Subversion 1.8 Backwards Compatibility

Upgrading to a new version of your SCM system is a big decision, often requiring careful planning by administrators to balance the benefits of new features and capabilities against any compatibility and upgrade concerns.

Fortunately for administrators, the Subversion project has always been very good about trying to maintain backwards compatibility and documenting which features require newer servers and clients. As you’ll notice, some of the most appealing parts of Subversion 1.8 only require a client upgrade.

In the interest of saving time, I’ve summarized the most important information here.

Upgrade highlights

  • Pre-1.8 servers and clients are compatible with 1.8 servers and clients, but not all the new features are available with older servers and clients.

  • You do not need to dump and reload repositories when upgrading the server. However, doing so may give you better performance and a smaller repository size.

  • You do need to upgrade your working copy with the subversion upgrade command when you start to use a 1.8 client. If your working copy was created with a pre-1.6 client, start by upgrading to 1.6 or 1.7.

When do I need a 1.8 client?

When do I need a 1.8 server?

Other concerns

  • Upgrading the server is always a bigger decision than upgrading the client. Subversion 1.8 is a new release and you should confirm that it works well in your environment before upgrading the server.

  • Make sure you test compatibility with all of your third party software including continuous integration servers, IDE plugins, and GUIs before upgrading.

Ready to take the leap? You can find certified Subversion 1.8 binaries on the WANdisco web site.

Subversion is a registered trademark of the Apache Software Foundation.

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