TortoiseSVN and Subversion 1.5

October 27, 2007 CollabNet VersionOne

A lot of people asked us about TortoiseSVN and its plans for merge tracking. For those of you who do not know, TortoiseSVN is a Subversion client for Windows users. It plugs into the Windows Shell and makes Subversion client commands available through right-click options within Windows Explorer and any of the open/save dialogues. TortoiseSVN is a great tool that rightfully won a Community Choice Award 2007. You can download it from openCollabNet and it is also part of CollabNet’s stack of supported integrations for Subversion.

I use TortoiseSVN myself all the time so I too was curious to find out about the TortoiseSVN plans for merge tracking. Some information is on their web site but I contacted the project lead for TortoiseSVN, Stefan Küng, and asked about the status. Here is his reply and some screenshots (thanks Stefan):

Merge tracking is usually done by the Subversion library without the user knowing about it. I.e., the user doesn’t see that Subversion skips already merged revisions when merging from trunk to a branch. That’s why there’s not really much done in TSVN UI-wise. Where we thought we have to show the user more information, we did. Otherwise we tried to hide the specifics as well as possible.

What we did for now:

The log dialog, when started from the merge dialog to select revisions to merge shows the already merged revisions in grey instead of black. This indicates to the user that the grey revisions shouldn’t be merged (again).

The log dialog shows merged revisions indented, with each indentation level being a merge level. This UI may change before the final 1.5 release because I’m not really happy with the way the indentation looks right now – it’s hard to see the different levels. I may add some vertical lines there or do something else to improve the indentation.

When showing blames, merged lines are shown with an italic font, and the user can optionally show the merged paths of every line.

Nightly builds are on the TortoiseSVN web site but they might not always work with the Subversion 1.5 pre-release binaries currently downloadable from the Merge Tracking Early Adopter Program. Next week we will update the Subversion 1.5 binaries to the latest development status and we’ll post a TortoiseSVN build that works with our latest Subversion build.

One more thing: On October 30th CollabNet will do another webinar on Subversion 1.5, covering advanced branching and merging with Subversion 1.5. The webinar follows up on the one from a month ago about branching strategies and answers many of the questions people asked. Register here.

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