O'Reilly logo

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

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Resurrecting Deleted Items

The great thing about version control systems is that information is never lost. Even when you delete a file or directory, it may be gone from the HEAD revision, but the object still exists in earlier revisions. One of the most common questions new users ask is, How do I get my old file or directory back?

The first step is to define exactly which item you’re trying to resurrect. Here’s a useful metaphor: you can think of every object in the repository as existing in a sort of two-dimensional coordinate system. The first coordinate is a particular revision tree, and the second coordinate is a path within that tree. So, every version of your file or directory can be defined by a specific coordinate pair. (Remember the peg revision syntax—foo.c@224—mentioned back in Peg and Operative Revisions.)

First, you might need to use svn log to discover the exact coordinate pair you wish to resurrect. A good strategy is to run svn log --verbose in a directory that used to contain your deleted item. The --verbose (-v) option shows a list of all changed items in each revision; all you need to do is find the revision in which you deleted the file or directory. You can do this visually, or by using another tool to examine the log output (via grep, or perhaps via an incremental search in an editor):

$ cd parent-dir $ svn log -v ... ------------------------------------------------------------------------ r808 | joe | 2003-12-26 14:29:40 -0600 (Fri, 26 Dec 2003) | 3 lines ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required