[thelist] Subversion - multiple users on same working copy?

Ian Anderson ian at zstudio.co.uk
Mon May 1 11:20:11 CDT 2006

Hi listees,

I am considering introducing Subversion as a revision control system at
one of my client sites.

They are an online magazine, and currently everyone modifies a single
set of files on a shared volume before upload to staging; the shared 
volume constitutes the sole master copy of the site. The users are 
content editors, not web designers or developers, and consequently have 
little technical knowledge.

Ideally, we'd have everyone working on local copies of the project,
updating a central test server to unit-test files, and have a revision
control system supporting the local working copies. However, we don't 
think the users in question would bear the responsibility of managing 
their own working copies properly, or of committing changes to the 
repository without great difficulty.

Tortoise SVN makes SVN bearable to use, but the potential for problems 
is fairly limitless.

Consequently, I am considering the following, less satisfactory
arrangement: a single working copy of the site on the central
shared drive - as it is now but under version control - with updates and 
commits to the repository being managed by one or two technical people.

To be honest, most of the risk to the codebase comes from us technical 
types, who are editing PHP core scripts without a safety net at the 
moment; the editors are adding new pages all the time, but are much less 
likely to break something important than we are... :)

Has anyone any experience of using Subversion or a similar VCS in this 
sort of way, or any guidance to offer? In short, am I crazy to even 
consider this?

I am aware of the risk of editing collisions where two people open and 
edit the same file concurrently, and because of this I am considering 
rolling out Dreamweaver to the editors and using its own 
Checkin/Checkout file locking system in addition to putting the shared 
site under version control through SVN.

Views and/or (mild) abuse welcome

Many thanks


zStudio - Web development and accessibility
- http://zStudio.co.uk
Snippetz.net - Your personal, private code library
- http://snippetz.net

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