2008-02-29

New use for subversion

Have you ever been in the situation where you need to figure out exactly how some legacy software works? I have too, a couple of times. This time I was trying to make a build server for some old Delphi stuff, when I suddenly realized that much of the hard work could be simplified considerably by using version control together with vmware workstation. So I thought it might be worth sharing.

Here's what I did:

  1. Installed xp on a virtual machine.
  2. Checked the Borland\Delphi folder from program files into a subversion repo on my physical machine.
  3. Installed cygwin and did a ls -laR>>somefile.txt from windows/system32, and checked the file into subversion.
  4. Exported each of the root branches from the windows registry to text files and checked them into the repository.

Now, for each upgrade I do, I can just check the new files into the repo, save a snapshot of the virtual machine and continue. If something goes wrong, rewind the virtual machine and try something else.

By having the registry dumped to text files I can at least use a good diff tool to see what each update has changed.

Hope this helps someone else, cause I wish somebody had told me this a couple of years ago.

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