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Version Control with Subversion, 2nd Edition by Brian W. Fitzpatrick, Ben Collins-Sussman, C. Michael Pilato

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Keeping a Branch in Sync

Continuing with our running example, let’s suppose that a week has passed since you started working on your private branch. Your new feature isn’t finished yet, but at the same time you know that other people on your team have continued to make important changes in the project’s /trunk. It’s in your best interest to replicate those changes to your own branch, just to make sure they mesh well with your changes. In fact, this is a best practice: frequently keeping your branch in sync with the main development line helps prevent surprise conflicts when it comes time for you to fold your changes back into the trunk.

Subversion is aware of the history of your branch and knows when it divided away from the trunk. To replicate the latest, greatest trunk changes to your branch, 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
/home/user/my-calc-branch

$ svn merge http://svn.example.com/repos/calc/trunk
--- Merging r345 through r356 into '.':
U    button.c
U    integer.c

This basic syntax—svn merge URL—tells Subversion to merge all recent changes from the URL to the current working directory (which is typically the root of your working copy). After running the prior example, your branch working copy now contains new local modifications, and these edits are duplications of all of the changes that have happened on the trunk since you first created your branch:

$ svn status M . M button.c ...

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