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Re: The `on_disk' and `in_repos' templates.

From: Ben Gollmer <ben_at_jatosoft.com>
Date: 2003-04-09 01:16:09 CEST

On Tue, 8 Apr 2003 15:43:54 -0500, Jay Whip Grizzard <elfchief@lupine.org>
[ snip snip ]
> Subversion, on the other hand, essentially _requires_ a directory structure
> be in place at the start to be _AT ALL USEFUL_. If you don't have some sort
> of 'meta' directory structure in place above whatever it takes to store
> and build your project, you lose most of the power of Subversion.
> ... now, I'm going to go out on a limb here and add this: Not only do I
> that the in-repos-template stuff should be a part of svnadmin -- But I think
> that it should be enabled (with a simple, standard template) _by default_.
> The current 'standard' layout has come about through real-world trials and
> tribulations, and there's no good reason to force someone to read -- and
> comprehend -- the entire manual just to be able to create a repository
> going to be useful in the long term.

Hey hey, hold on a second here. I have several repositories that I find very
useful, and none of them follow the bog-standard layout.
> Face it, subversion is quite hard to understand at first glance, for a lot
> of people (especially those who's primary history is with CVS), so even
> shrugging off usability issues with "Well, it'll be in the manual" isn't
> a good solution. Me personally, I read the Subversion manual over several
> times and monitored the mailing list(s) for months before I actively started
> using Subversion in real-world projects, and I -still- didn't have a
> grasp over everything I eventually ended up needing to know. And I'm one of
> those (apparently rare) people that ENJOYS reading the manual and usually
> reads it thouroughly before even touching most software.
> Subversion has a per-user config file. If you don't want templates by
> default, make a config option that specifies the default template name,
> and set it to 'none' (or 'empty', or whatever). Problem solved. You
> obviously already know quite a lot about subversion if you're going to
> want to start every repository completely empty (IMHO). Don't make John Doe
> newbie need to comprehend the entire manual just so that he can have a
> usable tool.

When I started using Subversion, I made my first few repos using the '/branches
/tags /trunk' layout because I had been led to believe it was the One True Way
of managing a repo. But shortly, I realized that Subversion was so flexible that
I didn't need to bother with such conventions.

It didn't take a long study session with the manual to figure this out, either.
Basically you just need to understand two things; namely, 'Copies Are
Cheap(tm)', and 'There's More Than One Way To Do It' (ok, everyone here
seems to use Python over Perl, but you get the point). Most of the stuff I keep
in my repos isn't even code, thanks to Subversion's handling of binary files &
MIME types, and creative layouts can be very helpful.

Anyway, I don't disagree with the idea of repository templates. They can be
useful, especially if you are creating repos for C projects all day. I don't
even object to having a template applied by default, as long as I can turn it
off. But I do take issue with your statement that repos without an authoritative
structure will cease to be useful in the long term; and I also think you are
overstating Subversion's 'barriers to entry'.

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Received on Wed Apr 9 01:16:52 2003

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