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4.7. Examine Your Changes

Subversion has been optimized to help you with this task, and is able to do many things without communicating with the repository. In particular, your working copy contains a hidden cached pristine copy of each version controlled file within the .svn area. Because of this, Subversion can quickly show you how your working files have changed, or even allow you to undo your changes without contacting the repository.
svn status
To get an overview of your changes, use the svn status command. You may use svn status more than any other Subversion command.
If you run svn status at the top of your working copy with no arguments, it detects all file and tree changes you've made. Below are a few examples of the most common status codes that svn status can return. (Note that the text following # is not actually printed by svn status.)
A       stuff/loot/bloo.h   # file is scheduled for addition
C       stuff/loot/lump.c   # file has textual conflicts from an update
D       stuff/fish.c        # file is scheduled for deletion
M       bar.c               # the content in bar.c has local modifications
In this output format svn status prints six columns of characters, followed by several whitespace characters, followed by a file or directory name. The first column tells the status of a file or directory and/or its contents. The codes we listed are:
A item
The file, directory, or symbolic link item has been scheduled for addition into the repository.
C item
The file item is in a state of conflict. That is, changes received from the server during an update overlap with local changes that you have in your working copy. You must resolve this conflict before committing your changes to the repository.
D item
The file, directory, or symbolic link item has been scheduled for deletion from the repository.
M item
The contents of the file item have been modified.
If you pass a specific path to svn status, you get information about that item alone:
$ svn status stuff/fish.c
D      stuff/fish.c
The svn status command also has a --verbose (-v) option, which shows you the status of every item in your working copy, even if it has not been changed:
$ svn status -v
M               44        23    sally     README
                44        30    sally     INSTALL
M               44        20    harry     bar.c
                44        18    ira       stuff
                44        35    harry     stuff/trout.c
D               44        19    ira       stuff/fish.c
                44        21    sally     stuff/things
A                0         ?     ?        stuff/things/bloo.h
                44        36    harry     stuff/things/gloo.c
This is the long form output of svn status. The letters in the first column mean the same as before, but the second column shows the working-revision of the item. The third and fourth columns show the revision in which the item last changed, and who changed it.
None of the prior invocations to svn status contact the repository — instead, they compare the metadata in the .svn directory with the working copy. Finally, there is the --show-updates (-u) option, which contacts the repository and adds information about things that are out-of-date:
$ svn status -u -v
M      *        44        23    sally     README
M               44        20    harry     bar.c
       *        44        35    harry     stuff/trout.c
D               44        19    ira       stuff/fish.c
A                0         ?     ?        stuff/things/bloo.h
Status against revision:   46
Notice the two asterisks: if you were to run svn update at this point, you would receive changes to README and trout.c. This tells you some very useful information -- you need to update and get the server changes on README before you commit, or the repository will reject your commit for being out-of-date. (More on this subject later.)
The svn status command can display much more information about the files and directories in your working copy than we've shown here — for an exhaustive description of svn status and its output, see svn status.
svn diff
Another way to examine your changes is with the svn diff command. You can find out exactly how you've modified things by running svn diff with no arguments, which prints out file changes in unified diff format:
$ svn diff
Index: bar.c
--- bar.c	(revision 3)
+++ bar.c	(working copy)
@@ -1,7 +1,12 @@
+#include <sys/types.h>
+#include <sys/stat.h>
+#include <unistd.h>
+#include <.stdio.h>

 int main(void) {
-  printf("Sixty-four slices of American Cheese...\n");
+  printf("Sixty-five slices of American Cheese...\n");
 return 0;

--- README	(revision 3)
+++ README	(working copy)
@@ -193,3 +193,4 @@
+Note to self:  pick up laundry.

Index: stuff/fish.c
--- stuff/fish.c	(revision 1)
+++ stuff/fish.c	(working copy)
-Welcome to the file known as 'fish'.
-Information on fish will be here soon.

Index: stuff/things/bloo.h
--- stuff/things/bloo.h	(revision 8)
+++ stuff/things/bloo.h	(working copy)
+Here is a new file to describe
+things about bloo.
The svn diff command produces this output by comparing your working files against the cached pristine copies within the .svn area. Files scheduled for addition are displayed as all added text, and files scheduled for deletion are displayed as all deleted text.
Output is displayed in unified diff format. That is, removed lines are prefaced with - and added lines are prefaced with +. The svn diff command also prints filename and offset information useful to the patch program, so you can generate patches by redirecting the diff output to a file:
svn diff > patchfile
You could, for example, email the patch file to another developer for review or testing prior to commit.
Subversion uses its internal diff engine, which produces unified diff format, by default. If you want diff output in a different format, specify an external diff program using --diff-cmd and pass any flags you'd like to it using the --extensions (-x) option. For example, to see local differences in file foo.c in context output format while ignoring case differences, you might run svn diff --diff-cmd /usr/bin/diff --extensions '-i' foo.c.