Programming Post-Commit Hooks for Subversion with Python

I am a regular user of Subversion, all my important TeX files are stored in a SVN repository. SVN has a few builtin hooks, which means at certain events certain scripts are called. The following templates can be found in the hooks subdirectory of the server repository:

  • post-commit.tmpl
  • post-lock.tmpl
  • post-revprop-change.tmpl
  • post-unlock.tmpl
  • pre-commit.tmpl
  • pre-lock.tmpl
  • pre-revprop-change.tmpl
  • pre-unlock.tmpl
  • start-commit.tmpl

It does not matter in what kind of language the scripts are written, Subversion only cares if an executable script (or *.exe file with this name) is present (remove ‚.tmpl‘ at the end of a script to activate it). Today, after reading, I was interested in writing a small Python script which notifies me if a commit has taken place. Based on some e-mail script from and the argparse tutorial I managed to finish this script in just a few minutes. argparse is needed since Subversion calls the post-commit script with two parameters, the path to the repository and the version of the commit.

One note on the Google password: It is recommended to use application-specific passwords, see for details.

import smtplib # part of standard installation
import argparse # not part of standard installation
parser = argparse.ArgumentParser()
parser.add_argument("path", help="path to the repository on the server")
parser.add_argument("version", help="version of the commit")
args = parser.parse_args()
print args.path
print args.version
server = ''
port = 587
sender = '<sender mail address>'
recipient = '<receiver mail address>'
password = "<password>"
subject = 'SVN Commit'
body = 'SVN Commit: '
body = body +  args.path + ' ' +  args.version
headers = ["From: " + sender,
           "Subject: " + subject,
           "To: " + recipient,
           "MIME-Version: 1.0",
           "Content-Type: text/html"]
headers = "\r\n".join(headers)
session = smtplib.SMTP(server, port)
session.login(sender, password)
session.sendmail(sender, recipient, headers + "\r\n\r\n" + body)

Deutsche Zusammenfassung: Subversion stellt gewisse Einsprungspunkte bereit, zu denen man eigene Skripte ausführen kann. Mit Python lässt sich recht einfach ein Skript schreiben, das einen Nutzer über z.B. ein Commit informiert.


Uwe Ziegenhagen has been working with LaTeX for more than a decade. Besides TeXing he likes to work with Python, Rasberry/Arduino and his digital camera.

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