SVN update on Wikimedia sites, questions on branching

I’ve got MediaWiki on the live Wikimedia sites all up to date at r43514 now.

We’d been updating some extensions individually over the last couple weeks, but full updates were held back as general code review got a little behind during the lead-up to the fundraiser and our staff meeting last week… I’m hoping to get us on a regular weekly update schedule, probably Tuesdays since my experience is that Mondays end up totally unproductive. :)

I did have to pull back the Special:Search redesign for the moment; it’s looking *awesome* but has a few glitches still, which I’m hoping we can resolve before putting it live.

See my comments on issues I noticed in the revert.

I’m thinking we should start making more active use of branches for experimental/iterative development like this, where existing features in core are majorly refactored and need some iterations of testing before going live.

We try to keep our trunk code ready-to-run at all times, so when something in trunk is not quite ready yet we end up rolling it back (which requires tracking down multiple changes and reverting all of them) or else rushing fixes so we can get an update pushed out.

The SVN server was updated to 1.5 a while ago, which is apparently a little handier at branch merging, but branching still is kind of awkward in SVN. Any good recommendations on SVN-friendly DVCSs? I know some folks use SVK or a GIT-SVN bridge for doing various local development, but how easy is it to share a development branch among multiple developers over time this way?