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Question: What is branching?

- J.D. Meier, Jason Taylor, Alex Mackman, Prashant Bansode

Answer

Branching (also known as forking) is the act of splitting a collection of files into separate development paths. Team Foundation Server supports branching and sophisticated merging that allows you to join together files from separate branches. For example, you can use branching to isolate major releases of your application. After you have branched the released version of your application, you can more easily maintain it in the future. Merging allows you to selectively make fixes to both branches.

The purpose of branching and merging is to allow you to isolate concurrent streams of development. For instance, you create a branch when your team has produced a build that you want to maintain going forward. You could also choose to branch in order to isolate feature teams in a very large development organization, or to support development on multiple versions of your application at once.

Because TFS Version Control does not make separate copies of the file content when you branch, it does not consume a lot of additional space in the source control database. A branch consists of a pointer in the database to the source content in the list of deltas that modify it from the base version.

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Last edited Jul 18, 2007 at 11:03 PM by jtaylorsi, version 6

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