I’m working on a project that will (soon) be branched into multiple different versions (Trial, Professional, Enterprise, etc).
I’ve been using Subversion since it was first released (and CVS before that), so I’m comfortable with the abstract notion of branches and tags. But in all my development experience, I’ve only ever really worked on trunk code. In a few rare cases, some other developer (who owned the repository) asked me to commit changes to a certain branch and I just did whatever he asked me to do. I consider “merging” a bizarre black art, and I’ve only ever attempted it under careful supervision.
But in this case, I’m responsible for the repository, and this kind of thing is totally new to me.
The vast majority of the code will be shared between all products, so I assume that code will always reside in trunk. I also assume I’ll have a branch for each version, with tags for release builds of each product.
But beyond that, I don’t know much, and I’m sure there are a thousand and one different ways to screw it up. If possible, I’d like to avoid screwing it up.
For example, let’s say I want to develop a new feature, for the pro and enterprise versions, but I want to exclude that feature from the demo version. How would I accomplish that?
In my day-to-day development, I also assume I need to switch my development snapshot from branch to branch (or back to trunk) as I work. What’s the best way to do that, in a way that minimizes confusion?
What other strategies, guidelines, and tips do you guys suggest?
Well, all right then.
Looks like branching is not the right strategy at all. So I’ve changed the title of the question to remove the “branching” focus, and I’m broadening the question.
I suppose some of my other options are:
1) I could always distribute the full version of the software, with all features, and use the license to selectively enable and disable features based on authorization in the license. If I took this route, I can imagine a rat’s nest of if/else blocks calling into a singleton “license manager” object of some sort. What’s the best way of avoiding code-spaghettiism in a case like this?
2) I could use dependency injection. But generally, I hate it (since it moves logic from the source code into configuration files, which make the project more difficult to grok). And even then, I’m still distributing the full app and selecting features at runtime. If possible, I’d rather not distribute the enterprise version binaries to demo users.
3) If my platform supported conditional compilation, I could use #IFDEF blocks and build flags to selectively include features. That’d work well for big, chunky features like whole GUI panels. But what about for smaller, cross-cutting concerts…like logging or statistical tracking, for example?
4) I’m using ANT to build. Is there something like build-time dependency injection for ANT?