Using CVS Support in NetBeans IDE
NetBeans IDE's CVS support is designed to help streamline the development process for groups working from a shared repository, enabling you to perform versioning tasks directly from your project system within the IDE. The CVS client software comes bundled with NetBeans IDE, and no special setup is necessary in order to begin using CVS.
This document demonstrates how to perform basic versioning tasks in the IDE by guiding you through the standard workflow when using versioning software.
CVS, or Concurrent Versions System, is an open-source version control system that keeps track of all work and changes in a set of files. This is typically used during the implementation of a software project, allowing multiple developers to collaborate. For more information about CVS, consult the official documentation.
Note: After NetBeans IDE 7.0.1, CVS support is available after installing the CVS plugin from the NetBeans IDE Update Center. Please see the CVS FAQ page for details.
To complete this tutorial, you need the following software and resources.
Synchronizing Local Files with a Repository
When using a version control system, you work by synchronizing local files with a repository, making changes to your local copy, then committing them to the repository. The following list describes various ways you can synchronize a project in NetBeans IDE, depending on your specific situation:
Opening a CVS Project in the IDE
If you already have a CVS versioned project which you have been working
with outside of the IDE, you can open it in the IDE and versioning features
will automatically become available to you. The IDE scans your open projects
and if they contain
Checking out Files from a Repository
If you want to connect to a remote repository from the IDE, then check out files and immediately begin working with them, do the following:
Importing Files into a Repository
Alternately, you can import a project you have been working on in the IDE to a remote repository, then continue to work on it in the IDE after it has become versioned with the CVS repository.
Note: While you are actually exporting files from your system, the term 'import' is used in version control systems to signify that files are being imported into a repository.
To import a project to a repository:
Note: The CVS client does not handle binary file imports
by default. The best practice for importing binary sources is to create a
Once you have a CVS versioned project opened in the IDE, you can begin making changes to sources. As with any project opened in NetBeans IDE, you can open files in the Source Editor by double-clicking on their nodes, as they appear in the IDE's windows (e.g. Projects (Ctrl-1), Files (Ctrl-2), Favorites (Ctrl-3) windows).
When working with sources in the IDE, there are various UI components at your disposal, which aid in both viewing and operating version control commands:
Viewing Changes in the Source Editor
When you open a versioned file in the IDE's Source Editor, you can view real-time changes occurring to your file as you modify it against your previously checked-out base version from the repository. As you work, the IDE uses color encoding in the Source Editor's margins to convey the following information:
The Source Editor's left margin shows changes occurring on a line-by-line basis. When you modify a given line, changes are immediately shown in the left margin.
You can click on a color grouping in the margin to call versioning commands. For example, the screen capture below left shows widgets available to you when clicking a red icon, indicating that lines have been removed from your local copy.
The Source Editor's right margin provides you with an overview that displays changes made to your file as a whole, from top to bottom. Color encoding is generated immediately when you make changes to your file.
Note that you can click on a specific point within the margin to bring your inline cursor immediately to that location in the file. To view the number of lines affected, hover your mouse over the colored icons in the right margin:
Viewing File Status Information
When you are working in the Projects (Ctrl-1), Files (Ctrl-2), Favorites (Ctrl-3), or Versioning windows, the IDE provides several visual features that aid in viewing status information about your files. In the example below, notice how the badge (e.g. ), color of the file name, and adjacent status label, all coincide with each other to provide you with a simple but effective way to keep track of versioning information on your files:
Badges, color coding, file status labels, and perhaps most importantly, the Versioning window all contribute to your ability to effectively view and manage and versioning information in the IDE.
Badges and Color Coding
Badges are applied to project, folder, and package nodes and inform you of the status of files contained within that node:
The following table displays the color scheme used for badges:
Color coding is applied to file names in order to indicate their current status against the repository:
File Status Labels
File status labels provide a textual indication of the status of versioned files in the IDE's windows. By default, the IDE displays status (new, modified, ignored, etc.) and tag information in gray text to the right of files, as they are listed in windows. You can, however, modify this format to suit your own needs. For example, if you want to add revision numbers to status labels, do the following:
File status labels can be toggled on and off by choosing View > Show Versioning Labels from the main menu.
The Versioning Window
The CVS Versioning window provides you with a real-time list of all of the changes made to files within a selected folder of your local working copy. It opens by default in the bottom panel of the IDE, listing added, deleted or modified files.
To open the Versioning window, select a versioned file or folder (e.g. from the Projects, Files, or Favorites window) and either choose CVS > Show Changes from the right-click menu, or choose Versioning > Show Changes from the main menu. The following window appears in the bottom of the IDE:
By default, the Versioning window displays a list of all modified files within the selected package or folder. Using the buttons in the toolbar, you can choose to display all changes or limit the list of displayed files to either locally or remotely modified files. You can also click the column headings above the listed files to sort the files by name, status or location.
The Versioning window toolbar also includes buttons that enable you to invoke the most common CVS tasks on all files displayed in the list. The following table lists the CVS commands available in the toolbar of the Versioning window:
You can access other CVS commands in the Versioning window by selecting a table row that corresponds to a modified file, and choosing a command from the right-click menu:
For example, you can perform the following actions on a file:
Comparing File Revisions
Comparing file revisions is a common task when working with versioned projects. The IDE enables you to compare revisions by using the Diff command, which is available from the right-click menu of a selected item (CVS > Diff), as well as from the Versioning window. In the Versioning window, you can perform diffs by either double-clicking a listed file, otherwise you can click the Diff All icon () located in the toolbar at the top.
When you perform a diff, a graphical Diff Viewer opens for the selected file(s) and revisions in the IDE's main window. The Diff Viewer displays two copies in side-by-side panels. The more current copy appears on the right side, so if you are comparing a repository revision against your working copy, the working copy displays in the right panel:
The Diff Viewer makes use of the same color encoding used elsewhere to display version control changes. In the screen capture displayed above, the green block indicates content that has been added to the more current revision. The red block indicates that content from the earlier revision has been removed from the later. Blue indicates that changes have occurred within the highlighted line(s).
Also, when performing a diff on a group of files, such as on a project, package, or folder, or when clicking Diff All (), you can switch between diffs by clicking files listed in the upper region of the Diff Viewer.
The Diff Viewer also provides you with the following functionality:
Make Changes to your Local Working Copy
If you are performing a diff on your local working copy, the IDE enables you to make changes directly from within the Diff Viewer. To do so, you can either place your cursor within the right pane of the Diff Viewer and modify your file accordingly, otherwise make use of the inline icons that display adjacent to each highlighted change:
Navigate among Differences between Compared Files
If your diff contains multiple differences, you can navigate among them by using the arrow icons displayed in the toolbar. The arrow icons enable you to view differences as they appear from top to bottom:
Change Viewing Criteria
You can choose whether to view files containing changes from the local working copy, the repository, as well as both simultaneously:
Merging File Revisions
NetBeans IDE enables you to merge changes made on different branches of the repository with your local working copy. Using the CVS Merge dialog, you need only specify criteria indicating which repository sources you want merged with your working copy.
The following simple use-case demonstrates how you can apply the Merge dialog to merge a complete branch into the trunk's head:
Note: After merging file changes from a branch to your local working directory, you must still commit changes using the Commit command in order to add them to the repository.
Committing Sources to a Repository
After making changes to sources, you commit them to the repository. It is generally a good idea to update any copies you have against the repository prior to performing a commit in order to ensure that conflicts do not arise. Conflicts can occur however, and should be thought of as a natural event when numerous developers are working on a project simultaneously. The IDE provides flexible support that enables you to perform all of these functions. It also provides a Conflict Resolver which allows you to safely deal with any conflicts as they occur.
Updating Local Copies
You can perform updates by choosing CVS > Update from the right-click menu of any versioned item in the Projects, Files, or Favorites windows. When working directly from the Versioning window, you need only right-click a listed file and choose Update.
To perform an update on sources that you have modified, you can click the Update All icon (), which displays in the toolbars located at the top of both the Versioning Window, as well as the Diff Viewer. Any changes that may have occurred in the repository are displayed in the Versioning Output window.
When you perform an update or a commit, the IDE's CVS support compares your files with repository sources to make sure that other changes have not already occurred in the same locations. When your previous checkout (or update) no longer matches the repository HEAD (i.e., most current revision), and the changes that you applied to your local working copy coincide with areas in the HEAD that have also changed, your update or commit results in a conflict.
As indicated in Badges and Color Coding, conflicts are displayed in the IDE with red text and are accompanied by a red badge () when viewed in the Projects, Files, or Favorites windows. When working in the Versioning window, conflicts are also indicated by a file's status:
Any conflicts that arise must be resolved before you commit files to the repository. You can resolve conflicts in the IDE using the Merge Conflicts Resolver. The Merge Conflicts Resolver provides an intuitive interface that enables you to address individual conflicts sequentially while viewing merged output as you make changes. You can access the Merge Conflicts Resolver on a file that is in conflict by right-clicking that file and choosing CVS > Resolve Conflicts.
The Merge Conflicts Resolver displays the two conflicting revisions side-by-side in the top pane, with the conflicting areas highlighted. The lower pane depicts the file as it appears while merges for individual conflicts between the two revisions occur:
You resolve a conflict by accepting one of the two revisions displayed in the top pane. Click the Accept button of the revision you want to accept. The IDE merges the accepted revision with the source file, and you can immediately see the results of the merge in the bottom pane of the Merge Conflicts Resolver. Once all conflicts are resolved, click OK to exit the Merge Conflicts Resolver and save the modified file. The conflict badge is removed and you can now commit the modified file to the repository.
Performing the Commit
After editing source files, performing an update and resolving any conflicts, you commit files from your local working copy to the repository. The IDE enables you to call the commit command in the following ways:
The Commit dialog opens, displaying files that are about to be committed to the repository:
The Commit dialog lists:
From the Commit dialog, it is possible to specify whether to exclude individual files from the commit. To do so, click the Commit Action column of a selected file and choose Exclude from Commit from the drop-down list.
When new binary files are included, such as image files, they are automatically detected as binary files. You can specify the MIME type of a file by choosing Add as Binary or Add as Text from the drop-down list within the Commit Action column.
To perform the commit:
This concludes the Guided Tour of CVS for the NetBeans IDE. This document demonstrated how to perform basic versioning tasks in the IDE by guiding you through the standard workflow when using the IDE's CVS support. It has shown how to set up a versioned project and perform basic tasks on versioned files while introducing you to some of the new CVS features included in the IDE.
For related documents, see the following resources: