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update after file move proves a challenge

From: Michael Brian Bentley <bentley_at_crenelle.com>
Date: 2005-10-24 23:33:10 CEST

Hi folks,

Just last week my group just decided to switch to SVN after eight
lifetimes of using CVS, and I think we're already happier with svn
than we have ever been with the veteran predecessor. It isn't all
burly cheer, tho. Just this weekend one of our top developers was
working on extensive changes to certain specific source files while
another of our top developers was executing plan SABJEN-1 (we use
project names from a current Ikea catalog), which involved moving our
source tree down a directory level. When the first developer finished
his changes and got it all to work, he updated.

Now, I wasn't there when the first developer saw the results of his
update attempt, but I do know from the resignedly scathing email that
Something Had Gone Amiss And That We Were All Doomed, and I wrote
some quick responses and dived into the svn web site looking for
answers in the mailing list archives.

There are several instances of "gee, we moved this file while someone
was working on the source, and svn didn't work as expected when the
work was returned." SVN evidently doesn't automatically track where
files are moved to, effectively implementing a simple copy/delete. If
it did, it would just do the right thing and handle the update by
producing a properly merged file in the new location and providing
the appropriate number of warning messages that the old files in the
old locations are no longer terribly useful. Either that or just
flat-out disallow operations until the file trees return to sensible

At any rate, svn's vaunted move and rename capabilities are now
treated by our group as scary, requiring manual coordination between
all developers before changes are done.

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Received on Mon Oct 24 23:35:40 2005

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