Developers often need to temporarily put aside in-process working copy changes to begin some other usually-short-lived task. You know the routine. You're halfway through the implementation of a medium-sized feature when – stop the presses! A customer just found a mission-critical bug in the app!
Current workarounds include:
- create a branch; switch to branch; commit unfinished primary task code to branch; switch back; handle and commit secondary task; merge from branch; resume primary task.
- use 'svn diff' to make a patchfile for primary task work; svn revert -R; handle and commit secondary task; use 'patch' to recreate local primary task mods; deal with all the stuff (prop changes, added/deleted files, etc.) that 'patch' can't represent; resume primary task.
- (same as above, except that in 1.7 you can use 'svn patch' instead of 'patch' and the fixup step)
A better approach that avoids the need to create server branches and to marshal/unmarshal changes away from Subversion would be to support 'svn shelve/unshelve' commands, where "shelve" means "squirrel away my changes into the working copy metadata and revert them from the WORKING tree " and "unshelve" means "merge the changes I previously squirreled away back into my WORKING tree".