How to use SVN on OSX for Themes and Plugins in 6 Steps



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Previously you had to use the terminal to use SVN. You still can but I think graphical solutions are much better as you just have to click a couple of buttons and it’s done faster than typing things manually and pushing a commit to the remote server.

Here are the steps I followed today-

1. Download SmartSVN App on your computer

I am using an M1 Macbook Air, So, I downloaded and installed SmartSVN. They have windows and intel chip versions as well.

Available options on SmartSVN to connect with different projects, repository and copies
Available options on SmartSVN to connect with different projects, repositories and copies

2. Connect to the Remote Repository

If you’re working with a new WordPress theme or WordPress plugin, you will find the SVN repository link in the WordPress team’s confirmation email. You can find the link in the development tab if you want to connect to an existing repository. It should look something like ********

Where to put the SVN repository link and how it looks for a WordPress Plugin
Where to put the SVN repository link and how it looks for a WordPress Plugin

3. Select the Folder on Your Computer

The system will ask you for a place to download the SVN repository files. You can also point out if you want to download the entire repository or a folder of it. I selected “recursive” as I needed the entire folder on my local computer.

4. Make Changes to the Plugin As You Like

This step is quite self-explanatory as you may already know how to open and edit plugin files. Do as you like in different files.

Please remember- you should not use SVN or treat SVN the way you treat Git. When you’re using Git, you can make a commit for every single change you make in every single file to keep track of it. But for SVN, you should commit only when you’re ready to release.

This is why all the developers I know use a separate Git repository to maintain a robust system of version control and collaborate with multiple developers. They usually do not use graphical tools as they use Grunt or Gulp to commit to WordPress repo automatically when a new tag is created in Git.

Here is a nice tutorial about WordPress Theme Automation With Gulp

5. Commit the Changes

When you’re done with all the changes, open up SmartSVN app again and click on the commit button. It will ask you again if you want to commit to a specific folder or the entire repository. Select as you please.

6. Add your username and password for authentication

It will ask for a username and password. Use the same username and password you use to log in to The process should be complete and you will be able to see the new changes on the SVN via a web browser.

And you’re done!

NB: I might have missed some steps but you can always follow the default settings and read between the lines to be on the safe side. I take no responsibility for any losses that occurred in the process of following this tutorial. This is just something I discovered while doing something for myself. Follow this at your own risk!

I always appreciate comments with suggestions, constructive feedback and sharing even better resources. So, please feel free to share anything relevant in the comment section below. I will try to update the blog post based on the latest available information.

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