SVNing in Visual Studio 2008

March 26, 2008

At work, we’re still a Visual SourceSafe shop.  It works, don’t knock it.

However, at home, I’ve become VERY happy with SVN.  TortoiseSVN is great to drop and pick up repositories, update, and all that jazz, but I really missed the convenience of having those functionalities in Visual Studio.

I remember Will mentioning that having the VS plugins “dirtied” up the environment with junk.  Maybe, but damn it… a hot key to sync to SVN, apply patches, see differences, etc., to me, is a productivity boost.  Maybe I’m not as hardcore as Will—or I’m just more lazy.

So, after looking around, I found two rather attractive plugins for SVN.


VisualSVN is pretty darn slick.  The Server itself works very well, adds a beautiful MMC console for managing repositories, and just makes sense.  The VS integration plugin works great and it works hand-in-hand with TortoiseSVN.

I liked the interface for logging messages, checking in, and looking at differences the best.

The downfall—it costs a bit of money, but just a bit.

A personal license (well, and a corporate too, haha) is 49$US per individual.  If you are part of an active open source project, you’re in luck because it’s free (I’m assuming they appreciate the free advertising).

The advantage—while the connector for Visual Studio costs 49$US, the VisualSVN SERVER license is FREE.  That keeps us out of the command prompt for creating and managing the basics.  Good deal.


AnkhSVN is a free, open source solution for using SVN with Visual Studio.  Rather than relying on Tortoise, AnkhSVN actually fully integrates into Visual Studio—for Diffs, logging, snap-ins for the repositories, additional Solution explorer windows, and more.

It has the snazzy icons as well.

Unlike VisualSVN, it feels a bit rough. 

The menus are all over the place (the AnkhSVN menu is actually hidden in Tools and then adding the repositories is under File).  It also doesn’t register as a Source Control plug-in with Visual Studio (I’m assuming it’s working AROUND Visual Studio, not through it), so the File > Source Control menu never appears and cannot be used.

So what am I using?

Both.  The VisualSVN server is great and saves me some headaches for setting up repositories—I also love the web interface.  AnkhSVN, while a bit rough, works very well.  I’m using the 1.0.3 Preview release for VS2008, so I’m assuming it’ll continue to improve and I look forward to contributing where I can to that process.  The Server is running on Windows Server 2003 R2 and AnkhSVN works like a champ under both Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2003 R2.


  1. Henning
    August 9, 2009 at 3:29 am

    Thanks for pointing out these projects .. I’ve chosen AnkhSVN now. Version > 2 is a full rewrite and a full integration into VS 2008/2010 now. And it stands under Apache 2.0. Great thing.


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