Introducing Subversion (SVN) Into Your Team

Here’s a listing of items that may be of challenge when introducing it to a team who has no previous SVN experience. Version control is a rewarding experience, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be wondering how you lived without it.

1.  (Most) everyone using SCM for the first time. Have to be familiar with:
  a.  Subversion concepts
    i. Terminology
    ii. Best practices
  b. Tools:
    i. Tortoise Concepts
    ii. Subclipse (Programmers)
  c.  Quirks
    i. Sometimes the icon overlay won’t show in Explorer
    ii. Thumbs.db file can make the status of the directory misleading
    iii. Updating code in MacOSX’s finder can corrupt the SVN metadata 
         because a native SVN shell (e.g. Tortoise) isn’t being used.
  d. Troubleshooting (I sent out a list of 10+ SVN issues and how to 
    i. What do you do when you get this type of error?
  e. Undoing the way things were done before an SCM tool was used
2.  SVN Performance
  a.  Performance of the SVN repository is dependent on use
    i. If programmer-A does intensive SVN operations, like checkouts, it 
       slows down operations for everyone else – programmer B has to 
       sometimes up to 20 minutes to view the revisions of 1 file. 
  b. Performance of SVN client is dependent on network
3.  Development Workflow between all members  
4.  Deployment to STAGING + PRODUCTION
  a.  A better process for deploying to STAGING:
    i. If a change set that has to be deployed to STAGING is small 
       (e.g. <10 files under 1 folder), it can be done manually, which 
       takes seconds.
    ii. If a change set is large (10 files, however, dispersed 
        throughout a code base), gets more error prone (done by hand) 
        and is better done through automation.

Send A File Path from the Windows Context Menu to App

Here’s an easy way to pass the file path to a console app. I needed a way to right click on a folder or a file, and send the path to a console app, where the app does its thing with the file(s).

To show you what I mean:

When I right-click on “coolbeans” it runs the following console app, which simply displays the path:

The C# app is pretty straightforward. Basically, once you have the file path, you can apply any operations on the file.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Text;
namespace dan_rocks
  class Program
    static void Main(string[] args)

So there’s nothing crazy going on in the above sample. You basically just have to add a few entries to the Registry.

If you want to pass a folder path when you right-click on it, and select the option in the context menu, create a new entry:


If you want to pass in a file, do the following:


Let’s pass in the filepath to note.exe:

Do that and you’ll see the following:

Testing Database Import Scripts with Snapshots

Can’t stress enough how handy database snapshots (compatible only in Enterprise and Developer editions of SQL Server 2005+) come in when testing bulk imports, data scrubbing, or any sort of data / schema modification script. In nearly no time, I can create a snapshot (via shortcut snippet), run my script – don’t like the results? My script crapped out the data? I can run an instant undo by recovering from the snapshot, which works pretty fast. If I want to create another snapshot, I usually tend to overwrite the snapshot I created, and then create it again.

It’s so handy that I have a snippet for it:

Anywhoot, here’s how you create a snapshot:

CREATE DATABASE YourDatabase_snap ON         -- Name of new snapshot
  NAME = yourdb_data,                        -- Logical filename of source db you want to snapshot
  FILENAME = 'c:\'  -- Sparse file to create
AS SNAPSHOT OF YourDatabase;                 -- Source db name
USE master;
RESTORE DATABASE YourDatabase                    -- Source db name where the data resided
FROM DATABASE_SNAPSHOT = 'YourDatabase_snap';    -- Snapshot db name

Deleting a snapshot is just like dropping a database.

DROP DATABASE YourDatabase_Snap

Fast Delete

I needed to delete 30,000 files that took about 60 GB. I know traditionally it takes forever to delete it in Windows. Even using the “del” command in the console, it’s always been slow for me. Enter Robocopy. I never gave it a chance until today. The way it can delete is by syncing directory against an empty one which was just what I needed. It was able to do it in about 50 seconds. Awesome.

You’ll have to download Robocopy as part of the Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.

What I used to delete this big directory:

robocopy /MIR c:\empty-directory c:\my-files-to-delete

Using Winrar from the Command Line

Winrar is a great tool used for compressing files. It also has a command line tool called “rar.exe” to compress files, in case you want to batch it up. Here’s an example of the most common switches I use.

"C:\Program Files\WinRAR\rar.exe" a -m5 -r -ep1 "C:\temp\Work\Upgrades\2010-02-06\111.rar" "C:\temp\Work\Upgrades\2010-02-06\Post-Upgrade\"

First path is the location of the rar file to create. The second path is either the location of the file(s) or directory to compress.

options used
  -ep1  Exclude base directory from names
  a     Add files to archive
  -r    Recurse subdirectories (will compress entire directories)
  -m5   Set compression level to maximum

You can even assign a password to it using the -p switch

Console2 Alternative to CMD

You know what, I tried PowerShell and I guess I never got used to it. I’ve been using DOS for the longest time that I prefer its simplicity when navigating through files. As far as scripting with it – forget it – it’s very cryptic and limiting, not to mention awkward. That’s why for scripting now I’m using Python. Nonetheless though, I sometimes need a playing field to run the scripts for, or running console utilities. That’s where Console2 comes in.

Console2 is a great tool that provides tabbing (you can tab through multiple consoles) and several ways to customize the UI. Here’s an example:

I prefer this configuration:

How I Have It Setup

Download Console2:

I have the Console2 open up when I hit CTR+\ via AutoHotkey. Here’s the snippet for this to happen in AutoHotkey. I have this run when Window starts (it must stay in memory).

^\::Run C:\dan-local\dos-win\Console.exe

Change the CMD prompt by creating a PROMPT system variable:

Download the Console2 Config File

Other Tips

Good tip about command console = CTRL+I
can select files in the current directory, kinda like autofill-in
you can also put in parts of the file and it autoputs it for you

Rename tab

New Tab with default transparency

New Tab with lighter transparency

Switch to NEXT adjacent tab

Switch to Previous adjacent tab

Goes to the tab instance. To make it easier, it’s best if you rename your tabs,


So for example,

1.Batch File
2.wget list
3.ftp the files

Get Latest File

In my last post, I made a quick script that checks for the date. It was very limiting, since it used the dir command. This one uses several date/time Python modules and is more capable.

import os, os.path, stat, time
from datetime import date, timedelta, datetime
# Reference
def getFileDate( filenamePath ):    
  used = os.stat( filenamePath ).st_mtime      
  year, day, month, hour, minute, second = time.localtime(used)[:6]
  objDateTime = datetime(year, day, month, hour, minute, second)
  return objDateTime
  # Ways to reference this DateTime Object
  # objDateTime.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %I:%M %p")
  # objDateTime.year
  # objDateTime.month
def isDaysOldFromNow( filenamepath, days ):
  # Checks how old a file is. Is it older than "days" [variable] days?
  inTimeRange = False  
  timeDeltaDiff = ( filenamepath ) ).days
  # Check if the file's date is days old or less:
  if ( timeDeltaDiff >= days ):
    inTimeRange = True  
  return inTimeRange
fname = "C:/temp/decision2.pdf"  
# Set this variable to check if the file is this days old
howOld = 3
if ( isDaysOldFromNow( fname, howOld ) ):
  print fname, "is more than", howOld, "days old"
  print fname, "is NOT more than", howOld, "days old"


Compress and Move Log Files

Sometimes log files bog a system down. For one of our servers, I made this little Python script that compresses (via WinRAR) the log files in a directory, and then moves them to a backup location. The only little catch is that I wanted to leave the latest log files for in that directory. Log files are created daily, so the the latest log files have a datestamp of today. Here’s how I did it.

First Create the Python Script:

import os
import datetime
dateStamp  ="%Y-%m-%d") 
imsLogPath = 'd:\\LogFiles\\'                     
# Don't use a mapped drive but use UNC for network drives. Task Schedule seems to choke when it calls Python.
newRARPath = '"\\\\\\Root\\backups\\' + dateStamp + '.rar"'
rarPath    = '"C:\\Program Files\\WinRAR\\rar.exe" a -m5 ' + newRARPath 
# Get Latest Files
smtpLatest   = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "SMTP*.log").read().splitlines()[-1]
postLatest   = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "POST*.log").read().splitlines()[-1]
ischedLatest = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "iSched*.log").read().splitlines()[-1]
relayLatest  = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "Relay*.log").read().splitlines()[-1]
qengLatest   = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "Qeng*.log").read().splitlines()[-1]
# Get List of All Files
allFiles     = os.popen(r"dir /od /a-d /b " + imsLogPath + "*.log").read().splitlines()
# Remove Latest Files from All Files List
allFiles.remove( smtpLatest )
allFiles.remove( postLatest )
allFiles.remove( ischedLatest )
allFiles.remove( relayLatest )
allFiles.remove( qengLatest )
# allFiles Array Has the list of files
# Flatten Array allFiles to be used as a parameter in system command
flatLogPathList = ""
for filenameWithPath in allFiles:
  flatLogPathList = flatLogPathList + imsLogPath + filenameWithPath + " "
# Execute WinRar
path = rarPath + " " + flatLogPathList.rstrip()
os.system( '"' + path + '"' )
# Delete all log files
os.system( '"del ' + flatLogPathList.rstrip() + '"' )

Then I set up the Scheduled Task:

With these Settings:

Convert Minutes to Hours

I often use both Winamp and my iPhone to listen to music. These two, unfortunately, show the time differently in the songs. Winamp displays the time in minutes (mm) while the iPhone does it hour/minutes (hh:mm). Here’s a quick little script I whipped together because I’m too lazy to do this in my head, especially for audio books where an audio book can be over 500 minutes, and I need to convert to iPhone time because I want to continue listening where I had just left off on Winamp.

use POSIX qw(ceil floor); # used for the floor function
sub GetToken {
  # @_ = flatten args list from an array
  # @_[0] = first argument
  $data      = @_[0];
  $delimiter = @_[1];
  $token     = @_[2] - 1;
  @tokens_array = split($delimiter, $data);   
  return @tokens_array[$token]; 
sub chr_conver_min {  
  if (length(@_[0]) == 1) {
    return "0".@_[0];
  else {
    return @_[0];
sub iphone_time_convert {
  # converts winamp time to iphone - winamp stores time only in minutes.  
  # @_[0]   =  winamp_time, e.g. 124:34
  # $hour   = floor($winamp_time/60);
  # $minute = $winamp_time % 60;
  $winamp_hour_min = GetToken(@_[0], ":", 1);  
  $winamp_seconds  = GetToken(@_[0], ":", 2);  
  return floor($winamp_hour_min/60).":".chr_conver_min( ($winamp_hour_min % 60) ).":".$winamp_seconds;
sub winamp_time_convert {  
  # converts iphone time to winamp  
  # @_[0] = iphone_time, e.g. 3:43:34    
  $iphone_hour     = GetToken(@_[0], ":", 1);  
  $iphone_min      = GetToken(@_[0], ":", 2);    
  $iphone_seconds  = GetToken(@_[0], ":", 3);
  return (($iphone_hour * 60) + $iphone_min).":".$iphone_seconds;
sub show_help {
  print "\nDisplays the conversion of time between winamp and iPhone.\n\n";
  print "   winamptime [-w2i|-i2p] [mm:ss][hh:mm:ss]\n\n";
  print "Example to convert winamp time to iPhone: \n\n";
  print "   winamptime -w2i 212:41\n\n";
  print "Example to convert iPhone time to winamp, seconds being optional: \n\n";
  print "   winamptime -i2w 2:31:41\n";
  print "   winamptime -i2w 2:31\n\n";
# Optimize this:
if( $ARGV[0] eq "-w2i" ) 
  # winamp to iphone time
  if ( length($ARGV[1]) > 0 ) {
    print "iPhone Time: ".iphone_time_convert( $ARGV[1] )."\n";
elsif( $ARGV[0] eq "-i2w" ) 
  # iphone to winamp time
  if ( length($ARGV[1]) > 0 ) {
    print "Winamp Time: ".winamp_time_convert( $ARGV[1] )."\n";