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Re: Tags and branches are NOT the same

From: John Calcote <john.calcote_at_gmail.com>
Date: 2006-03-20 21:27:27 CET

Jim Blandy wrote:
> But I'd also specifically like to hear from John Calcote, too. John,
> what are you trying to do with Subversion at the moment that
> Subversion's tags handle poorly, but that symbolic names for revisions
> would do well?
>
My use of tags in Subversion is admittedly naive. I've been using them
to simply assign a symbolic name to a revision (a snapshot in time).
This is the most basic of use cases provided by CVS tags, and is in fact
the documented use of tags in the CVS manual. That being the case,
Subversion's way of managing tags is overkill for my purposes. I don't
need to branch the project. I just need to flag a particular numerical
revision as a special case.

Speaking of branches, I would also like to see tags implemented such
that people cannot commit a change from a work area produced from a tag
- under any conditions. A work area produced from a tag should be
limited to a snapshot in time and/or space. Anything else defeats the
general purpose of tags - to get back to a certain point in time for
historical purposes. Before I get flamed for this remark, I'll qualify
it by saying that I'm sure other people are doing things with tags that
would be broken by such a rule. But there are sound fundamental software
engineering concepts behind this desire. I'm not saying that branching
from a tag should be disallowed. I'm only saying that people should have
to make a conscious decision to do so. Which means that a branch must be
created from a work area produced from a tag before a change to that
work area could be committed.

This discussion has taught me a lot about the way other people use tags,
and I'm inclined to think I might revise my use of tags in the future to
include some of these other uses, so I would at this point tend to agree
with a lot of people on this thread that simple symbolic names for
revisions is not enough. Regardless, I would still like to see whatever
comes of this discussion provide a lighter-weight mechanism for managing
simple symbolic revisions.

John

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Received on Mon Mar 20 21:27:51 2006

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