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Re: Best way to handle shared files in SVN?

From: Ted Dennison <dennison_at_ssd.fsi.com>
Date: 2006-09-07 16:09:47 CEST

John Burwell wrote:
>> So given that svn:externals does not equate to VSS sharing, what
>> other solutions have people come up with to achieve this?
> I get annoyed when people respond to my questions with new problems
> instead of solutions, but there are times, I think, when system
> transitions like the one you've undertaken simply require adaptations
> in workflow. This might be an opportunity for you to re-evaluate some
> of your older procedures and develop new habits to take better
> advantage of the facilities Subversion *does* provide.
I'd second this. If sharing of controlled files was an otherwise
universal source control management feature it might be different.
However, I've now used (*counts on fingers for a bit*) 6 different
source control management tools in my time, and VSS is the only one that
had this feature. Its kinda nice, but the transparent nature of it can
cause problems too. Someone can easily break the link without you
knowing, or make changes that only work in one environment without
knowing they need to break the link.

Of course most of those SCM tools wouldn't have needed a sharing feature
either, as their OS's supported soft links. VSS's sharing feature can
perhaps be looked at as a hack to work around a failing of the Windows OS.

If you are using the NTFS file system on Windows, its possible to create
softlinks ("junctions" in Micro$oft-speak). There isn't a lot of good OS
support out of the box for them, but there are several free downloads
that help. Some are even from Micro$oft. Google for Windows and junction
and you should be able to find something useful. Junctions can only be
directories though (same limitation as the SVN workaround mentioned
previously). Also, I'd guess SVN can't tell it from a file, so you might
have to handle it specially (eg: put it in some kind of ignore list, and
add a rule in your makefile to recreate it when needed).

Supposedly with Windows Vista there will be a "mklink" command that will
support making file symbolic links. Hopefully, when this becomes
available SVN will support them, as it supports them for Unixes?

T.E.D.   Work     -  mailto:dennison@ssd.fsi.com
         Home     -  mailto:dennison@telepath.com (Yahoo: Ted_Dennison)
         Homepage -  http://www.telepath.com/~dennison/Ted/TED.html
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Received on Thu Sep 7 16:14:44 2006

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