What’s New in Subversion 1.7?

Subversion 1.7 is a major step forward for the Apache Software Foundation and the wider Subversion ecosystem. As part of this ecosystem, WANdisco is committed to helping the community keep up-to-date during this exciting time, and with this in mind, we’ve put together a comprehensive series of free one hour online training webinars, designed especially for Subversion users and administrators. And, the topic everyone’s talking about, is what’s new in Subversion 1.7?

In our ‘Introducing Subversion 1.7’ webinar we covered just that, bringing together a team of top Subversion insiders, including WANdisco’s Director of Open Source and Subversion’s release manager since 2008, Hyrum Wright; senior Subversion developers Philip Martin and Julian Foad, and founder of Assembla Andy Singleton, who ran through what’s new and noteworthy in 1.7, and looked ahead to how the 1.7 enhancements pave the way for even more innovations for the Subversion community.

Julian Foad, a Subversion contributor for nearly a decade, covered the radical changes in one of the oldest parts of Apache Subversion. For 1.7, the working copy (WC) metadata management system has been completely rewritten, as the original WC library had grown so complex that introducing bug fixes and improvements was becoming an upwards struggle. This complete rewrite is combined with an embedded SQLite DB that holds all the properties, version numbers and information about scheduled changes. For operations that have to gather metadata about a range of files and directories, the information is now all in one place. Users should notice an immediate performance boost.

In addition to these major changes to Subversion’s metadata system, Julian shared some useful new Subversion commands with attendees:

svn log – diff

Prints the diff of each revision inbetween the log messages; useful for viewing the changes in a file or a whole subtree.

svn diff –git

Produces diff output in Git format.

svn relocate

A dedicated svn relocate command for the old svn switch –relocate functionality; having dual meanings for the old switch command was confusing.

svn: E195002

Each error message has its own identification number; useful when searching for help on the web.

Senior developer Philip Martin, shared the ins-and-outs of another headline-grabbing feature in Subversion 1.7: HTTPv2. Philip covered all the benefits the user will notice when DeltaV is dropped in 1.7, before moving onto the new in-memory caching system for the FSFS repository backend, and sharing insider knowledge on how to get the most out of the new caching structures by controlling how much memory is used by the cache. Webinar attendees also got a heads-up on using network compression in Subversion, to avoid hitting the CPU bottleneck, and got some words of reassurance on security concerns surrounding dumping a repository using the new svnrdump tool.

Finally, Andy Singleton, founder of Assembla, elaborated on a proposal that sparked some controversy on the Subversion Dev list recently: a new merge command for Subversion. If you’re a Subversion user, at some point you’ve probably been annoyed with Subversion merge – Andy outlined his proposal for making merge in Subversion less painful, and how he envisions ‘newmerge’ solving some commonly-encountered problems with cyclic merge, foreign merge and tree changes. If you missed out the first time around, the full webinar can be viewed now.

This is an exciting time for the Subversion community, and we have plenty of webinars scheduled for the next few months to keep you up-to-date on all the latest goings on. Visit our Free Training Webinars page to browse the full list of our free, online training sessions for Subversion users and administrators. Early registration is recommended, as space is limited!

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