Svn practices

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This page gathered svn practices frequently used by contributors and committers. If you have any advice to this page, please feel free to update it or discuss your idea in ooo-dev mail list.

SVN Client 1.7 is recommanded to use for AOO development. It's strongly recommended use alternative name for svn's subcommand, like co-checkout, ci-commit, up-update, di-diff, and so on.

Read-only access

  • Grab the whole source code from main trunk
svn co aoo
  • Grab a branch
svn co aoo410
  • Grab a specific directory from a branch
svn co sw

This gets the source code for Writer module (named "sw") from the AOO410 branch

  • Get the latest changes into your working copy

Change into the working directory such as aoo or sw for the above case and run

svn update

This command will merge the public changes with the local changes if there are any.

  • Update to a specific revision
svn update -r xxxx
  • Check changes history
svn log
svn log filename

Also show information about the paths that were changed in each displayed revision.

svn log -v

Show for specific revision.

svn log -r m
  • Organize logical changes by changelist

Use cl instead of changelist for convenience.

svn changelist tocload-feature filename1 filename2 ...
  • Check changes and create a patch from local changes

When creating patch, combine all your changes into a patch.

The path in patch should at least start in "main" or top directory.

svn diff filename1 filename2 > n.patch
  • Create patch from a specific revision:
svn diff -c m > n.patch
  • For changes consisting of many revisions n..m use
svn diff -r m:n > n.patch


  • Discard local changes and revert to unmodified state
svn revert

Write access

  • Apply patch when review other's code change

Make sure current directory is consistent with path in patch, like "main".

svn patch n.patch

Reverse patch:

svn patch --reverse-diff n.patch
  • Check changes before committing them
svn status

and / or

svn diff
svn diff --changelist tocload-feature
  • Commit your changes

Don't forget to specify the list of files/dirs that are changed to avoid accidentally committing unwanted changes.

svn commit -m "comment" [filenames]
svn commit -m "comment" --changelist tocload-feature
  • Committing a patch

Prepare a commit-comment file (e.g. mychangelog.txt) by using the relevant parts of this template:

  Patch by:
  Suggested by:
  Found by:
  Review by:
  Tested by:

and then commit it by running either

svn commit -F mychangelog.txt [filenames]
svn commit -F mychangelog.txt --changelist tocload-feature
  • Update Bugzilla

Update bugzilla with revision information for cross reference when you are done with the commit and know the revision numbers.

Working with a branch

There at least two situations that you need to work with a branch.

  • If the changes you are about to make are complicated or you want to share them with others during development.
  • There are interesting upstream branches created by others. For example, after AOO 3.4 is released, a branch for the AOO 3.4.x micro releases was created.

Instead of doing 'svn commit' both on trunk and the release branch use 'svn merge' if your fix needs to be submitted to both code lines.

There are also other cases in which you don't want to commit in development mainline directly.

  • How to create a branch
 svn copy  \
      -m "Creating a private branch for toc loading of word document."
  • Keep a branch in sync

Subversion is aware of the history of your branch and knows when it split away from the mainline. To perform a sync merge, first make sure your working copy of the branch is “clean”—that it has no local modifications reported by 'svn status'. Then simply run:

$ pwd
$ svn merge ^/ooo/trunk
  • Reintegrate a branch

When your new feature is done. It needs to be merged back to mainline. Before do that, sync the brache with mainline and commit your changes. Then

$ svn merge --reintegrate ^/ooo/branches/tocloading

and commit again

  • Remove a branch

Once a branch is integrated back it has become useless and can be removed.

$ svn delete ^/ooo/branches/tocloading -m "Remove branch of toc loading"


SVN Basics

A guide for new committers:

Merge Instruction from FreeBSD:

SVN book:

SVN Best Practices

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