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The EU Network CVS Repository

CVS allows one to trace any change to a file from the creation of a file to the present version, and provides an automatic notification system to alert interested parties of changes to files. In order to make effective use of the system, the following commit procedure is recommended as a guideline:

Only make one change at a time

Don't make a commit which changes several distinct things at once, this would make it difficult to trace changes back to find out which bit was changed for which reason. See the note on commit messages below.

In general, only commit changes which work

If you are part of a team maintaining a module, make sure that your changes don't break anything ... for a latex file make sure that it still latexes, for a code that it still compiles and gives the right results, for web pages that they still display correctly. If you really need to commit a broken version, make sure you inform everyone not to update their versions. Obviously if you are working on your own you might find it useful to commit intermediate changes ... but make sure your commit message clearly reflects this.

Know which files you are going to commit

Always check what you are about to commit by use of the

cvs -n -q update

command. This ensures that you see exactly which files have been modified, removed or added, and provides a useful reminder of when you need to use the cvs add and cvs remove commands.

Know what has changed

The use of the

cvs diff

command on each modified file is a good check that you are not just committing an accidental keystroke or a debug statement. Moreover, it provides a reminder of what has changed and needs to be added to the commit message.

Provide clear, meaningful and relevant commit messages

The commit message should explain what has changed and why, for details people can use cvs diff, however the commit message should be clear enough for people to have a good idea of what is going on. This is strongly coupled to the item about only making one change at a time. If two distinct things have changed they should be committed separately with relevant commit messages.

Commit all required files

A common mistake it to issue cvs commit and miss the the fact that a crucial file needs to be added with cvs add first. Check that this isn't the case by looking at the output of a cvs -n -q update

This work has been supported by the EU Programme 'Improving the Human Research Potential and the Socio-Economic Knowledge Base' (Research Training Network Contract HPRN-CT-2000-00137).