8. Editing

The state of each file in the client is tracked and saved on the server. In order to avoid collisions from multiple people working on the same file at once, Perforce tracks which files are opened for edit, and uses this to help with submit, sync, and integration operations later on.

To open a file for editing, use p4 edit like so:

% p4 edit filename

This marks the file on the server as being in the edit state, which then allows it to be submitted after changes are made, or marks it for special handling when doing an integration or sync operation. Note that editing is not exclusive in Perforce. Multiple people can have the same file in the edit state (you will be informed of others when you run edit), and you can submit your changes even when others are still editing the file.

When someone else submits a change to a file that you are editing, you will need to resolve his changes with yours before your submit will succeed. The easiest way to do this is to either run a p4 sync or p4 submit and let it fail with the conflict, then run p4 resolve to manually resolve and accept his changes into your copy, then run p4 submit to commit your changes to the repository.

If you have a file open for edit and you want to throw away your changes and revert it to its original state, run p4 revert like so:

% p4 revert filename

This resyncs the file to the contents of the server, and removes the edit attribute from the server. Any local changes that you had will be lost. This is quite useful when you have a made changes to a file but later decide that you do not want to keep them.

When a file is synced, it is marked read-only in the filesystem. When you tell the server to open it for editing, it is changed to read-write on the filesystem. While these permissions can easily be overridden by hand, they are meant to gently remind you that you should being using p4 edit. Files that have local changes but are not in the edit state may get overwritten when doing a p4 sync.

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