[svn.haxx.se] · SVN Dev · SVN Users · SVN Org · TSVN Dev · TSVN Users · Subclipse Dev · Subclipse Users · this month's index

Branching strategy - Feature vs Release

From: Gundersen, Richard <Richard.Gundersen_at_london-scottish.com>
Date: 2006-11-08 11:06:43 CET

Hi All


We're having a big debate where I work over whether or not to use the
"release" based branching strategy, or the "feature" based way.


I've always worked with the latter. These are the reasons why:


1) Trunk is always stable. This always mimics exactly what's in

2) I do all new work on a branch (whether it's a small
experimental change or a new release which is essentially a collection
of new features). This to me has the following additional advantages

a. My new changes don't affect the production codebase

b. When the customer who requested change X wants it to go live, I
can merge it in to the trunk (because its own isolated branch), and
release only that change (plus whatever was in trunk originally). I then
commit it, tag it, and hey presto, trunk still mimics production
exactly. With the release based approach, with everyone committing
different changes to the trunk, when a customer wants change X to go
live, I have to tell him that it can go live, but I have to tell another
customer that because I have to release X, his change Y must also go
live too. This situation might never occur with systems that have a
simple release lifecycle, but when you're dealing with large systems
with different sets of customers (especially if they have different
legal requirements, or they are in different countries) I think this is
really important.


The arguments against this approach are often:


1) Merging is hard. I don't like it

a. Well, in my experience with Subversion and CVS, merging is
actually quite easy. I might have a few conflicts to resolve every now
and again, but they are usually pretty easy to iron out, especially if I
keep my branch up to date with the trunk (which might have had some bug
fixes done to it over time)

2) Keeping track of lots of branches is hard.

a. Not really. If I use a good naming convention, a handful of
branches are easy enough to keep track of. It's not as if I'm going to
have hundreds of branches to worry about, in reality

3) We have release branches so you know exactly whats on a
production server

a. So does this approach - whatever is on the trunk is in
production. And, a release branch by definition changes over time (until
it's tagged as final after which there will still be an element of
merging involved to get it in sync with the development branch (trunk in
this case)).


I can see why people would favour the release branch strategy, because
it 'sounds' much simpler, but I think the benefits of the feature based
approach far outweigh the negatives. I expect a lot of people to
disagree with me, but it's a good debate and I'd welcome any comments.







*** Disclaimer ***

This electronic communication is confidential and for the exclusive use of the addressee. It may contain private and confidential information. The information, attachments and opinions contained in this E-mail are those of its author only and do not necessarily represent those of London Scottish Bank PLC or any other members of the London Scottish Group.

If you are not the intended addressee, you are prohibited from any disclosure, distribution or further copying or use of this communication or the information in it or taking any action in reliance on it. If you have received this communication in error please notify the Information Security Manager at ISM@London-Scottish.com as soon as possible and delete the message from all places in your computer where it is stored.

We utilise virus scanning software but we cannot guarantee the security of electronic communications and you are advised to check any attachments for viruses. We do not accept liability for any loss resulting from any corruption or alteration of data or importation of any virus as a result of receiving this electronic communication.

Replies to this E-mail may be monitored for operational or business reasons. London Scottish Bank PLC is regulated by the Financial Services Authority.
This email has been scanned by the MessageLabs Email Security System.
Received on Wed Nov 8 11:08:33 2006

This is an archived mail posted to the Subversion Users mailing list.