Using Languages Other than C and C++

If you are interested in using the Subversion libraries in conjunction with something other than a C program—say a Python or Perl script—Subversion has some support for this via the Simplified Wrapper and Interface Generator (SWIG). The SWIG bindings for Subversion are located in subversion/bindings/swig. They are still maturing, but they are usable. These bindings allow you to call Subversion API functions indirectly, using wrappers that translate the datatypes native to your scripting language into the datatypes needed by Subversion's C libraries.

Significant efforts have been made towards creating functional SWIG-generated bindings for Python, Perl, and Ruby. To some extent, the work done preparing the SWIG interface files for these languages is reusable in efforts to generate bindings for other languages supported by SWIG (which include versions of C#, Guile, Java, MzScheme, OCaml, PHP, and Tcl, among others). However, some extra programming is required to compensate for complex APIs that SWIG needs some help translating between languages. For more information on SWIG itself, see the project's website at

Subversion also has language bindings for Java. The javahl bindings (located in subversion/bindings/java in the Subversion source tree) aren't SWIG-based, but are instead a mixture of Java and hand-coded JNI. Javahl covers most Subversion client-side APIs, and is specifically targeted at implementors of Java-based Subversion clients and IDE integrations.

Subversion's language bindings tend to lack the level of developer attention given to the core Subversion modules, but can generally be trusted as production-ready. A number of scripts and applications, alternative Subversion GUI clients and other third-party tools are successfully using Subversion's language bindings today to accomplish their Subversion integrations.

It's worth noting here that there are other options for interfacing with Subversion using other languages: alternative bindings for Subversion which aren't provided by the Subversion development community at all. You can find links to these alternative bindings on the Subversion project's links page (at, but there are a couple of popular ones we feel are especially noteworthy. First, Barry Scott's PySVN bindings ( are a popular option for binding with Python. PySVN boasts of a more Pythonic interface than the more C-like APIs provided by Subversion's own Python bindings. And if you're looking for a pure Java implementation of Subversion, check out SVNKit (, which is Subversion re-written from the ground up in Java.