What Subversion clients are supported by the IDE?

NetBeans IDE (as of version 7.0) can use three different implementations of the subversion client.

  • JavaHL
The default and recommended implementation is a JavaHL binding, a java API built on top of the subversion client in the form of shared libraries (*.dll on Windows, *.so on Linux). This client is the fastest and its behavior is the closest to the commandline Subversion client. FaqSvnJavahl
  • SvnKit
If JavaHL is not available, we automatically switch to a pure java implementation of subversion client called [SvnKit] that is always available because it is bundled directly as part of a NetBeans installation. By using this client you may suffer from minor performance issues but you do not have to install anything because it is bundled directly in the IDE. Work with remote repositories via an ssh protocol is more pleasant and comfortable than with javahl or commandline client, you simply enter username and password/passphrase in the IDE and everything will work.
  • Commandline
The third client NetBeans can work with is the commandline client. However support for this client is outdated, we stopped supporting it when we started bundling the SvnKit and it works only as a backup client for users having issues with the previous recommended ones. Working with this client is the slowest you will probably suffer from major performance issues and new features or subversion commands (such as locking support) will not be available with this client.

NetBeans 5.x, 6.0, 6.1

  • Only commandline client is supported.

NetBeans >= 6.5

  • Commandline client is supported
  • JavaHL is supported. In case of Windows you may install it from the Update Center. Select Tools > Plugins > Available Plugins > Subversion 1.5 for Windows. For other systems and having javahl installed please go to 'Tools > Options > Miscellaneous > Versioning > Subversion > Path to SVN executable File' and set the path to the javahl installation directory. Javahl is preferred, but if it can not be found the module falls back to the command line client.

NetBeans >= 6.7

  • Commandline client is supported
  • The bundled JavaHL client for Windows (available on the Update Center) has been renamed to Bundled Subversion Client for Windows.

NetBeans >= 7.0

  • Commandline and JavaHL clients are supported
  • SvnKit is natively supported by the IDE

NetBeans >= 7.2

  • Commandline client works with Subversion checkout that was created by the exact version of the client
  • JavaHL client will work only with Subversion 1.7 checkouts
  • SvnKit client works with both Subversion 1.5/6 and 1.7 checkouts.
  • It is possible to switch between them from Tools -> Options while the IDE is running without need to restart.

NetBeans >= 8.0

  • Commandline client works with Subversion checkout that was created by the exact version of the client
  • JavaHL client will work only with Subversion 1.8 checkouts
  • SvnKit client works with Subversion 1.5/6 and 1.8 checkouts but is not compatible with 1.7 checkouts.

NetBeans >= 8.2

  • Commandline client works with Subversion checkout that was created by the exact version of the client
  • JavaHL client will work with Subversion 1.9 checkouts and older but you must have JavaHL 1.9 bindings installed.
  • SvnKit client works with Subversion 1.9 and older checkouts.

How to switch between clients?

NetBeans <= 7.1

Up to NetBeans 7.1 the only way to switch between the supported clients was to restart the IDE with the following switch:


So to run with the different clients you needed to specify:

-J-DsvnClientAdapterFactory=commandline, -J-DsvnClientAdapterFactory=svnkit or -J-DsvnClientAdapterFactory=javahl

NetBeans >= 7.2

As of NetBeans 7.2 it is enough to select the preferred client from the list in the Options dialog.


To switch the client:

  • Select Tools -> Options from the Main Menu
  • Click on the Miscellaneous and then select the Versioning tab
  • From offered Versioning Systems select Subversion
  • Select your preferred client from the Preferred client list and click on OK
  • If everything goes fine and the client is correctly initialized, the IDE will start using it.

see also How to use Subversion support with JavaHL and How to setup Subversion to use the command line client

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