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

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Autoversioning

Although the Subversion client is not a full DeltaV client, and the Subversion server is not a full DeltaV server, there’s still a glimmer of WebDAV interoperability to be happy about: autoversioning.

Autoversioning is an optional feature defined in the DeltaV standard. A typical DeltaV server will reject an ignorant WebDAV client attempting to do a PUT to a file that’s under version control. To change a version-controlled file, the server expects a series of proper versioning requests: something like MKACTIVITY, CHECKOUT, PUT, CHECKIN. But if the DeltaV server supports autoversioning, write requests from basic WebDAV clients are accepted. The server behaves as though the client had issued the proper series of versioning requests, performing a commit under the hood. In other words, it allows a DeltaV server to interoperate with ordinary WebDAV clients that don’t understand versioning.

Because so many operating systems have already integrated WebDAV clients, the use case for this feature can be incredibly appealing to administrators working with nontechnical users. Imagine an office of ordinary users running Microsoft Windows or Mac OS. Each user mounts the Subversion repository, which appears to be an ordinary network folder. They use the shared folder as they always do: open files, edit them, and save them. Meanwhile, the server is automatically versioning everything. Any administrator (or knowledgeable user) can still use a Subversion client to search history and ...

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