I do a lot of work with version control on the Mac. Typically I only use the Subversive plug-in for ColdFusion Builder or Eclipse. However some clients of ours at CFWebtools are using Versions , so I had to install and learn Versions to help them out. The download and install is typical "Mac easy". However, I find the way Versions works is a bit more confusing than it should be. Also, unless I am not seeing them, Versions only has a subset of the SVN commands. I am not seeing merging, branching and tagging. I don't know how you're supposed to merge branches and tag using Versions. To me this is a severe shortcoming.

Also I found the UI to be confusing. Repository Bookmarks? What are those? I've never heard bookmarks used in terms of SVN with exception to how tags are sometimes explained. When you look at the top level in the Bookmarks pane you get the view of the server. In other SVN clients this is called the Repository Browser mode. In the subfolder level of the Bookmarks pane you see the code checkouts. I can see how is it very easy to get the two views, which are blended together into the same window, confused. As far as functionality goes, I can checkout, commit, update and view differences etc. However I cannot merge two branches or merge a branch back into the trunk. I can checkout the trunk and a branch for the same repository at the same time and see them both but I can't do a merge. If this was a freeware product I suppose it would be acceptable that wasn't full-featured but this is commercial-ware and as I see it, it's missing critical features.

So I started downloading other SVN standalone clients. There is RapidSVN and SmartSVN that I found and they both looked like they have a decent UI to work with. First I tried RapidSVN and it required Rosetta to install so I said "the heck with it", and deleted it. SmartSVN did install and what struck me was it had a more intuitive interface than Versions. The first thing it did was to ask if I wanted to connect to an existing check out of code. Not, ask if I wanted to create a new Repository Bookmark. Of course I did, I have code for about a dozen projects checked out. I also found that SmartSVN has a more complete set of version control commands, including merging and branching and tagging. Also the UI does not try to blend or hide the difference between the repository browser and your local check out. If I need to browse the repository it does so in a new window just like every other SVN client I've used on Windows and Mac.

SmartSVN clearly, without any customization, identifies changed files. And I believe the default sort order was by changed files on top but don't remember if I change that right away or not. It is very easy to change the way you sort your files with SmartSVN. I found that the ignore feature works like other advanced SVN clients and lets me set wildcard patterns. This is something that I noticed I could not do in Versions.

Overall the look the feel and the flow of usage of SmartSVN was very intuitive and useful. If I needed to use a standalone SVN client I would definitely purchase SmartSVN even though the price tag is a bit hefty at $80. Which is why I prefer using the Subversive plug-in for ColdFusion Builder.

Of course OS X already has command line SVN commands available at your fingertips if you so choose to use them. Enjoy!

*** UPDATE ***
Cornerstone was mentioned in the comments below, so I downloaded and tested. My quick 5 minute review is positive. Multiple SVN repositories, clear delineation between repo view and check out view. Most SVN commands available on right click (had to hunt around to find ignore). Branching is as easy as it is in Subversive. And the price is better than SmartSVN. +1 for Cornerstone.