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You can open any previous version in RH7 and continue working.
Can't help you on the version control. RH comes with its own version control and obviously it works with that.
The only limitation is that, once you've opened a project in RH7, you can't go back to X5. The upconversion changes a lot of stuff that X5 won't recognize.
Usually it has been possible to open a later version in an earlier version by using the HHP file. As Kathy says, X5 will not recognise the new features but in the past it could always be a safety net as long as you avoided those features.
Curiosity made me try do that with a RH7 project into X5. I found that when you click File | Exit or the Windows X button, X5 crashes.
There are additional files created for RH7. In time it may be possible to track down what causes the crash but that's for another day. It looks like the only way back would be to import topics back into X5 My quick test suggests that if those topics contain some of the code for the new features, that too could cause X5 to crash.
So until someone has the time to dig deeper, make sure you back up the X5 project. That said, do remember we are just talking about IF you have to go back. Check your upgraded project before going on to far and you should be OK.
You can probably keep doing what you've been doing with Subversion and the third-party tools. As far as I know, RH 7 has not been advertised to integrate with any version control besides its own. We found problems with having the output folder checked into SVN, so I have to output to another folder that isn't under source control and then copy them over into the source controlled folder. But that's probably why you're using third-party software to manage that.
Can't help with the version control, but here's my take on something I did in the last couple of weeks.
I was using X5 and backed up a copy of the old X5 project before opening it (read: upgrading) to RH7.
With that said, I had a new project my client wanted me to do. So since I had the trial version on my computer I started it in 7. Due to the trial expiring and issue of the license not being finalized, I reinstalled X5 and opened my newly created RH7 project (after making a back up copy) in X5. And guess what?
It came in seamlessly...almost.
Everything that X5 did not recoginze was highlighted in red. Via the WYSIWYG view I simply clicked on the red items and deleted it. It works like a charm. I've had not issues whatsoever.
Luckily, this was still a small project. Not sure I would have considered doing this in a bigger project, but it kept me moving forward and not busting a deadline due to the slowness of the ordering process.
How exactly did you open the project in X5. I found that whilst the project opened, it crashed on closing. It maybe because you had removed RH7 and reinstalled X5 that it worked for you. That is what I am trying to establish.