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Joel on Software

Branching and merging

I was wondering what kind of approach you all have to this... especially for web applications, older models seem not to work so well.

In some of the classical approaches to this individual files are merged.  I dislike this because web based applications have many, many files that aren't closely related.  In our application, for example, we have more than 1000 files.

My idea is that we branch the project but by archiving a 'release' in one place, making any necessary revisions and then keeping them in a log file of some sort.  Before the next major release we merge the release revisions by making sure every item on the log file is present in the main build.  Of course this is risky because changes must be applied in two places.  It also relies on the discretion of the developer to determine if a revision is small enough that it shouldn't just be put off to the next major build.

What is everyone else doing?

David Seruyange
Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Branch as little as we can get away with, and merge back into the HEAD as soon as humanly possible.

Brad Wilson (
Tuesday, March 16, 2004

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