Tutorial :Source control alternatives to TortoiseSVN for a one man developer, only local usage


I've never used source control before (always used renaming files and other methods), so I was looking around for a relatively simple solution, to start me off with. I was looking for

  • something simple
  • with a GUI interface (along with a command line one)
  • relatively used
  • has books on the subject (most important)
  • can take Word files along in it as well

and I found TortoiseSVN. What would be the possible alternatives to it, considering the above ?

p.s. Yes, I know this has been asked to death, so if you know of an answered question, please, just refer me to it. I'm making this a community wiki, so it doesn't get closed in the first minute, and then I'll just probably delete it, so it doesn't create redundancy.

Related: Source control system for single developer


For your criteria, I don't think you're going to find much better than TortoiseSVN. There are also a few other GUIs for subversion, mentioned below.

  • something simple: You're probably not going to get much easier than subversion, once you get the basics down. You can also try SourceGear Vault, which is easy to get started with and free for one user. I've found Mercurial easy to use, for a distributed version control system, but if you want something simple it's probably better to start with a non-distributed system.

  • with a GUI interface (along with a command line one): Subversion has TortoiseSVN, RapidSVN which is more of a traditional UI or AnkhSVN for Visual Studio integration. SourceGear Vault has a UI that mimics Visual Source Safe. Mercurial has TortoiseHg, another Explorer add-in but it's not as mature as TortoiseSVN, along with other IDE integrations.

  • relatively used: You aren't going to get more used than Subversion/TortoiseSVN. It has become the de-facto VCS of choice. Distributed tools (git, Mercurial) are becoming more popular, especially in open source, but still trails Subversion. You probably can't go wrong with Subversion, git or Mercurial, as they have good followings.

  • has books on the subject (most important): There are online books for Subversion and Mercurial. I haven't investigated Vault's help but I'm sure there are also good sources available for Vault.

  • can take Word files along in it as well: TortoiseSVN is installed to do this, though I haven't test it. You can assign diff programs by file type.

Good Luck!


TortoiseSVN is a very slick UI for Windows -- and the best that I've used. Git has some nice features but so far as I know, no polished UI has yet been made available for Windows although some attempts are being made.

I'm less familiar with it, but I've good things about Mercurial. A very similar TortoiseSVN clone called TortoiseHg exists for this also and seems to be farther along.


Is the SO community really that brutal that you feel the need to delete your question, even though you haven't been satisfied by the responses in existing questions? If you feel something is lacking in the other questions and answers, then by all means ask without apprehension. I'd hate to think good questions don't get asked because of the user community.

Back to the question: Tortoise is really going to be one of the nicer tools you will find due to the ability to quickly see in a plain Windows Explorer window what has changed since your last commit to the repository.

No other tool that I know of would be better suited to an individual developer, but that's just my opinion.


If you're using Visual Studio, try AnkhSVN. It's a free SVN plugin for Visual Studio.

Also, and this isn't really a suggestion for another source control system, but you might want to know. XP-Dev.com has free SVN hosting (up to 1.5 GB). I've been using it for a while and it's really nice. I'm a 1-man team too but having backup and revisions is critical. TortoiseSVN is really the best UI there is.


You should try TortoiseHG (Mercurial) this is ver simple to use.


In my experience there is nothing which could compete with TortoiseSVN on Windows at the moment. I'm really happy about Tortoise. Is it just because you want to do the perfect choice that you're asking for an alternative or is there something you don't like about it?


I've been working with Bazaar now for a few weeks and really like it. I'm a linux developer so don't really know much about Tortois but if you like it you should know that there is a Tortoisbzr


I don't know what language are you using or what kind of development are you doing, but in general the best option for source control is one that can be integrated to your IDE. It is easier if you have all things in one place.

For example Eclipse has integrated support for CVS, Subclipse for SVN, BzrEclipse for Bazaar, a Git plugin from JGit, and similar for other SCMs. I think that ides like Netbeans of IntelliJIdea also have similar integration options.


I can recommend http://www.sourcegear.com/ as an inexpensive SVN alternative.


It’s difficult to give an accurate answer without knowing development team sizes, working practices, project types, ide, etc. Given that you’ve not been using a source control, I’m assuming you’re in a small team or possibly you’re a lone ranger. With that in mind, I’m going to completely undermine the small amount of rep I do have and suggest adding SourceSafe to your eval list (yup, I said it out load!). The truth is, if you are happy with exclusive locks, it hits all your criteria. It is incredibly simple (simpler than svn). Personally I wouldn’t use it if I had a lot of code to control or worked in anything other than a small team, but I did use it as my SC working for SME’s and for home projects for many years and it was fine. One downside is MS is withdrawing mainline support in April.

Personally I now use svn with ankh and tortoise plugins both at home and at work. If you are working at home or in a v small dev environment you can actually host svn on a NAS. Another option to look into is the many svn hosting providers (I use one of the free services for my home projects and have found them very good). In a SOHO environment, it doubles up as a simple way to get your code offsite.

When investigating a year or two ago, our order of preference for the main players came out as:

  1. Perforce. No personal experience, but I haven’t yet spoken to a dev that has used both perforce and svn who didn’t prefer perforce. Downside: you need to pay for it!
  2. Svn. Certainly seems to be where the bulk of people are. Comes in at the right price (i.e. free) and has lots of community plug-in support (though some are flakier than others).
  3. Sourcesafe. It may be the idiot brother of the other SCS, but its simplicity is its strength in tiny dev environments. It might be the right thing for you.
  4. MS SourceControl (often referred to as TFS). Bottom of the list for a reason, everybody hates TFS! We migrated from sourcesafe to TFS and promptly migrated away (to SVN) after about 6 months!

Note:If u also have question or solution just comment us below or mail us on toontricks1994@gmail.com
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