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Cleaning an entire subversion working folder from ‘.svn’ folders

May 12th, 2009

Rarely I need to clean an entire folder from all the hidden ‘.svn’ folders which makes it a working copy of an existing repository. Unfortunately my projects tend to be large in the number of files and fairly complex. When I upgrade the project, say from Ektron 7.0.4 to Ektron 7.65 SP2, there are a lot of changes in the files. In the upgrade process, some folders loose their ‘.svn’ subfolders which makes it difficult to use the ‘SVN Update’ + ‘SVN Commit’ walk in the park method. What we need is a ‘SVN Reintegrate’ option, lets create one.


Until now, what I end up doing is removing all the ‘.svn’ subfolders, checking out the project to another folder, removing all the files from the checked out folder (SVN Delete), copying over all the current set of files/folders, and checking the whole thing back in to the SVN repository. This works well but it requires some serious file manipulation efforts. Here are two usefull tools I just recently discovered that can help tremendously with this process:

1. Cleaning an entire subversion working folder from ‘.svn’ folders:

Ryan Christensen describes how to remove all .svn subfolders from a SVN working copy. In short, you need to create a small ‘.cmd’ file that will live in the top folder that you want to detach from SVN and write this command in it:

for /f "tokens=* delims=" %%i in ('dir /s /b /a:d *svn') do ( rd /s /q "%%i" )

I saved it as cleansvn.cmd and run it from a command line window after changing the current directory to the project folder. You will need to wait until the TortoiseSVN checks all the subfolders because it keeps a bunch of info in cache and with this util – it doesn’t refresh veru quickly. But it works great.

2. The new Rsync for Windows, called RichCopy:

Apparently, Microsoft has recently (April 2009) published this free utility called RichCopy which comes to replace the RoboCopy GUI tool from 2006. According to the article, this utility is also many times more efficient and handles multi threading, network connections, etc. I tried it and it worked great for me.

Here are the new steps for my ‘SVN Reintegrate’ procedure:

  1. Backup all working copies before proceeding
  2. Clean working copy from all ‘.svn’ folders
  3. Checkout latest project from SVN repository to another folder (not a subfolder)
  4. Use RichCopy to copy over all the files, these are the settings:
    1. Source: the new clean working folder
    2. Destination: the latest SVN checked out folder
    3. Use the ‘Purge’ option
    4. Exclude all ‘.svn’ folders from this process
  5. SVN Commit the SVN folder that was overwritten by the working folder

A bit confusing but if you know what you are doing it can save you a few white hairs. Enjoy!

Ektron, Web Development , ,

  1. David Wong
    | #1

    Ummmm there is actually an easier way….use TortoiseSVN/Export.

  2. | #2

    This is true, SVN export does a similar thing, except you need to export the folder to another one. In some cases you need to remain in the same folder or the export will not work because your working folder is no longer fully functional. The removal of the .svn folders works when your working folder was upgraded or changed outside of SVN’s standard operations.

    I had to use this specific case when I upgraded an Ektron website. When you use the Ektron site upgrade it actually swaps out some of your folders. This results in some subfolders being under SVN control and some are not because they are missing the ‘.svn’ subfolders. This method illustrated above is used to even out the plain field and even submit your new changes directly to SVN – so you can diff between versions of your site.

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