Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Indie Startups - How Do You Collaborate?

Working with others is hard. But being able to work remotely and have all your files merged together nicely is really cool. I'm talking about source-control/versioning software, a tool that lets you maintain history of the changes to your files, as well as allowing everyone on the team to merge their changes to the project seamlessly. There are a couple different versioning tools out there, but the one I'm most familiar with and enjoy using is Subversion.

Since my team has decided we might consider selling our Tower Defense game at some point, we finally decided to remove its open source label and get smarter about how we secure our project. So I decided to set up my laptop as a Subversion (SVN) server; I know I should really use a spare server but I don't have one lying around. So I installed SVN server, got the repository and permissions set up, configured my router to forward the SVN port to a static internal IP address, and... VOILA! I had a working SVN repository accessible via the internet.

Unfortunately my upload speed, which measured .96Mbps on, was providing an abysmal 120kBps download rate for my team members trying to update their working copy of the project -- and let's not even mention the 2+ hours spent on the initial checkout! By comparison, downloads from our open source provider were roughly 1500kBps. I was a little perplexed as to WHY my 1 meg-per-second upload rate was so slow until I saw this forum post, specifically the comment by JC316. Megabits are eight times smaller than Megabytes, and when I did the math I realized that 120kBps (120,000 * 8 = 960,000 bits) is the same as .96Mbps (.96 * 1,000,000).

The reality is that my upload speed is just too slow. We don't have an office to work out of yet and I don't want to shell out $100+ per month for internet service just for a better upload rate. We're considering other closed-source SVN hosting services for now, but I have to wonder...

As an indie startup with team members working remotely over the internet, how do YOU collaborate?


  1. We didn't host the svn ourselves - we paid a few bucks a month for a non-open source host. We used for Schizoid but there's a jillion of them out there.

    Thanks for your comment on my blog earlier, btw, it definitely makes sense for a project that was likely to actually make money - but I have no illusions about the economic upside of this project I'm doing - I'll be lucky if it makes a few grand. So hiring someone to do the web side would put me in the hole...and besides, I like learning new things.

  2. Jamie, thanks for your response! I should have followed up on this post earlier this month. We ended up using for our SVN needs. They offer 2GB/month repository space with the lowest cost I'd seen, and their customer support has been truly amazing! Of course I would highly recommend them to anyone looking to offload the burden of managing your own SVN server.

    It's good to hear someone else took a similar path and that we're not just crazy for using a hosted solution :) Thanks for your feedback!