Subversion Live London 2012 – Day 1 recap

Being relatively new to Subversion and WANdisco I was a bit unsure of what to expect from Subversion Live, but the people who attended last year seemed to get a lot out of it, and I definitely wanted to meet some of our customers and community members face to face.

Day one turned out to be extremely helpful, and I got to meet some really great people over a beer or several in the cocktail session. Here’s a quick recap of the day, and particularly the things I enjoyed or learnt the most from.


Leave WANdisco office in Sheffield. Some very bleary faces. We’re not so much morning people 😀



Arrive at venue. After refuelling with carbohydrates and caffeine we’re all raring to go. Bring on the Subversioning!


12:00pm – Hook Scripts

First up is our Director of Subversion Training, Mike Lester, to talk about hook scripts. Anything we do that is hook script related tends to be really popular, from webinars to ref cards to blogs so we expected this session to be a big hit.

Mike led us through an overview first of all, then picked out individual differences between the different types of hook scripts, before leading us into the how’s and why’s of implementing hook scripts.

It was a very interesting session, and I learned a few things, including that the pre-rev-prop-change is needed in order for post-rev-prop-change to run, unlike the other post- hooks, which don’t have the same dependencies (for example, you don’t have to have a pre-commit in order to have a post-commit). Hook scripts are bread and butter in Subversion, particularly when using them to police policies, and so this was a great start to the event.

I’d lay off the jokes next time though Mike! 😉


1.15pm – Subversion Server Tuning Demo

Next up was Stefan Fuhrmann to talk us through Subversion Server Tuning.

To my surprise this was actually my stand-out session of the day. I learned a lot of things that can be used for diagnostics when helping users with performance issues, and a whole bunch of tweaks to get a Subversion server running beautifully. As I’m not a sysadmin/Subversion admin by day this was really interesting and mostly new stuff for me to get to grips with.

Particularly interesting were the time savings you can make with the improvements to caching and tweaking compression settings. Translating those savings across large development teams would be very beneficial. Check out our Subversion HealthCheck if you want to know what it can do for you.

2.30pm – Best Practices of Large SVN Deployments in Large Customer Sites

This session, delivered by one of our Solutions Architects (Jonathan Paul) was all about the best setup and environment for enterprise level Subversion, particularly when using Apache. It was good to see some recommendations based on hands-on Subversion experience, and there were a couple of points about getting the *same* environment in testing and staging as you have in production that are probably a lot more overlooked than they should be in most dev teams. If I had a pound for every time I’ve heard the phrase ‘well that didn’t happen in staging’ in previous jobs I’d have been able to shout several rounds at the bar, even at London prices 😀

4pm – Birds of a Feather Open Session

This was scheduled time for the breakout session, which was pretty much an open invitation to fire questions at the Subversion committers.

There was a very interesting presentation from Blue Optima though, which centred around performance metrics for a development team (or several). This is a subject I’ve seen and heard many questions about before, and it’s always descending into arguments between developers and/or development managers as to what actually makes a developer ‘good’ or why x way of coding is better than y. This presentation didn’t answer that question categorically, but the solution offered allows you to measure KPI’s objectively, based on a whole range of metrics measured against a particular codebase and group of people. I’m going to have a play with their solution, but it seems pretty neat. You can check it out here. You can also let us know what YOU think the best measures of good developers are in the comments below.

There were some interesting questions for the committers too, particularly around removing some files/entire revisions from Subversion, and the plan for an ‘obliterate’ feature in the future.


6pm – Cocktail Reception

Food, drinks, chatting, and some dubious pool playing on the tiniest pool table I’ve seen in a long time were the order of the evening. For the first time I got to actually talk, laugh and debate face-to-face with the Subversion committers, customers, and people I work with from other offices/countries. This is what makes events like this especially valuable, and I’m really looking forward to day two.



Subversion Live was awesome, I learned a lot.

You could too, if you didn’t come make sure you rectify that next year!

Drinking and chatting with people who have worked on Subversion for a long time, or are currently doing great things using Subversion, is what makes my job cool.


So, if you didn’t make it, sort that out for 12 months time and we’ll see you there. If you did, thanks for coming, and it was great to meet you. See you in a year!

Also, I could see planes from my window!

2 Responses to “Subversion Live London 2012 – Day 1 recap”

Leave a Reply