The Git-SVN bridge has been deprecated. You can no longer create any new bridges. The bridge will go away at some point.

Instead, please use the Git Mirrors. If you currently have a Git-SVN bridge, you should migrate to using a Git Mirror as soon as practicable.

Using the Bioconductor Git-SVN bridge

The Git-SVN Bridge allows Github repositories to be in sync with the Bioconductor Subversion (SVN) repository. Once you have created a bridge, you don’t need to use Subversion again if you don’t want to. Using a bridge also enables social coding features of Github such as issue tracking and pull requests.

How to create a bridge

Bridge creation is now disabled. Please use the Git mirrors instead for new projects.

In order to create a bridge, you must be the maintainer of a Bioconductor package, with read/write access to its directory in the Bioconductor Subversion repository.

You will also need to create a Github repository which will mirror the Subversion repository. If you already have a Github repository that has files in it, that will work too.

Let’s assume that your package is called MyPackage, your Subversion username is j.user, your Github username is username, and your email address is

Your package will be in Subversion at the URL

That’s the URL for the devel version of the package. You can also create a bridge to the release version of a package (see the FAQ).

Step 1: Configure your Github Repository

Step 1a: Create Github Repository

If you haven’t already created a Github repository, please do so now. Open the repository page in a web browser; it will have a URL like:

If you are working with a repository that is part of an organization, see the FAQ.

Step 1b: Add Collaborator

Click on the “Settings” link in the right-side nav bar. It will look like this:

Under Options in the left-hand nav bar, click “Collaborators”. At this point, you may be asked to enter your Github password. Do so. Then in the “Add a Friend” box, type


Then click the Add button. This allows the Git-SVN bridge to make changes to your github repository in response to Subversion commits.

Step 1c: Add Push Hook

Again in the nav bar at left, click on “Webhooks & Services”. Then click on “Add webhook”. You may need to confirm your password here.

In the Payload URL box, enter:

Important Note: This url must start with http, not https.

Leave “Content type” alone (it should be “application/json”). Leave “Secret” alone as well.

Under “Which events”, choose “Just the push event”. Make sure the “Active” box is checked. Then click “Update webhook”.

This step lets Bioconductor know when there has been a push to your Github repository.

Important Note: Both of the above steps must be done or your Git-SVN bridge will not function properly.

Step 2: Create the bridge

Open a browser window pointing to the Git-SVN bridge web application.

In the bridge web app, click “Log In”.

Log in with your SVN Username, SVN password and email address. See the FAQ if you don’t remember either of these.

Once you’ve logged in, click the Create New Github-SVN mapping link.

Choose the root directory path. If you are creating a bridge for a software package in Bioconductor’s devel branch, use the default value of this dropdown (

For Directory Name, choose the name of your package, e.g. MyPackage.

In the next box, enter the URL for the Github repository you created in step 1, e.g.

Deciding which repository takes precedence


When initially creating the bridge, the process that takes place is not a “merge” like you may be accustomed to from git or svn. It’s really more like an rsync with the --delete option.

What this means is, you decide who is going to “win”, (git or svn) and if you choose git, then all conflicts will be resolved in git’s favor. Specifically, the following is what will happen:

If you picked “svn wins”, the above is true, but with git and svn reversed.

You now need to check two boxes: the first confirms that you have configured your Github repository as described in Step 1, the second that you will respond to pull requests and issues filed in your Github repository (see the FAQ).

You may now click the Create New Project button.

You should see a message that your bridge was created successfully. You can click My Bridges to confirm this.

Step 3: What now?

Any commits made to your package in Subversion will be mirrored in the master branch of your Github repository.

Any pushes to the master branch of your Github repository will automatically be mirrored in Subversion, and will propagate to the Bioconductor Build System.

The Git-SVN bridge only affects the master branch of your Github repository. It will ignore changes made in any other branch, even if those branches are pushed to Github. So you are free to experiment and even break your package as long as you don’t do it in the master branch.


Can I see old commit history?

After creating a bridge, you can’t see old svn commit information from prior to bridge creation if you’re using git. (You can still see it with svn).

Conversely, in svn, you can’t see Git commit messages from before the bridge was created. You can still see them in git.

Once the bridge is created, you’ll see subsequent commit messages from both git and svn, whether you are using git or svn.

This may change in the future.

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How do I know whether a commit came from Git or SVN?

If a commit was made in svn, it will show up in the output of git log as something like this:

commit f0c494108cc854a7a7a267c6a40ea8a3bdef2209
Author: j.user <j.user@bc3139a8-67e5-0310-9ffc-ced21a209358>
Date:   Tue Dec 24 19:12:36 2013 +0000

    This is my commit message.
    git-svn-id: bc3139a8-67e5-0310-9ffc-ced21a209358

The git-svn-id tells you that this commit originated in svn, and the number after the @ is the SVN revision number.

If you are working in Subversion, a commit made in git will look something like this when you run svn log -v:

r85104 | j.user | 2013-12-24 11:13:59 -0800 (Tue, 24 Dec 2013) | 12 lines
Changed paths:
   M /trunk/madman/Rpacks/MyPackage/DESCRIPTION

Commit made by the Bioconductor Git-SVN bridge.
Consists of 1 commit(s).

Commit information:

    Commit id: 6132d20eb3615afdeafcb8a086e952e4b9f8977f
    Commit message:
    Bumped the version number
    Committed by Jill User <juser at>
    Commit date: 2013-12-24T11:13:49-08:00

Note that the svn user who did the commit will always be the user you were logged in as when you created the bridge in Step 2.

The name of the Git user (denoted by the Committed by line) might vary, if you have granted other users “push” access to your repository, or if you accept a pull request.

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Other users have push access to my repository. Will it work for them?

Yes. Be sure this is what you want. If you grant another user push access to your repository, they can push to any branch, including master, which will then propagate to the Bioconductor build system. If you don’t want the user to have that level of access, then don’t grant them push access. You can accept pull requests from them instead.

The Git-SVN bridge will correctly record the name of the git user who made the commits (see above FAQ).

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How do I know what Git-SVN bridges exist?

Look at the list of bridges maintained by the web app.

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How do I advertise my bridge?

Add the Github URL of your repository to the URL: field in the DESCRIPTION file of your package. You can also mention your bridge on the bioc-devel mailing list.

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I want to contribute to a package using Github, but there is no bridge for it.

You can request that the maintainer of the package create a bridge, but if they do not wish to do so, you’ll need to contribute via other means. If a maintainer will not review pull requests and issues filed via Github, then it is pointless to file them.

What are my responsibilities when I create a bridge?

As implied by the previous question, package maintainers must respond to pull requests and issues filed in their Github repositories.

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I don’t know my Subversion username and/or password. What do I do?

One of the following steps should work:

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How do I create a Github repository?

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How do I create a bridge to the release version of my package?

Follow the same instructions as given in Step 1, but give your Github repository a name indicating that it’s the release version, i.e. MyPackage-release.

In Step 2, be sure you choose the release directory from the Root Directory dropdown when creating the bridge. For the current release, that would be:

Your release bridge is completely separate from your devel bridge. The Github repositories in each are separate from each other, not branches of each other.

Shortly before each Bioconductor release (twice a year, usually in Spring and Fall), we will disable commits to the release branch, and your release bridge will stop working. You can delete it.

When the new release branch is created, you can create a new release bridge pointing to it.

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Working with a Github Organization repository

If you’re working with a Github Organization repository, the steps to set up a collaborator are a little bit different:

Now you can go back to the repository “Settings” page and continue configuring repository settings.

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I don’t want to use the bridge, I want to keep my repositories in sync manually.

You can do that by following these guidelines. Thanks to Laurent Gatto for providing these instructions which are also the inspiration for the Git-SVN bridge.

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Can I create a bridge to an experiment data package?


Things aren’t working or I have a question.

Contact the bioc-devel mailing list.

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