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Re: "svn propset svn:externals" syntax on Windows command line

From: Ben Johnson <ben_at_indietorrent.org>
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2012 11:06:16 -0500

On 11/29/2012 6:02 PM, Simon Large wrote:
> On 29 November 2012 21:49, Ben Johnson <ben_at_indietorrent.org> wrote:
>> Hello,
>> I've wasted far too much time attempting to discern the correct syntax
>> for setting svn:externals properties, *pinned with explicit revision
>> numbers*, via the Windows command line.
>> While I realize that this question is not TSVN-specific, I am hoping the
>> TSVN developers can provide some insight, because clearly, this very
>> capability has been implemented in TSVN.
>> I am trying to emulate TSVN's svn:externals property editor, which
>> yields the following property string:
>> -r 661 ^/../framework/trunk/database database
>> I am using the following command (all on one line):
>> svn propset svn:externals "-r661 ^/../framework/trunk/database database" .
>> This yields the following error message:
>> svn: E205000: Syntax error in revision argument '661
>> ^/../framework/trunk/database database'
>> I have also tried placing a space between "-r" and "661", even though
>> the output from "svn help propset" does not use a space in the example
>> (it uses "-r25"; see last line in below paragraph):
>> svn:externals - A newline separated list of module specifiers,
>> each of which consists of a URL and a relative directory path,
>> similar to the syntax of the 'svn checkout' command:
>> http://example.com/repos/zig foo/bar
>> A revision to check out can optionally be specified to pin the
>> external to a known revision:
>> -r25 http://example.com/repos/zig foo/bar
>> Adding the space yields the same error, but with a space before "661" in
>> the message:
>> svn: E205000: Syntax error in revision argument ' 661
>> ^/../framework/trunk/database database'
>> The problem seems to be related to how Windows handles the minus sign in
>> the "-r661" portion of the string. If I escape the minus sign with a
>> backslash, the command succeeds, but of course, the backslash appears,
>> literally, in the svn:externals property value.
>> I've scoured the Web looking for examples of how this is done on the
>> Windows command line with SVN 1.7, and I can't find a single example.
>> Any help is greatly appreciated!
> The answer is somewhat unexpected, at least to me:
> http://subversion.tigris.org/ds/viewMessage.do?dsForumId=463&dsMessageId=2733969
> The correct syntax it seems is:
> svn propset svn:externals -- "-r661 ^/../framework/trunk/database database" .
> And the reason seems to be this one:
> http://www.kernel.org/doc/man-pages/online/pages/man3/getopt.3.html
> The extra -- prevents the following arguments starting with - from
> being parsed as options.
> Simon
> --
> : ___
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Brilliant! That works. Thank you, Simon!

This solution is unexpected to me, too. How Philip Martin knew that this
is "simply standard argument handling for just about any program" eludes
me. I hadn't run into this before.

One last question: I noticed that TSVN inserts a space between the "r"
and the revision number, e.g.:

-r 661 ^/../framework/trunk/database database

But the SVN help output omits the space in its example, e.g.:

-r661 ^/../framework/trunk/database database

Will both formats function identically? Or should one be used over the

Thanks again,



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Received on 2012-11-30 17:06:38 CET

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