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How do I merge 2 code branches (3rd party updates)?

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Last Modified: 2013-11-25
I bought the source code to a commercial product and have modified the code with my own changes. I am hoping for a good update strategy in the future when the software vendor has a new version out.

If I do a bunch of updates, and the software vendor does a bunch of updates, then how do I merge them together when the software vendor comes out with a new version?

I do not have source control set up yet, but I am thinking of using SVN with TortoiseSVN and even VisualSVN. I have used Visual Studio Team Foundation in the past, but it is overkill in this situation.

Any help on what my strategy should be to make software vendor updates as painless as possible to merge with my own code branch?
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Commented:
SVN is a good tool.
Read "Common Use-Cases for Merging"
http://svnbook.red-bean.com/en/1.0/ch04s03.html#svn-ch-4-sect-3.2
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