In a move to encourage more developers to use its CodePlex open source project hosting site, Microsoft announced today that the CodePlex repository will now support TortoiseSVN and other Subversion clients without the need to install special client software.
"This has been the most requested feature from site users for as long as I've been with the project," said CodePlex Program Manager Sara Ford. "Now users can simply enter the URI for a project and work with its source files as they would with the files of any Subversion-facilitated project."
TortoiseSVN support is provided by a utility Microsoft calls the SVNBridge. Until today, developers had to download and install this piece of software on their client machines in order to gain Subversion-like access to the CodePlex repository. Now CodePlex itself will host the utility.
"For the past year," says Ford, "anytime developers wanted to use TortoiseSVN, they first had to run the SVNBridge.exe locally on their machine before every session! This obviously got really old, really fast. In fact, the very first question I was asked as the PM for CodePlex back in October on DotNetRocks [a popular .NET podcast] was why did CodePlex contributors have to run this .exe locally? Now they don't."
CodePlex is currently home to more than 5700 projects. While Subversion is the source code repository most-used by open source developers, CodePlex uses Microsoft's Team Foundation Server as its repository, typically accessed via the Team Explorer client. Through the new support provided by SVNBridge, developers can use their Subversion tools to work with the CodePlex repository as they would with any other Subversion project.
Details, including instructions on how to use TortoiseSVN and other Subversion clients with CodePlex, are available at the CodePlex team blog.