SVK::Help::Intro - Introduction to svk


svk is an open source distributed version control system which is designed to interoperate with Subversion. Like other version control systems, it keeps track of each change you make to a project and allows you to maintain multiple parallel tracks of development. svk also has a number of powerful features which are rarely found in other version control systems.

svk has been designed from the ground up to support development models that are simple and intuitive for software developers. It has advanced smart branching and merging semantics that make it easy to maintain multiple parallel lines of development and painless to merge changes across branches. svk's built in patch manager makes it easy for non-committers to share changes among themselves and with project maintainers

svk provides powerful support for distributed development. Every svk client is capable of fully mirroring remote Subversion repositories so that you have full access to a project's history at any time, even when they are off the network or on the wrong side of a firewall. You can branch a remote project at any point in that project's history, whether or not you have write access to that project's repository. Later, you can integrate changes from the project's master server (usually with a single command) or push your branch up to another Subversion repository.


svk has a rich command line interface that can be somewhat daunting at first. the following few commands are all you'll need for day to day operation.

svk mirror

First, you'll need to mirror a remote repository. This sets up a local copy of that repository for you to branch from, merge to and otherwise poke at. The local path is sometimes called a "depot path."

    svk mirror svn:// //mirror/project_x
svk sync

When you've set up a new mirror or want to get some work done without a network connection, sync your local repository with upstream repositories.

    svk sync //mirror/project_x
svk checkout

When you want to get some work done, you can checkout a working copy to make changes.

    cd ~/svk-checkouts
    svk co //mirror/project_x

If you want to work offline, you can create a local branch

    cd ~/svk-checkouts/project_x
    svk branch --offline
svk add, svk delete and svk move

As you work on the files in your working copy, feel free to add new files, delete existing files and move files around.

    cd ~/svk-checkouts/project_x

    svk add Changelog 
    svk move badly_named_file.c well_named_file.c
    svk delete .README.swp
svk commit

When you're done, just commit your changes to your local repository, whether or not you have network. If you commit to a mirrored path, rather than a local branch, you'll need to be able to access the path's upstream subversion server, but the commit will be sent to the server instantly.

    svk commit 
svk pull

Life doesn't stop when you make a local branch. From time to time, pull down changes from the upstream repository.

    cd ~/svk-checkouts/project_x
    svk pull 
svk push

When you're ready to share your changes with the world, push them to the upstream repository.

    cd ~/svk-checkouts/project_x
    svk push 

To see a full list of svk's commands, type svk help commands. For help with a specific command, just type svk help command.

The svk wiki ( is a great place to find the latest svk tips, tricks and updates. If you run into trouble using svk, the wiki's the right place to start looking for help.