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Get started with SVN
Toshi Dávila avatar
Written by Toshi Dávila
Updated over a week ago

Assembla SVN makes it easy for your entire software team to collaborate on code development and changes with built-in features like auditing, permission management, and code reviews.

This article will help you get started quickly so you can start pushing changes to your repository.

1. Adding a Repository to your Space

If SVN is not listed as an installed tool in your space, you will need to add an SVN repository. If you already have an SVN tool installed in your space, skip to step 2.

To complete these steps, you must have owner permission to the spaces. Follow these instructions to add a SVN repository to your space:

  1. Go to the Admin tab ➙ Tools

  2. Click on the Add (or Add another) button next to SVN.

  3. The newly added Subversion (SVN) repository will appear in your navigation bar named as SVN (number - if any).

2. Importing Existing Data?

Data from multiple sources can be added to your SVN repository. Either SVN dump files from previous repositories or unversioned directories can be added to your Assembla SVN repository.

2.a. Import an SVN dump file

If you already have an SVN repository, you can import it directly to Assembla. To import an SVN repository from another server:

  1. Obtain an SVN dump file for the source repository. The steps for obtaining an SVN dump file varies depending on the SVN service provider hosting the repository, but in most cases you can create it by using this command:

svnadmin dump /path/to/repository | gzip -9 > svnexport.dump

2. Add an empty SVN repository to your Assembla space as shown in the "Starting from scratch?" section
3. Go to the Import/Export sub-tab in the SVN tab for your newly created repository.
4. Browse and select the SVN dump file from your computer and click Import. If your file is larger than 2000 MB, you will need to use a URL to import it instead. An import job will be scheduled and run in the background.

For more detailed instructions, see Migrating SVN Repositories to Assembla.

2.b. Do you have unversioned files to upload to your repo?

If you currently organize your project files in an unversioned directory structure, then they must be added to your Assembla SVN repo before you can start committing your changes to those files. To learn more, check out Adding Unversioned Files to Your SVN Repository.

For Users with the New UI

How to Create a Space?

After logging in, you can either click on the green (+) button and then Create New Space or you can select Create New Space from your Portfolio home page.

Name your Space with a unique name. If the Space name is already taken, please use a different name.

Once you have named your Space, choose your set of tools.

If you would like to remove repositories or add or remove other tools to your Space at any point, please go to your Space's Admin > Tools page. You can do so by going into your Space, clicking the Admin tab, clicking Tools, and clicking on the Add button next to the tool you would like to add.

Note: If you are not the owner or payer of the space, you will not have access to your Space's Admin tab.

Adding a Repository to Your Space

When creating a new Space, you can create the Space with a repository by checking the Create with repository box on the first step.

Alternatively, if you would like to create a repository in an existing Space, click on the green (+) button and select New Repository. The wizard will ask you to select the Space you would like to create your repository in, as well as what you would like to name your repository and what type of repository it is.

If you would like to import an existing repository from an external location, select Import repository and enter your repository's URL and, if necessary, access credentials.

3. Checking out your SVN Repository

1. In the Source sub-tab of the SVN tab you can find the URL for the SVN repository to checkout.

Note: if you are having issues with a caret (^) in your URL, replace each caret with "%5E"

2. Get an SVN client. Here are our suggestions for common operating systems:

  • Windows: TortoiseSVN

  • Mac: Cornerstone, or command line

  • Linux: SmartSVN

3. Checkout your repository using the correct guide below:


We recommend using TortoiseSVN as a Subversion client for Windows.

Precondition: Make sure you have an assembla password. If you signed up with your Google or Yahoo account, you might need to create an assembla password. To set one, just go to your profile page and create a password.

Step 1: Create a folder in your local file system. Right click inside the folder where you want to checkout the repository and select "SVN Checkout..." from the pop-up menu.

Step 2: In the new pop-up window, enter the URL for your Assembla-hosted SVN repository and click OK. The URL can be copied from the SVN repository Source tab on Assembla.

Step 3: When prompted, enter your Assembla username and password and hit Enter to checkout the repository.


You can use the steps below to checkout and commit changes to your repo on Mac & Linux systems:

Step 1: Create a local folder 

$ mkdir My_SVN

Step 2: Go to your folder

$ cd My_SVN

Step 3: Checkout the repository.

$ svn co --username assembla_username --password assembla_password

Step 4: A new folder has been created inside your SVN folder, that's your repo. Go to trunk

$ cd your_space/trunk

Step 5: Add or make changes to the repo

$ nano xyz.txt

Step 6: Add the local file to your changes

$ svn add xyz.txt

If you see this error "W150002" run --force at the end:

$ svn add xyz.txt --force

Step 7: Go back to root

$ cd ..

Step 8: Commit the changes to your repo

$ svn commit -m "Commit Message"

Step 9: Update your repo

$ svn update

If you have any questions or need assistance, please email us at

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