Introduction SVN for SmartGit

Tour: SmartGit as SVN Bridge

This page provides an introduction to SmartGit from an SVN users perspective and shows how the most common SVN workflows can be performed using SmartGit:

Check Out: cloning an SVN repository

With Git, you do not check out a certain revision, but you clone an entire "repository". For SVN repositories, you will get the complete version history for the specific URL of your project (either a complete Subversion repository or a sub-directory of such a repository which contains your project, including trunk-, branches- and tags-directory).

This may sound like a huge amount of data, but the initial phase of a SmartGit clone is as quick as an svn checkout. Git is efficient in storing version history: it's not unusual that a Subversion working copy (one single revision) and the complete Git clone (of all revisions) are about the same size.


Working Copy: the Git working tree

Once the initial phase of Check Out has completed, SmartGit will open your fully-functional Git repository in the Project window. The Git repository consists of a working tree and the entire version history (stored in the .git-subdirectory) of your repository.

Similar to SVN, SmartGit provides several commands to alter your working tree. Most of them are located in the Local- and Branch-menu. Read more ...

Project window with working tree

Commit (part 1): Commit locally

To commit your changes, use Local|Commit. This is a purely local operation and will create a Git commit in your repository. It does not yet create any new revision in the SVN repository, nor does it contact the SVN server at all.

Commit dialog

Log: Git commits and version history

The Log window shows the commits of your local Git repository: commits which are ancestors of remote branches, like svn/trunk, are already present in the SVN repository. Commits which are just ancestors of local branches, like trunk, are only present in your local Git repository.

The Log will only be present, once the Check Out has been finished and all revisions have been fetched.

Log window

Commit (part 2): Push

To publish your changes, as svn commit does immediately, you have to Push your local commits back to the SVN repository by using Remote|Push (Project window).


The results of a Push show up in the Log window: remote branches become updated to the corresponding local branches because the commits are now present in the SVN repository.

Push result (Log)

Until you have pushed your commits, you have all freedom to rearrange them:

Rearrange Commits

Update: Pulling changes

To fetch the latest revisions of other users to your local Git repository, use Remote|Pull (Project window).


If you have local commits, you may either Pull (and hence Rebase) your changes onto the latest SVN commits, or you may just Fetch these commits and have your local branch diverge from the remote branch. In the latter case, you need to Rebase your local commits onto the latest SVN commits manually.

Switch: changing the current branch

Contrary to SVN, branches and tags are native concepts of Git. Read more ...

SmartGit maps branches/ and tags/ directory of your SVN repository to Git branches and tags accordingly. Read more ...

To switch (svn switch) from one branch to another, you may use Local|Check Out or the Switch menu item from the popup menu in the Branches view (Project window).


Merge (part 1): Merging release branches

Release branches are merged from time to time to the main development line (usually trunk). In SmartGit, use Branch|Merge to perform such a merge (Project and Log window). This will result in a merge commit which is a core concept of Git. When pushing, it will be translated back to the SVN svn:mergeinfo property.

Merge result (Log)

Merge (part 2): Rebasing feature branches

When using SVN, maintaining features branches requires merging from the main development line from time to time and finally performing a reintegrating merge to get the feature back into the main development line. With Git there is a more effective mechanism for that, called "Rebase": Rebase will rewrite your feature branch commits onto the latest commits of your main code base.

Rebase result (Log)

Rebase can be used for locally as well as for remotely managed feature branches. It will also be used to rewrite your local commits onto the latest SVN commits when Pulling.

Copy (WC-URL, URL-URL): creating tags and branches

You can create a new branch or tag simply by using Branch|Add Branch or Branch|Add Tag on a specific commit (Log window). For example, branch feature and tag milestone-1. Read more ...

Add Branch/Tag result (Log)

As for commits, both, branches and tags, are just locally present in your Git repository after adding them. To create the branch in the SVN repository as well, use Local|Push (project window) for the current branch or Push from the Branches-view context menu (Project window) for all other branches. This will result in a new SVN revision, for which branches/feature will be added and marked as copied from trunk. The corresponding Git branch svn/branches/feature shows up in the Log window immediately after the Push:

Push Branch result (Log)

Local tags do not have a remote counterpart in the Git repository. They can simply be pushed to SVN, either immediately when creating them (Add Tag dialog) or later from the Branches-view context menu (Project window).