Subversion Tip of the Week

Admin Best Practices

Apache Subversion users have the freedom to structure their repository according to a project’s particular needs, but if you don’t implement a logical project layout, you’re running the risk of creating an administrative nightmare. Here are some general rules worth bearing in mind when creating a new Subversion repository, to ensure all that freedom doesn’t lead to complications.

  • The code in the trunk should be stable – all experimental development should be confined to separate branches.
  • Consider CI and automated regression testing – these can help ensure there is no regression in the all-important trunk. uberSVN users can download the popular Jenkins open source CI server for free from inside their installation.

  • Make snapshots of your project – tags should be used to make snapshots of your project at certain points during the development process (e.g tagging a snapshot as ‘Release 1.0.’) It is also good practice to make snapshots of your project before implementing major new features. This makes it easier to roll back and effectively ‘undo’ the new feature, if required.
  • Take care when making structural changes – structural changes should always be performed on the trunk, when there are no branches waiting to be merged. This can help development teams avoid serious and time-consuming conflicts.
  • Use changelists – if you are working on several different issues simultaneously, there is a risk of losing track of which files relate to which issue. In these situations, it can be helpful to organize your files into ‘Changelists.’ Changelists can be created either from the commit dialog, or the ‘Check for modifications’ dialog. In this example, we’ll look at creating a changelist from the commit dialog:

1) Highlight the files you wish to place into a changelist, right-click and select ‘Move to changelist.’ In this example, we’ll be creating a new changelist.

2) Enter a name for your changelist and select ‘Ok.’

3) Your modified files will now be automatically organized according to the new changelist. This allows you to see at-a-glance, which modifications have been made for each task, and to commit these changes separately.

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