I'm trying to get more rigorous about my process for deploying Drupal sites across development and production servers. In particular, I'm experimenting with pulling the site from my SVN repository into a directory on the server and flipping a symlink to point the server to the updated site. This makes sense to me, but I'm not sure how to handle the sites/default/files folder -- it's not in the repository created by the development process since those files are produced by the production users, and the directories inside this folder have different permissions than the default 0755 that I'm getting from doing the export.
So, what to do here? My current guess is that sites/default/files should be physically moved out of the site directory and then symlinked back in, but wanted to check with others with more experience in this. A related question is whether there are other files or directories in a Drupal installation that would need to have their permissions updated after an svn-based installation like this. sites/default/settings.php comes to mind, for instance. Anyway, is there any advice out there? Thanks!