saying is - Google this complication and we'll guide you through some rigmarole. The rigmarole consists of setting up some ssh keys and a small dose of Terminal configuration. It's not the most painful experience but it's not a smooth procedure by any stretch. At the time it seems like it's worth it because SVN integration sure sounds sweet.
Once connected to the repository. It's not surprising to find DW complaining that a different version of SVN was used to check out the repo. Okay, fine. Delete the working copy and fish it again from the server via DW. Now everything should be sweet and peachy.
Now it's time to have a look at all the cool menu options you get to use - which is whole reason for the integration, right? Scanning through the menu you'll see there's not a lot there. Those familiar with the SVN4DW extension and the power of TortoiseSVN will be a little shocked. The words commit, revert, and compare are absent. Lock and un-lock appear as normal but the words check-in and check-out seem a little out of place. "Check-in" means commit and "check-out" means update. If this reviewer didn't know better he'd say that this is the same old version control system as the VSS days but with a new connector for an SVN repository!
Fair enough if Adobe want to reuse some code but this is just confusing and stupid. Not only because there are a bunch of options missing - delete, rename, etc. but there seems to be no way to place an 'ignore' property on a directory or a file or use any other properties for that matter.
Another thing worth mentioning is that it's slow. Sure it might not be DW's fault as there is communication with a server required but don't get the idea of multitasking while DW is doing something. It's an outrage and this is something DW has had a problem with for generations.
All in all the whole integration reeks of shenanigans. This is the big selling point for DW CS4 and it's pretty much useless. If you are thinking you might be able to use it just for the odd commit (aka "check-in") you might need to think again. DW is based on SVN version 1.4. If you have an SVN client based on a newer version, DW is going to refuse any more communication with the SVN server...
Error: "SVN: #155021. You cannot update this file using Dreamweaver's Subversion integration... " When Connecting to Subversion in Dreamweaver CS4
Adobe's way around this is to recommend you install an extension that can sweep through and revert your meta data back to version 1.4. Great idea - if only it worked. In the end this leaves the user with one alternative. Don't use Dreamweaver CS4's integration and stick to a stable client that won't give you so much grief.
Don't forget to give Adobe a big thanks for their one (and only) notable new feature to DW since the days of MX.
Had a similar experience or totally love the integration, let us know by leaving a comment...