A working copy and what does “switching” do for me in Tortoise SVN


I have a software app and I've hit an important milestone, version 2.0.

I decided I want to tag this version as "Version-2.0" so I have named this snapshot. I also created a "Version-2.0" branch in case I need to fix anything and merge it back into my trunk.

After reading through the Tortoise SVN help file, it informs me that I can switch my "working copy" to a newly created branch.

What does this mean?

Presently, I have:


All checked out. So what would be the point of "switching"? Currently, I just go to my /trunk folder and do my work. And when I made my tag and branch, it created folders in my /Tags/ and /Branches/ folder after I did an update.

Why wouldn't I just go to /Branches/Experiemental-v3.0/ and do my work there if I wanted to?

Can someone explain the concept of "Working Copy" and "Switching" to me? What am I missing? Do people generally not have the whole repository checked out, is that it?

Best Solution

A working copy is the copy you have checked out to your working area. It doesn't matter if it is a branch or from the trunk. It's what you are working on.

You can switch between branches (or more correctly copies) of the same parent with svn switch. This will basically say, what's different between the current working copy and the branch I am switch to. It then performs an update on your current working copy to the revision of branch you switch to.

So working copy is your checkout, however it was obtained.

Switching is just changing the branch your working copy commits to. Think of it like changing the pointer in the repository where your commits will go. With the aid of acquiring any differences from the branch to your work area.