Issue 67 in svnbook: Recommendation to branch in repository is misleading

svnbook at svnbook at
Sun Dec 6 14:00:08 CST 2009

Status: New
Owner: ----
Labels: Type-Defect Priority-Medium

New issue 67 by tropicalsurf: Recommendation to branch in repository is  

Chapter 4, section "Creating a Branch", states:

"While it's also possible to create a branch by using svn copy to duplicate
a directory within the working copy, this technique isn't recommended. It
can be quite slow, in fact!"

While it's true that the initial creation of a branch IS faster if
performed on the server, the fact is that usually when one creates a
branch, one also wants to end up with a working copy of the branch.  In
that very common case, if one follows the books suggestion of making a
branch on the server, one subsequently needs to check out a working copy
from the server.  This checkout operation can take a very long time,
because all of the copied files are transferred from the server to the  

Alternatively, if one makes the branch using working copies, then, assuming
the user already has the original branch checked out, the copy operation
copies the files locally on the client.  This is significantly faster than
downloading the copied files from the server.  One then needs to commit the
copied folder, but Subversion does NOT upload all of the new files.
Instead, it sends copy commands to the server, which take very little

So, my enhancement request is to explain the details of the trade-offs
between the two methods of branching, instead of simply suggesting that one
is preferable to the other.

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