A Subversion filesystem has its data spread throughout files in the repository, in a fashion generally understood by (and of interest to) only the Subversion developers themselves. However, circumstances may arise that call for all, or some subset, of that data to be copied or moved into another repository.
Subversion provides such functionality by way of repository dump streams. A repository dump stream (often referred to as a “dump file” when stored as a file on disk) is a portable, flat file format that describes the various revisions in your repository—what was changed, by whom, when, and so on. This dump stream is the primary mechanism used to marshal versioned history—in whole or in part, with or without modification—between repositories. And Subversion provides the tools necessary for creating and loading these dump streams: the svnadmin dump and svnadmin load subcommands, respectively.
While the Subversion repository dump format contains human-readable portions and a familiar structure (it resembles an RFC 822 format, the same type of format used for most email), it is not a plain-text file format. It is a binary file format, highly sensitive to meddling. For example, many text editors will corrupt the file by automatically converting line endings.
There are many reasons for dumping and loading Subversion repository data. Early in Subversion’s life, the most common reason was due to the evolution of Subversion itself. As Subversion ...