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Re: Subversion vs. Apache Jackrabbit/JSR-170

From: Ryan Schmidt <subversion-2005_at_ryandesign.com>
Date: 2005-10-05 11:05:35 CEST

On Oct 5, 2005, at 09:55, Turaukar Yur wrote:

> I was looking at various version management systems to store
> information. As a software development team, we have the need to
> store and manage documents (specifications) and other binary data
> as well as source code.
> Being well aware of subversion and its focus, I ran accross Apache
> Jackrabbit - an open source implementation of the Content
> Repository for Java Technology API (JSR-170). While that project
> has not yet released any downloads yet, it seems to be very
> interesting as a storage engine for document repositories.
> The question for me here is: do I need two systems or could
> Subversion do the job alone? What's the relation between the two?

I don't know any more about Jackrabbit and JSR-170 than what you've
just told me, but I can answer these other questions you had:

> From a first glance, Jackrabbit is focused towards handling large
> documents and binary data, as well as some XML support -- the
> latter which I frankly didn't understand.
> Subversion is focused on handling source code -- presumably smaller
> text files -- but can basically handle binary files as well.
> Anyone knows about restrictions/limitations in subversion? Is it a
> good idea to manage a large number of binary files through it?

Subversion can handle binary files of any size just fine.

There is a 2-GB limitation per file when using APR 0.9. This also
applies to Subversion's revision files, meaning that if you try to
commit three 1-GB files at once, you'll create a 3-GB-large revision
file, which won't work with APR 0.9. Use APR 1.0 if this is important
to you.

> Jackrabbit also supports searching through the documents -- by
> content and attributes. What are Subversion's features here? How
> efficient is searching by attributes? Is there any "plug-in" that
> provides fast index-based searching on document contents?

AFAIK Subversion's attributes are not searchable, with a few
exceptions—you can find a revision by date, for example. But you
can't search arbitrary properties, and you can't search content. If
you want to search content, you'll have to make a working copy of the
part of the repository you want to search, then use other tools (such
as your operating system's file searching capabilities) to do the

When you make a working copy of a Subversion repository, be aware
that the hidden .svn directories will contain a complete copy of the
data. If you're versioning large binary files, the additional disk
space this uses may be relevant. The ability to have a working copy
without this pristine copy of the data does not yet exist, but
feature requests have already been written, and I believe someone may
already be working on the implementation.

You can of course to an export (instead of a checkout), and you
wouldn't have the .svn directories and the associated space usage.
But you also wouldn't have a working copy then, meaning if you make
any changes, you can't check them back in.

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Received on Wed Oct 5 11:13:46 2005

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