Subversion Live: What’s Coming in SVN 1.8?

Apache Subversion 1.8 is currently scheduled for release later this year, so it’s no surprise that Subversion Live London’s ‘What’s Coming in 1.8: Overview’ session drew a large crowd, especially as the session was conducted by core Subversion committers Julian Foad, Stefan Fuhrmann, Ben Reser and Philip Martin.

First, the committers covered what the community can expect from the 1.8 release process, and stressed the importance of community testing during the Release Candidate stage. “The Release Candidates are your opportunity to tell us about the bugs that really hurt you,” said Stefan.

The session then moved onto the new functionality that’s planned for this release, with an in-depth explanation of the following:

  • EV2 – a new framework for Subversion 1.8
  • Deltification improvements – the committers stressed that this will be particularly useful for people working on large repositories
  • A new benchmarking tool for identifying server and performance bottlenecks
  • Support for –include -externals in SVN Commit
  • SVN Merge improvements – users will no longer have to distinguish between a reintegrate merge and a sync merge
  • svn mergeinfo will include a summary diagram as the default output
  • revprop handling – improved handling during backup
  • A more interactive SVN Resolve command

  • Three new options for SVN Diff (–ignore-properties, –properties-only, and –patch-compatible)
  • A new password agent on UNIX
  • svnadmin freeze – this command will delay commits while other operations are performed on the repository. Throughout this process, the repository remains live. The committers revealed that this new feature was inspired by a conversation with an attendee at Subversion Live 2011.

Unsurprisingly, many attendees used the Q and A time at the end of the presentation to quiz the core committers on the finer details of the upcoming 1.8 release, especially the changes to inherited properties, pristine copies, reintegrate merges, and even Subversion’s bindings. The bindings question led to an invitation for the audience members to become Subversion committers themselves: “If the bindings are important to your business, send us a patch,” said Philip Martin.

Another topic of conversation during the Q and A section, was whether upgrading the working copy to 1.8 should be a manual or an automatic process. The general consensus among Subversion Live attendees seemed to be that it should be manual.

Attendees were also able to get advice from the committers on how to leverage Subversion 1.8’s features for their own individual use cases. In fact, there were so many questions that the next session was due to start before all the attendees’ questions were answered. Thankfully, all of the core committers were at Subversion Live throughout the last day (and were also available for more questioning during the Committer Roundtable session) giving attendees plenty of time to find out more about Subversion 1.8.

Read all about Subversion Live 2012, with our recaps of Day One and Day Two, and an in-depth look at the Subversion Live Keynote.