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Handling of locking between branches, using "almost binary" files

From: Kalin KOZHUHAROV <kalin_at_thinrope.net>
Date: 2005-08-15 04:38:26 CEST

Hash: SHA1

Hi there :-)

I started work in a software development company 3 months ago. They were
using mainly Visual SourceSafe and sometimes CVS (both from inside
Eclipse) for organizing their sources and docs.

Since there were many problems (not only the VCS) I was given the task
to "fix the system", relying exclusively on OSS :-) A step 1 was moving
our main VCS to subversion and so far everybody loves it! Most devs work
on the other OS, so they use TortoiseSVN and/or Subclipse for access,
repositories are hosted on a Gentoo server running latest apache-2.0.5x,
using HTTPS protocol.

The other day, while I was thinking how to better structure our
repositories, I found a possible problem related to using "almost
binary" files like Word or Excel documents. I say "almost binary"
because they do not come from source and are directly user editable (as
opposed to and .exe or .jar file). Unfortunately, we have to use these
to be able to sync our work with other teams out of the company.

Let's say we have this repository.

|-- branches
|-- tags
`-- trunk
~ |-- doc
~ `-- src

Now if somebody wants to edit a .xls file in trunk/doc he has to lock it
(using svn:needs-lock) to edit it. Everyone understands that and is
happy about that.

However, after developer K copies the trunk to branches/bug43534 and
along fixing the bug changes a .xls file associated with it, the locking
is of no use. Because developer K locks it's branch, and meanwhile
developer A changes the same file in the trunk. Later, developer K
cannot easily merge the .xls file to the trunk.

Hope, I made the problem clear...

Now, what about a solution?

First, it is clear that until "inter-branch locking" is implemented
(just joking, might not be of too much value), copying of such files as
.xls and .doc should be avoided by all means.

One solution is to move doc out of trunk:

|-- doc
|-- branches
|-- tags
`-- trunk
~ `-- src

Not clear, producing a release tags/project-0.2.3 needs the docs in there.

Another is to delete the doc after branching:
svn cp trunk/ branches/bug2345 && svn delete branches/bug2345/doc && svn

Or make a branch of the src directory? But there is more than doc and
src anyway.

Any other ideas, thoughts?

And yes, you may try to persuade me that we should not use .doc and .xls
files for documentation, I'll take it. Just that at the moment at least
3 devs (me included) are already persuaded, however two of the other
companies don't even like the words open source... Japan, Japan.

Open to any ideas,
- --
|[ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ]|
+-> http://ThinRope.net/ <-+
|[ ______________________ ]|

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Received on Mon Aug 15 04:39:41 2005

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