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A simple (?) suggestion from a svn fan :)

From: Alessandro Polverini <polverini_at_nibbles.it>
Date: 2003-02-24 18:45:30 CET

Hello everybody,
first of all let me congratulate for your work, I'm new to svn but I'm
slowly adopting it as much as possible, and I find it impressive.

I'm trying to make it use in our development group instead of CVS but I
don't think it will be easy because we version a lot of binary files
(macromedia .FLA files for example) and we need "reserved edit" for them
to work well, I'll wait for the implementation of the "lock" command for
that :)

But I'm writing to propose/discuss a typical use case, at least in our
environment.

We keep in versioned repository a lot of openoffice documents, and, they
are treated as binary files.
So this means:
- we cannot see differences between different revisions
- a lot of space is used for each version since, no "diff" is possible
between revisions
- no merge is possible (and hence we have to use reserved edits here
too)

But in reality OOo files are not binary files, they are a single xml
(hence, text) file, but gzipped. The same is valid for a lot of other
file formats (for example gnumeric), since xml+gzip seems to become a
standard, at least in linux applications.

So, I'm wondering: would it be possible to implement this behaviour in
svn, when checking in files that have a certain property set:
- gunzip the file
- diff it with the previous (gunzipped) file
- store differences (diff works well enough with xml files)

and when updating or checking out, making the opposite.

That would work even better if it would be possible to use an "xml-diff"
instead of normal diff because of several factors like:
- possibility to correctly make diffs also if xml is not pretty printed
(e.g. all in one line)
- possibility to better understand differences (e.g.: a node/property
added/removed/modified) for better difference reporting

Ok, enough ranting :)
Do you consider this applicable or simply too much a
difficult/impracticable work to do?

Thanks everybody and keep up the excellent work!

Alex

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Received on Mon Feb 24 18:46:18 2003

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