Watching a File

CVS provides a set of commands to notify users when a file is being edited or committed. You can use these commands to monitor what each member of your team is doing and reduce the necessity of merging files when cvs update is run. Together, the cvs watch , cvs edit, and cvs unedit commands make up the watch method of exclusive development, which is a lightly enforced method of exclusive development.

The watch method requires the repository administrator to set up the notify and users files in the CVSROOT directory of the CVS repository; it requires the developers to check whether a file is being edited before they attempt to edit it.

Use cvs watch like this:

  1. Check out your sandbox, including the files you want to watch.

  2. Issue the cvs watch on command to mark files for watching. (This does not set you as the watcher for the files; it just informs CVS that the files can be watched.) Once a file has been marked for watching, it remains marked unless it is cleared with cvs watch off.


    You need to use cvs watch on for a file only once, unless someone clears the setting. Usually, your project leader decides which files can be watched and will mark those files for watching.

  3. Issue the cvs watch add command to set yourself as a watcher of the files you want to watch.

  4. Issue cvs edit to inform CVS and other users that you intend to edit a specific file. Other users watching the file will be notified that you are editing it.

  5. Edit the file in any editor.

  6. Commit your changes ...

Get Essential CVS now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.