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RE: Branching strategy - Feature vs Release

From: Gundersen, Richard <Richard.Gundersen_at_london-scottish.com>
Date: 2006-11-08 14:15:54 CET

Ah, I see what you mean. I should try things out myself before
disagreeing :)

I think this is a problem with SVN rather than either strategy though,
don't you think? Both approaches will suffer from this lacking feature
in SVN? Admittedly, the log will be more complete if all development is
done on one trunk, but there will still be gaps (admittedly they will be
smaller though)

-Richard

-----Original Message-----
From: Duncan Murdoch [mailto:murdoch@stats.uwo.ca]
Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 1:03 PM
To: Gundersen, Richard
Cc: users@subversion.tigris.org
Subject: Re: Branching strategy - Feature vs Release

On 11/8/2006 7:34 AM, Gundersen, Richard wrote:
> Hi Duncan
>
> Thanks for the reply, but you do have the full history of a file, even
> if it was branched. Every time a change is made to that file,
regardless
> of which branch the change was made on, you get a log message (as long
> as the developer writes one).
>
> When you eventually merge it, you'd have one additional log message
> saying something like "Merged from my_branch", as well as all the
> others.

I agree the log messages aren't lost, but they aren't attached to the
file on the trunk, they are out on the branch. So if you ask for a log
of a file on the trunk you won't see them. You need to read the trunk
log message to find out where the merge came from, and then go there,
and read those messages.

This may eventually change if svn gets better merge support, but right
now, the svn log can't tell the difference between a merge and any other

change on the trunk. There's no way for the client to automatically
link the branch log message to the trunk file.

Duncan Murdoch

>
> -Richard
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Duncan Murdoch [mailto:murdoch@stats.uwo.ca]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 08, 2006 12:00 PM
> To: Gundersen, Richard
> Cc: users@subversion.tigris.org
> Subject: Re: Branching strategy - Feature vs Release
>
> On 11/8/2006 5:06 AM, Gundersen, Richard wrote:
>> 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
>> production.
>>
>> 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.
>
> One other argument in favour of doing development on the trunk and
> release from branches: If you look at the log for a file, you see the

> history of changes, not a series of "lots of changes merged from foo
> branch" messages.
>
> Duncan Murdoch
>
>>
>>
>>
>> Thanks
>>
>>
>>
>> Richard
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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Received on Wed Nov 8 14:17:00 2006

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