There is a difference how svn cat works for deleted files. For deleted file commandline `svn cat -r xxx <full_url>` will give error, but 'svn cat <full_url>@xxx` will cat file from the past.
Unfortunately this method will not cat deleted file.
(PECL svn >= 0.1.0)
svn_cat — Returns the contents of a file in a repository
Returns the contents of the URL
a file in the repository, optionally at revision number
String URL path to item in a repository.
Integer revision number of item to retrieve, default is the HEAD revision.
Returns the string contents of the item from the repository on
FALSE on failure.
This function is EXPERIMENTAL. The behaviour of this function, its name, and surrounding documentation may change without notice in a future release of PHP. This function should be used at your own risk.
Example #1 Basic example
This example retrieves the contents of a file at revision 28:
$contents = svn_cat('http://www.example.com/svnroot/calc/gui.c', 28)