The Entries File
Perhaps the single most important file in the .svn directory is the entries file. It contains the bulk of the administrative information about the versioned items in a working copy directory. This one file tracks the repository URLs, pristine revision, file checksums, pristine text and property timestamps, scheduling and conflict state information, last-known commit information (author, revision, timestamp), local copy history—practically everything that a Subversion client is interested in knowing about a versioned (or to-be-versioned) resource!
Folks familiar with CVS’s administrative directories will have recognized at this point that Subversion’s .svn/entries file serves the purposes of, among other things, CVS’s CVS/Entries, CVS/Root, and CVS/Repository files combined.
The format of the .svn/entries file has changed over time. Originally an XML file, it now uses a custom—though still human-readable—file format. While XML was a great choice for early developers of Subversion who were frequently debugging the file’s contents (and Subversion’s behavior in light of them), the need for easy developer debugging has diminished as Subversion has matured and has been replaced by the user’s need for snappier performance. Be aware that Subversion’s working copy library automatically upgrades working copies from one format to another—it reads the old formats and writes the new—which saves you the hassle of checking out a new working copy, but it can also complicate situations ...