VS2003 Web App Project and Subversion

Wow, this problem took way too long to track down. I was creating a build script for a legacy VS2003 Web App project. It is being migrated from Perforce and given an official build script. The command line build was failing. When I opened the solution in the VS2003 IDE, I was plagued with the following dialog:

Microsoft Development Environment
Refreshing the project failed. Unable to retrieve folder information from the server.

I tried a number of different things. One thing I suspected was maybe IIS was having a problem with the NTFS permissions since my virtual directory was pointing to a different drive. It lead me to a cool post on expert’s exchange which gave instructions on how to use this cool open source utility SetACL to copy permissions from one folder to another. Using robocopy /copyall doesn’t copy inherited permissions, but SetACL can. It wasn’t a permissions problem, but I’m sure I’ll need SetACL at some point.

Googling the erorr message yields advice to delete your C:\Documents and Settings\(username)\VSWebCache folder. This isn’t bad advice, but didn’t solve my particular problem. It turns out VS2003 Web projects don’t like folders that begin with a dot. Subversion by default litters every source controlled directory with hidden .svn folders. Subversion has a FAQ topic about this problem. To make subversion use _svn folders intead of .svn folders, set an environment variable named SVN_ASP_DOT_NET_HACK to any value. You may also want to enable this option in TortoiseSVN.

Very annoying problem solved.

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