Subversion Tip of the Week

Apache Subversion supports the creation and use of ‘patches’ – text files containing the differences between two files. Patches specify which lines have been removed, added and changed, and are particularly useful when you don’t have write access to a repository. In these instances, you can create a patch file showing the changes between a file as it exists in the repository, and the version in your working copy. Then, you can create a ticket and attach your patch file for someone with repository write access to review and commit the accepted changes to the repository.

To create a patch file, you first need to review the differences between the specific files/revisions you are targeting using the ‘svn diff’ command. In this example, we are examining the differences between the version of the project in our working copy and the central repository.

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If you’re satisfied with the differences ‘svn diff’ has identified, run the following command to create a patch:

svn diff > patch_name.diff

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All the changes will now be written to a patch on your local machine.

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You can now send this patch to a user who does have write access to the repository.

Creating a Patch Between Revisions

Alternatively, if you want to create a patch containing the differences between two revisions, run the following command:

svn diff r:(revision)(revision) (working-copy-location)

Followed by:

svn diff > patch_name.diff

Again, this patch file can now be submitted to someone with write access.

Want more advice on your Apache Subversion installation? We have a full series of SVN refcards for free download, covering hot topics such as branching and merging, and best practices. You can find out more at www.wandisco.com/svnref

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