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Codeline organization (branches) for medium/big projects

From: Jakob Hummes
Subject: Codeline organization (branches) for medium/big projects
Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2001 14:54:22 +0100

Right now, we have a single CVS managed codeline of a medium sized (~30
Java packages with on average 20 classes; 10 developers) project.

We now face the problem of needing to develop for 2 or even 3 releases
concurrently.  For doing this, we need to branch from our codeline.

Probably, we will apply for branches the mainline pattern (or one of its
variants as the lag development line) as described in:

Now the CVS specific questions:

1) Do you know if one of the described patterns in the cited document is
more easily achievable with CVS as the other?  What's your experience?

2) If I create a new branch now for my project, it will affect all files
managed by CVS for this project.  This is desired to be able to always
have a consistent view (i.e. by "updating" my whole workspace with the
branch tag).  On the other hand, we have a common package with code that
is not release or project specific.  This code is assumed to be backward
compatible.  Would I apply the branch for my project also on this code? 
I assume not; but will I see always the newest revision, when I "update"
my workspace with the branch tag?

3) Similar to point 3.  Sometime, we need to incorporate a new feature
for a given revision.  Obviously, I would brach out for this feature set
at the revision level.  But then, how would I "update" correctly?

4) What is your experience with merging of branches?  When a revision is
stable or a bugfix should be back-propagated into the main development,
the branches must be merged with the mainline.  However, how to get the
merges also into the current development line?  Propagation via merging?

5) Also a merge question.  Is it possible (feasible) to merge a whole
branch (with possible more than 100 changed files) back to the mainline
at once?  Or do I need to merge on a file-per-file basis?  What is your

Thanks you a lot in advance,
- Jakob

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