君子务本 (It is upon the Trunk that a gentleman works.)

 
  --Confucius

Branching and merging are fundamental aspects of version control, simple enough to explain conceptually but offering just enough complexity and nuance to merit their own chapter in this book. Herein, we'll introduce you to the general ideas behind these operations as well as Subversion's somewhat unique approach to them. If you've not familiarized yourself with Subversion's basic concepts (found in Chapter 1, Fundamental Concepts), we recommmend that you do so before reading this chapter.