> Toby Johnson wrote (quoting Jeff Fisher):
> >this might seem like a completely stupid question, but here goes...
> >so basically i've decided i hate vss, and i'm trying to find
> out whether or not i want to use
> >subversion as a replacement. after using it for a while
> though, i haven't been able to find a way
> >to create links so i could have one working copy and have it
> exist in multiple projects in the
> >repository database. does subversion handle this or am i being dumb?
> I assume you're talking about something like shared files in VSS? The
> closest thing in Subversion are "externals" (via the svn:externals
> repository property). Those work on the directory level
> instead of the
> file level. Basically you're telling one directory that it
> should always
> pull in an "external" directory (which can be in the same
> repository or
> a different one) during checkouts or exports.
We use svn:externals in our work, and they do the trick. There are a
few gotchas to be aware of:
- they only work on directories, not on individual files
- they are not updated by svn copy, so if you do a branch or a tag,
the svn:externals will still point at their original location.
I posted a perl script to this list a few days ago which addresses
this issue - you can find it at
- recursive commits which include svn:externals directories are
not atomic - the commit to the svn:external happens as a separate
- svn diff doesn't understand svn:externals, so you need to diff
the external directories separately
- there is a possibility, if you have nested svn:externals, that
the lower-level directories are created before the parent
directories. This will be fixed in svn 1.1 (the fix has just
been checked in).
- Neither ViewCVS nor Subclipse will show externals when browsing
the repository (although Subclipse is happy to work with them
once they're checked out into a WC, and since svn checkout
understands them, Subclipse will check them out quite happily).
Not sure about other tools - those are the ones I use on a
Having said all that, we wouldn't be without Subversion, and
svn:externals do what we need (now we've got the perl script as well).
Senior Applications Software Engineer
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Received on Fri Jul 2 11:40:49 2004