Software Review: Hosted Subversion Analytics Service

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I was contacted by ProjectLocker to review their new service: Subversion Analytics. I took the service through the paces using their demo account. If you are considering hosted Subversion and Subversion analytics service then this review is a must read for you.

What is hosted Subversion?
A service which hosts your subversion repository for a monthly fee. Open source projects often use free subversion repository service from providers such as Sourceforge and Javaforge. ProjectLocker is a paid service.

What is hosted Subversion Analytics
Essentially your Subversion analytics generated and is hosted, for a fee, on service provider’s server from which you can access through their web interface.

Overview of Subversion Analytics
The UI is spartan and traditional. The reports are arranged into General Reports, Project Reports and Developer Reports. The General Reports and Developer Reports contain a single link to respective Dashboards. Each item in Dashboard provide a link to create query by specifying date range and other choices.

Features in Subversion Analytics
You get a concise view of commits by author, date, day of week, hour and file history.

I couldn’t understand the file history screen as no explanations were provided and the chart didn’t correspond to the data (see attached image).

The choice boxes do not retain the choices when POST method is used. AJAX and POST method (example) are both used in different screens to update the graphs. I think the UI should standardize on single method to use. My recommendation would be to use AJAX and fallback to POST when Javascript is not available.

Overall the UI appeared sluggish. I wonder if the data is being fetched in real-time or cached. I would have personally designed it to work from cached view. Navigation was hard to fathom.

I wish there was an easy way to allow users to add their projects to the system, instead of asking them to do it for you. The features should be clearly named and described. I couldn’t understand the purpose and value of some of the options like “No of authors”.

Note: I wanted to view commits by Author and the Ajax update failed with a nice message:
“We are sorry, My ProjectLocker is experiencing a problem. Our administrators have been notified, and will work tirelessly until the problem is solved. Our thanks for bearing with us as we grow to better serve your needs.”

Update: When I tried it again now it worked. So either it was a transient error or it has been fixed.

The software has rough edges at this time. It is a nice idea. I am hoping they will improve their offering in the next release to make it a strong addition to project hosting & analytics space.

Note: I have not benefited in any way from writing this review.

will not be displayed