Perforce vs SVN: What’s the Difference?

Claudia Fernandes
Claudia Fernandes
Last updated on November 9, 2023

Perforce and Apache Subversion (SVN) are industry leaders in version management for software development, and both have a lot to offer. Choosing the right version control system for your projects can be tricky. Whatever your decision, Assembla can support you in your cloud-hosted repository needs. Review the 8 main differences between Perforce vs SVN to conclude which is better suited for your software development team. 

Comparing Perforce vs SVN

SVN and Perforce Code Review Tools

Unlike Perforce, Subversion doesn’t have built-in code review tools. Subversion users have to import their software development projects into another system. Assembla offers top-grade code review tools and merge requests to supplement Subversion-built projects and to enhance the Perforce development pipeline. We’ve found that many of our users prefer the advanced, user-intuitive code review tools of Assembla’s platform compared. 

Perforce Pricing and SVN Pricing

As with any type of business spending for software development, expenses should be looked at as an investment. Will your team be satisfied with basic repository tools that are open-source, or should you spend money on a more advanced version management system that may make things easier in your deployment process?

SVN is free, as it has an open-source version control system. Perforce has a free version in addition to paid monthly membership plans. To host Perforce or SVN in the cloud, Assembla offers paid plans at various different price points. 

Performance Speed

The time requirement of Subversion builds is dependent on the size of changes rather than the size of file data. An extensive revision to a source code repository will result in more time required for a Subversion operation, whether that file is large or small. 

Perforce is lauded for its ability to handle high-capacity software project files and complex code changes with speed and excellence. Its quick load speed assists software developers in completing their build pipeline in record timing. 

Code Repository Security

Operating on an open-source version management system like Subversion often makes software developers nervous. They want a platform that goes the extra mile for security measures. 

Perforce Helix Core offers multifactor authentication, file-level access control, and auditing capabilities, and it is considered by many to be the most secure repository management system on the market. Both Perforce and SVN repository users can utilize Assembla’s high-security tools to protect their software projects from outsiders.

Subversion and Perforce Version Management

Users find Subversion repositories less intuitive to navigate than repositories in Perforce. It takes software developers a bit longer to find a simple file report. Perforce’s revision tracing capabilities are top-grade and empower users with the ability to filter by users and locate deleted files. 

SVN and Perforce Storage Capacity

A great thing about Subversion code management is that there is no real limit to the amount of GB it can handle. Users can upload files of any size. Perforce users receive plenty of storage space, but they may need to upgrade their plan to a custom enterprise version if their needs exceed what standard Perforce plans can provide. 

Repo Management and Merging 

Subversion only has basic merging features and a limited baseline. Merge conflicts can occur, and they are time-consuming and frustrating. Perforce code review tools automatically track merge histories, enabling users to keep tabs on file renames and moved files. 

Offline Working 

Working offline with Subversion requires a little extra effort. Subversion source code tools can be accessed offline by creating a copy of the repository and running a Subversion server on a local machine. However, when revisions are made, the code cannot be returned to the original repository. Perforce code review tools can be accessed offline with a local machine, and revisions can be made with a simple command once online again. 

How to Migrate Platforms

SVN to Perforce Migration

Many software development companies start out with a basic, unpaid version control system like Subversion, but decide later on they’d like to invest in platforms that offer more features and security precautions. The thought of migrating platforms can sound intimidating, but our team at Assembla can take on the task of migrating your team from SVN to Perforce.

Perforce to SVN Migration

Perforce to SVN migration is easy with Assembla hosting, and it can be achieved with Perforce’s ActivePerl API. This will have to be installed manually on a Windows operating system. Simply enter your Assembla username and server in the Perforce ActivePerl API, and you can start exporting your repository!

Get SVN Hosting or Perforce Hosting with Assembla

If you’re curious how Assembla can improve the development process of your Perforce or Subversion builds, get started with a free 14-day trial. Assembla is the most comprehensive  cloud-based solution for Perforce. High-security SVN hosting and Perforce hosting are just a click away. Maximize your team’s potential with some of the best repository management tools available.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Perforce Open-Source?

Perforce has versions of its software that are open-source and has released select open-source version control tools, but users can also create projects that are not built using open-source software with Perforce Helix Core. 

How Does Navigating an SVN Repository Differ from a Perforce Repository?

Many people prefer Perforce’s code repository system, claiming that it is easier to navigate with its search features. The two version management systems are popular for a reason. Software developers find them fairly simple to use. The navigation and structure of repositories may be boiled down to individual preference. 

How Frequently Do Perforce and Subversion Get Updated?

New versions and bug fixes for Subversion are released approximately every year or so. In comparison, releases for Perforce Helix Core typically occur every few months.

Download the Perforce Helix Core Buyer’s Guide

Get Source Code Management Tips in Your Inbox
The reCAPTCHA was invalid. try it again.
By registering, you confirm that you agree to the processing of your personal data by Assembla, Inc. as described in the Privacy Statement. Assembla, Inc. is part of the Idera group and may share your information with its parent company Idera, Inc., and its affiliates. For further details on how your data is used, stored, and shared, please review our Privacy Statement.
Claudia Fernandes
Claudia Fernandes
Claudia, Assembla's Content Marketing Manager, brings over 7 years of experience in crafting content for global SaaS companies. She is enthusiastic about DevOps, cloud computing and the intricacies of the software delivery pipelines. She loves to learn from the experts at Assembla and guide readers through the ever-evolving SDLC landscape.
© 2024 Assembla - All Rights Reserved

Select AWS Region

Pick the region closest to your team for faster performance.

Select AWS Region

Pick the region closest to your team for faster performance.