Team and linked resources

A project may contain resources that are not located within the project's directory in the local file system. These resources are referred to as linked resources.

Consequences for Repository Providers

Linked resources can pose particular challenges for repository providers which operate directly against the file system. This is a consequence of the fact that linked resources by design do not exist in the immediate project directory tree in the file system.

Providers which exhibit the following characteristics may be affected by linked resources:

  1. Those which call out to an external program that then operates directly against the file system.
  2. Those which are implemented in terms of IResource but assume that all the files/folders in a project exist as direct descendents of that single rooted directory tree.

In the first case, lets assume the user picks a linked resource and tries to perform a provider operation on it. Since the provider calls a command line client, we can assume that the provider does something equivalent to first calling IResource.getLocation().toOSString(), feeding the resulting file system location as an argument to the command line program. If the resource in question is a linked resource, this will yield a file/folder outside of the project directory tree. Not all command line clients may expect and be able to handle this case. In short, if your provider ever gets the file system location of a resource, it will likely require extra work to handle linked resources.

The second case is quite similar in that there is an implicit assumption that the structure of the project resources is 1:1 with that of the file system files/folders. In general, a provider could be in trouble if they mix IResource and operations. For example, for links, the parent of IFile is not the same as the's parent and code which assumes these to be the same will fail.

Backwards Compatibility

It was important that the introduction of linked resources did not inadvertently break existing providers. Specifically, the concern was for providers that reasonably assumed that the local file system structure mirrored the project structure. Consequently, by default linked resources can not be added to projects that are mapped to such a provider. Additionally, projects that contain linked resources can not by default be shared with that provider.

Strategies for Handling Linked Resources

In order to be "link friendly", a provider should allow projects with linked resources to be version controlled, but can disallow the version controlling of linked resources themselves.

A considerably more complex solution would be to allow the versioning of the actual linked resources, but this should be discouraged since it brings with it complex scenarios (e.g. the file may already be version controlled under a different project tree by another provider). Our recommendation therefore is to support version controlled projects which contain non-version controlled linked resources.

Technical Details for Being "Link Friendly"

Repository provider implementations can be upgraded to support linked resources by overriding the RepositoryProvider.canHandleLinkedResourceURI() method to return true. Once this is done, linked resources will be allowed to exist in projects shared with that repository provider. However, the repository provider must take steps to ensure that linked resources are handled properly. As mentioned above, it is strongly suggested that repository providers ignore all linked resources. This means that linked resources (and their children) should be excluded from the actions supported by the repository provider. Furthermore, the repository provider should use the default move and delete behavior for linked resources if the repository provider implementation overrides the default IMoveDeleteHook.

Team providers can use IResource.isLinked(IResource.CHECK_ANCESTORS) to determine if a resource is a link or is the descendant of a link.

Repository providers should ignore any resource for which the above code evaluates to true.