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Merging: Use Local and Use Repository

From: Jonathan Paton <unique-f54haq34_at_jpaton.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 22:25:38 +0100

During a merge when there are conflicts the conflict resolution dialog
is shown. The options provided are "Use Local", "Use Repository",
"Edit conflict", "Resolved", "Resolve later" and "Resolve all later".

We have found the meaning of the first two options confusing - the
"Use Local" and "Use Repository" options.

Referring to the help documentation provided with TortoiseSVN 1.6.5
didn't help. In section 4.20.7: "Handling Conflicts during Merge" we

   When a conflict occurs during the merge, you have three ways to
   handle it.

   1. You may decide that your local changes are much more important,
   so you want to discard the version from the repository and keep
   your local version. Or you might discard your local changes in
   favour of the repository version. Either way, no attempt is made to
   merge the changes - you choose one or the other.

   2. ...

What this leads us to believe is that we are choosing the entirety of
one file or the entirety of another. But we have found that this is
only true for non-text files.

What actually happens is that non-conflicting changes are merged in,
but the conflicting changes are skipped. This is at odds with the
statement in the help documentation "no attempt is made to merge the
changes". The label text "Choose item:" next to these options on the
dialog further adds to the confusion.

In my opinion "Prefer Local" and "Prefer Repository" would make
better button labels (when merging text files). The documentation
could more clearly describe the actual behaviour. It may be worth
considering having buttons for "Use Local" (keep the local file in
its entirely) and "Prefer Local" (merge non-conflicting changes and
prefer the local file for conflicting changes).

The file involved was a project configuration file. We have now set
the "svn:mine-type" property on the file so that "Use Local" and
"Use Repository" buttons perform the expected actions.

(Some people advocate not putting project configuration files in
Subversion. This is not suitable for us because we are programming for
an embedded system with important per-file options that must be set).

Thank you for considering my feedback, and for TortoiseSVN itself,

Jonathan Paton


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Received on 2009-09-18 03:58:33 CEST

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