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Version Control with Subversion
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Version Control with Subversion - Inside the Working Copy Administration Area

Inside the Working Copy Administration Area

As we mentioned earlier, each directory of a Subversion working copy contains a special subdirectory called .svn which houses administrative data about that working copy directory. Subversion uses the information in .svn to keep track of things like:

  • Which repository location(s) are represented by the files and subdirectories in the working copy directory.

  • What revision of each of those files and directories are currently present in the working copy.

  • Any user-defined properties that might be attached to those files and directories.

  • Pristine (un-edited) copies of the working copy files.

While there are several other bits of data stored in the .svn directory, we will examine only a couple of the most important items.

The Entries File

Perhaps the single most important file in the .svn directory is the entries file. The entries file is an XML document which contains the bulk of the administrative information about a versioned resource in a working copy directory. It is this one file which tracks the repository URLs, pristine revision, file checksums, pristine text and property timestamps, scheduling and conflict state information, last-known commit information (author, revision, timestamp), local copy history—practically everything that a Subversion client is interested in knowing about a versioned (or to-be-versioned) resource!

The following is an example of an actual entries file:

Example 8.4. Contents of a Typical .svn/entries File

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<wc-entries
   xmlns="svn:">
<entry
   committed-rev="1"
   name=""
   committed-date="2005-04-04T13:32:28.526873Z"
   url="https://svn.red-bean.com/repos/greek-tree/A/D"
   last-author="jrandom"
   kind="dir"
   uuid="4e820d15-a807-0410-81d5-aa59edf69161"
   revision="1"/>
<entry
   name="lambda"
   copied="true"
   kind="file"
   copyfrom-rev="1"
   schedule="add"
   copyfrom-url="https://svn.red-bean.com/repos/greek-tree/A/B/lambda"/>
<entry
   committed-rev="1"
   name="gamma"
   text-time="2005-12-11T16:32:46.000000Z"
   committed-date="2005-04-04T13:32:28.526873Z"
   checksum="ada10d942b1964d359e048dbacff3460"
   last-author="jrandom"
   kind="file"
   prop-time="2005-12-11T16:32:45.000000Z"/>
<entry
   name="zeta"
   kind="file"
   schedule="add"
   revision="0"/>
<entry
   name="G"
   kind="dir"/>
<entry
   name="H"
   kind="dir"
   schedule="delete"/>
</wc-entries>

As you can see, the entries file is essentially a list of entries. Each entry tag represents one of three things: the working copy directory itself (called the “this directory” entry, and noted as having an empty value for its name attribute), a file in that working copy directory (noted by having its kind attribute set to "file"), or a subdirectory in that working copy ( kind here is set to "dir"). The files and subdirectories whose entries are stored in this file are either already under version control, or (as in the case of the file named zeta above) are scheduled to be added to version control when the user next commits this working copy directory's changes. Each entry has a unique name, and each entry has a node kind.

Developers should be aware of some special rules that Subversion uses when reading and writing its entries files. While each entry has a revision and URL associated with it, note that not every entry tag in the sample file has explicit revision or url attributes attached to it. Subversion allows entries to not explicitly store those two attributes when their values are the same as (in the revision case) or trivially calculable from [45] (in the url case) the data stored in the “this directory” entry. Note also that for subdirectory entries, Subversion stores only the crucial attributes—name, kind, url, revision, and schedule. In an effort to reduce duplicated information, Subversion dictates that the method for determining the full set of information about a subdirectory is to traverse down into that subdirectory, and read the “this directory” entry from its own .svn/entries file. However, a reference to the subdirectory is kept in its parent's entries file, with enough information to permit basic versioning operations in the event that the subdirectory itself is actually missing from disk.


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Version Control with Subversion
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