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To Triumph: Unlock SVN to GitHub in 19 Steps

Migrating from SVN to GitHub Enterprise is a significant undertaking for any development team. Proper planning and execution are crucial to ensure a smooth transition without disrupting ongoing projects. Below is a comprehensive checklist covering key aspects of the migration process:

Team Workflows:

1. Determine how builds will run:

  • Evaluate existing build processes.
  • Adapt build scripts and configurations to Git.
  • Test builds in the new environment.

2. Decide when tests will run:

  • Integrate testing into the CI/CD pipeline.
  • Define when automated tests will be triggered.
  • Ensure a balance between frequent testing and workflow efficiency.

3. Develop a release management process:

  • Establish versioning conventions.
  • Outline the steps from code commit to deployment.
  • Implement a release calendar for coordinated deployments.

4. Move code reviews to pull requests:

  • Train teams on GitHub’s pull request workflow.
  • Emphasize the importance of code reviews.
  • Encourage discussions and collaboration within pull requests.

Branching Strategy:

5. Pick a Git branching strategy:

  • Choose a branching model (e.g., Gitflow, GitHub flow).
  • Align with the team’s workflow and project needs.

6. Document the branching strategy:

  • Clearly document the chosen strategy.
  • Explain why it was selected.
  • Provide guidance on how legacy branches map to the new strategy.


7. Decide how long to keep legacy version control running:

  • Define a sunset plan for SVN.
  • Consider read-only access for historical purposes.

8. Identify branches that need to migrate:

  • List all active and critical branches.
  • Assess the necessity of migrating older branches.

9. Create breadcrumbs:

  • Develop documentation or scripts to guide engineers back to SVN if needed.
  • Ensure a seamless transition for those who need to reference the legacy system.

Binaries and Tools:

10. Identify binaries and undiffable files:

  • Exclude unnecessary binaries and large files from the Git repository.
  • Consider using Git-LFS for managing large files.

11. Decide on an approach for delivering tools and libraries:

  • Utilize package managers like NuGet for managing dependencies.
  • Clearly communicate the new approach to the development team.


12. Identify training materials:

  • Curate or create materials specific to Git and GitHub usage.
  • Include guides for the chosen branching strategy.

13. Plan training events:

  • Schedule workshops or training sessions.
  • Offer written materials and video tutorials for asynchronous learning.

14. Identify team members as local Git experts:

  • Designate individuals within the team to serve as go-to resources.
  • Foster a supportive environment for knowledge sharing.

Code Migration:

15. Perform multiple test runs:

  • Conduct trial migrations to identify and resolve potential issues.
  • Validate the accuracy of migrated data.

16. Identify and communicate a cutover time:

  • Schedule a specific time for the final migration.
  • Communicate the cutover plan to the entire team.

17. Create the new Git repo:

  • Set up the GitHub Enterprise repository.
  • Configure repository settings and permissions.

18. Set the old system to read-only:

  • Ensure no further changes can be made to SVN.
  • Redirect developers to the new Git repository.

19. Migrate the main branch first, then other branches:

  • Begin with the main development branch.
  • Gradually migrate other branches to minimize disruptions.

By following this comprehensive checklist, your team can navigate the migration from SVN to GitHub Enterprise with confidence, ensuring a smooth transition and maximizing the benefits of modern version control systems.