Subversion Live 2012: Branching and Merging

Branching and merging is one of the issues Apache Subversion users seem to encounter the most issues with, and with that in mind we designed the Subversion Live 2012 programme to include plenty of best practices, tips and tricks on branching and merging.

Subversion Live 2012 attendees had the opportunity to attend two breakout sessions on branching and merging during the second day of the conference. The first breakout, ‘Branching and Merging Best Practices’ was conducted by WANdisco’s Director of Subversion Training, Mike Lester.

Mike’s session covered essential know-how for mastering branching and merging in Subversion, including factors that should be taken into account when planning your branching strategy, such as how to handle releases and bug fixes, and what changes require a branch. Mike advised that these decisions should be clearly laid out in a Policies and Procedures document.

He also shared some best practices for tracking branch usage, which included controlling where branches can be created and implementing a clear naming convention for your branches. On the merge tracking side of things, he explained how svn mergeinfo can be used to track merges.

Mike Lester’s session concluded with a Q and A session, where attendees had the opportunity to share their own branching and merging strategies, and get feedback from both Mike Lester and the other attendees.

After lunch, delegates had the opportunity to attend a ‘Merge and Performance Improvements’ session, led by Julian Foad. Julian is the lead developer for enhancements to Subversion’s merge capabilities at WANdisco, and his session delved into greater depth regarding the upcoming reintegrate merge overhaul in Subversion 1.8.

Julian explained that in Subversion 1.8, users will no longer have to specify that they are performing a reintegrate merge. This will make merging quicker, easier and less error-prone than in previous releases.

In Subversion 1.8, a branch will no longer become redundant after a reintegrate merge has been performed, so developers will be able to continue using the branch.

Julian also went into detail about how these merge changes will impact the SVN help command, essentially making the ‘svn help merge’ output more concise.

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 and the What’s Coming in SVN 1.8: Overview session. You can also check out Subversion Live 2012: Your Feedback to see what people are saying about the conference.

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