SwitchTower and Subversion branches

I’m working on a Rails project that needs to be deployed in the near
future. To enable prompt responses to bug reports, me and my coding
partner were thinking to use the following SVN repository

We’re using trunk/ for our main-line development. Whenever we deploy
something from our trunk, we first want to make a branch (e.g.
branches/1.x) and then derive a tag from this (e.g. tags/1.1).

We thought this policy’d make sense because it would allow us to
respond quickly to problems in a deployed version by checking out the
branch from which the exported tag is derived and then deriving a new
tag from the committed changes. Often times the trunk contains active
developments that simply make it unsuitable for deployment.

However, the SwitchTower examples seem to be based on deploying
directly from trunk. I’m wondering: how do people deal with having to
fix something in a release without going back to the trunk to do this.
It seems to me that not having releases reflected in SVN branches or
tags is cumbersome when having to resume development on an earlier

I’m aware I could just be checking out the trunk with -r
[time_of_release]. I could imagine doing this and then only creating a
branch only when we need to fix something in a branch. Thus:
svn copy -r [release_date] file:///svn/db/trunk
svn checkout -r [release_date] file:///svn/db/new_branch

However, this would imply that I’d have to tell Switchtower to then
deploy from that new_branch for these occassions, which hardly seems
convenient. And, I’m simply afraid to deploy an unsuitable version by

I hope I’ve made myself somewhat clear on this confusing subject,

  • Rowan

In your deploy.rb file you can set the location of the Subversion
to get code from. You could specify a branch location here:

set :repository, "svn://server/branch/app"

You can also set a ‘revision’ property that is the revision of the tree
get - defaults to the latest revision. You can set this on the command
to switchtower:

switchtower -vvvv -r config/deploy -a deploy -s revision=42

It doesn’t seem possible to use a tag name, but it is possible for you
work out of a branch and use the specific revision of your choice.

In fact, you can set the repository on the command line too:

switchtower -vvvv -r config/deploy -a deploy -s


Thanks. Your answer is extremely helpful to me. :slight_smile:

Best regards,

  • Rowan

Switchtower seems (from the docs I’ve read) to support the stable
mainline development philosophy where you work on a branch and
merge development branches into the head.

Have you considered working that way?

It’s actually pretty nice to have a development branch per feature
and when you’re done with some specific work, merge it in…

That said, my natural inclination is to work the way you’ve described.

– Tom M.