Include a common sub-project

Sometimes you will want to include another project within your working copy, perhaps some library code. There are at least 4 ways of dealing with this.

Use svn:externals

Set the svn:externals property for a folder in your project. This property consists of one or more lines; each line has the name of a sub-folder which you want to use as the checkout folder for common code, and the repository URL that you want to be checked out there. For full details refer to the section called “External Items”.

Commit the new folder. Now when you update, Subversion will pull a copy of that project from its repository into your working copy. The sub-folders will be created automatically if required. Each time you update your main working copy, you will also receive the latest version of all external projects.

If the external project is in the same repository, any changes you make there will be included in the commit list when you commit your main project.

If the external project is in a different repository, any changes you make to the external project will be shown or indicated when you commit the main project, but you have to commit those external changes separately.

Of the three methods described, this is the only one which needs no setup on the client side. Once externals are specified in the folder properties, all clients will get populated folders when they update.

Use a nested working copy

Create a new folder within your project to contain the common code, but do not add it to Subversion.

Select TortoiseSVNCheckout for the new folder and checkout a copy of the common code into it. You now have a separate working copy nested within your main working copy.

The two working copies are independent. When you commit changes to the parent, changes to the nested WC are ignored. Likewise when you update the parent, the nested WC is not updated.

Use a relative location

If you use the same common core code in several projects, and you do not want to keep multiple working copies of it for every project that uses it, you can just check it out to a separate location which is related to all the other projects which use it. For example:


and refer to the common code using a relative path, e.g. ..\..\Common\DSPcore.

If your projects are scattered in unrelated locations you can use a variant of this, which is to put the common code in one location and use drive letter substitution to map that location to something you can hard code in your projects, e.g. Checkout the common code to D:\Documents\Framework or C:\Documents and Settings\{login}\My Documents\framework then use

SUBST X: "D:\Documents\framework"

to create the drive mapping used in your source code. Your code can then use absolute locations.

#include "X:\superio\superio.h"

This method will only work in an all-PC environment, and you will need to document the required drive mappings so your team know where these mysterious files are. This method is strictly for use in closed development environments, and not recommended for general use.

Add the project to the repository

The maybe easiest way is to simply add the project in a subfolder to your own project working copy. However this has the disadvantage that you have to update and upgrade this external project manually.

To help with the upgrade, TortoiseSVN provides a command in the explorer right-drag context menu. Simply right-drag the folder where you unzipped the new version of the external library to the folder in your working copy, and then select Context MenuSVN Vendorbranch here. This will then copy the new files over to the target folder while automatically adding new files and removing files that aren't in the new version anymore.