SVN for binary stuff
August 29, 2006 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Using SVN for mostly binary stuff - is it a good idea?

I'm interested in implementing a system that will make it easier to control centralised access to media files. The type of stuff I am talking about is movie files (Quicktime etc) as well as image sequences (thousands of TIF or TGA files), and other sundy stuff, mostly binary.

The idea is that we use SVN to synchronise versions, if need be, to home or other workstations to allow us to move jobs around. I like SVN as it will track who is using the resources, and allows for 'diff'ing which will hopefully make it easier to update data over the net to a home PC for example.

Does anyone do anything like this? Is it worth while? Are the better ways?

Really I am looking for format-independant media management in free (or very cheap) package.
posted by sycophant to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Subversion should work fine for that. It's a lot better at handling binary files than CVS.

One thing to consider, though: if one or more people are editing the binary files, they should explicitly lock/unlock the files. Otherwise you could end up with unmergable conflicts.
posted by veedubya at 10:25 PM on August 29, 2006

What VW said. SVN works just fine for binaries (although I've never done it) according to the very useful free book I was directed to by AskMe.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 11:27 PM on August 29, 2006

Subversion works fine with binary files. You can set needs-lock on binaries that are likely to be edited by more than one person.
posted by syzygy at 1:20 AM on August 30, 2006

We use Subversion for binary and text files quite a bit where I work. It has never had a problem with binary files, but as everyone else has already said, you don't want people trying to resolve conflicts with binary files, so you have to lock them. This essentially means every update replaces the old version, but you still have historical data should ever need to revert.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:25 AM on August 30, 2006

So, to sum things up:

Revision history with binary files: A-OK.
Concurrent editing with binary files: Not A-OK.

I shudder to think how long your first 'svn import' will take, though :) Assuming you've already got a lot of source material to work with, that is.
posted by cyrusdogstar at 6:01 AM on August 30, 2006

If I understand you right, you're only going to be using svn for syncing, and not actual version control?

In that case, why not cut out the extra stuff, and use rsync? It's designed for situations like that, and very network efficient.
posted by jammer at 8:44 AM on August 30, 2006

You may want to enable locking by default on binary files. This way you'll never get into the problem of having to merge two binary files. (...which never works :)
posted by unixrat at 8:55 AM on August 30, 2006

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