WANdisco, the makers of Enterprise Subversion, has today announced a major new initiative to overhaul the Subversion open source Software Change Management (SCM) project. With more active developers from the Subversion project on staff than any other company, WANdisco will use its vantage point to lead efforts to improve Subversion with major new features and enhancements that the user community have been asking for.

Having already invested heavily in resources to develop Subversion in recent years, WANdisco has now committed to ramping up its commitment even further. The new release of Subversion will address shortcomings in ‘branching’ and ‘merging’ – two fundamental code management challenges that software developers face everyday when working in distributed or fragmented teams that rely on a change management system.

WANdisco states that this work will commence immediately following the Subversion 1.7 release (where WANdisco’s Subversion development team is the major contributor) and is slated for completion in 2011.

Developers using the new SCM system that results from this work will be able to depend on Subversion to track, manage and inform them of changes made to a code base that sits in a central repository. With issues such as employees leaving a project or even existing engineers poorly annotating their work, the radical new Subversion will manage every aspect of the software application development lifecycle as it grows at the command line.

WANdisco made the decision to commit its senior Subversion development resources following a summit held at WANdisco’s headquarters in Silicon Valley, California.  The meeting was chaired by Hyrum Wright, WANdisco’s Director of open source and release manager for Apache Subversion. The meeting was attended by representatives from the world’s largest Subversion implementations such as Intel, Juniper Networks and others.

“Enough is enough,” said David Richards, President and CEO of WANdisco. “Subversion gets a lot of criticism due to the shortcomings of branching and merging, especially when compared with GIT and others, and we simply don’t have the time to debate whether or not this should be done when it clearly should be.  We have always said if you invest in an enterprise Subversion support agreement from WANdisco then you are investing, at its core, in the Subversion open source project.

You can read more about David Richards thoughts on this topic on his blog at http://blogs.wandisco.com/author/david/.

Highlights of the proposed improvements include:

• Enhanced Subversion merge performance, with features such as allowing users to take all of the changes committed on one branch and replay them on another
• Subversion rename tracking to eliminate tree conflicts during merges when file names change
• Improve correctness of ‘SVN blame – g’ to make it possible to follow complete merge history and trace authors of merged code
• Improve ‘SVN import’ to better manage branches.
• Make Authz architecture more granular similar to Unix filesystem permissions.
• Repository-dictated configuration.

The full outline requirements can be found at http://www.wandisco.com/svndisco.