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Re: [subversion-dev] I/O filters and scripts.

From: Karl Fogel <kfogel_at_galois.collab.net>
Date: 2000-06-15 17:09:45 CEST

David Soergel <lorax@lorax.org> writes:
> One major feature that I'd very much like to see in Subversion is the
> idea of input & output filters.

Yup!

There is a generic client-side plugin mechanism for just such things.

-K

> Shap and Zack have already mentioned a few benefits of this (6/5,
> 6/6), e.g. line feed canonicalization and variable expansion. I
> think there is much to be gained from a more general filtering
> mechanism, though.
>
> In particular, I would like to be able to separate the syntax and
> semantics of code from its aesthetic presentation. That is, I'd like
> to run a prettyprinter to canonicalize formatting on every checkin,
> so that purely aesthetic changes have no effect in the repository.
> Also, I'd like to run a (perhaps different) prettyprinter on
> checkout. I know that some people won't want to do this at all, so I
> want to emphasize that I'm suggesting an _option_.
>
> This has many benefits:
>
> 1. No need to store diffs of code where only whitespace has changed;
> no need to read diffs cluttered with such changes. Presently, if I
> have a badly formatted file in CVS, run a prettyprinter on it, and
> check it in, then it's impossible to run meaningful diffs between
> revisions before vs. after that event--every line in the file may
> have changed!
>
> 2. Different developers may have different style preferences. I run
> up against this a lot because my preferred java style is apparently
> anathema to most everyone else. I don't want to change my style, nor
> do I want to impose it on others. Having an automatic client-side
> prettyprinter lets everyone transparently edit the same code with
> their own aesthetic preferences.
>
> 3. Similarly, different repositories in a hierarchy or mirroring
> relationship may have different code formatting policies, conformance
> with which should be automated as the code propagates around.
>
> 4. Different stylings are appropriate for different contexts. An
> emailed patch should be hard-wrapped to 74 chars, and indented with
> spaces; but I don't want to be constrained to that in my working copy
> just for the sake of nice emails.
>
> There are also some serious drawbacks:
>
> 1. Line numbers no longer refer to specific parts of the file. As
> long as you're debugging or diffing on files that all participate in
> the same convention, you're OK; but a different positioning system
> would have to be used for patches/deltas, e.g. "number of
> non-whitespace characters" or such. That's not good enough,
> actually, because some characters are used for aesthetics and may be
> introduced or removed by prettyprinters (for example, some
> conventions place a * character at the beginning of every line in a
> multi-line /* */ comment; others don't).
>
> 2. Diffs may become difficult in some circumstances. Obviously,
> line-oriented diffs must be done always between files that have been
> formatted in the same way. If I want to do a basic diff, there's no
> problem, because the "clean" files in the SVN directory should be
> saved in my local format as part of the checkout process. If I want
> to diff against an old revision, though, I'll have to download the
> old revision, format it, and then diff. Subversion appears to do all
> diffs in the client anyway, so this is probably OK too. Better,
> though, would be to do character-level diffs using a
> format-independent position as mentioned above.
>
>
> While my examples naturally involve code, it's also important that
> canonicalizing filters could in principle be useful for all kinds of
> file formats containing all kinds of data. For instance, I might
> have an svn repository of engineering drawings, where I want enforce
> the usage of metric units; in this case an input filter could
> recognize and convert values given in english units. OK, perhaps
> this is a silly example, but you get the point.
>
> This whole idea is strongly related to the "smart merges" of section 7.2.3.
>
> The question remains whether the filters should run on the server or
> on the client. I think the answer is "whichever machine is receiving
> data". That is, the server should be responsible for canonicalizing
> the contents of the repository, and this should be transparent to the
> client; and the client should control prettyprinting on checkout with
> local preferences, with no involvement of the server.
>
>
> OK, now I'll go even further off into blue-sky speculation :) and
> suggest that the filtering/scripting system should support messaging
> between the server and the client, e.g. so that the client can invoke
> actions on the server. For instance, if I keep my web site in SVN,
> I'd like to be able to publish it by sending a message from the
> client to invoke a checkout to the appropriate directory. Similarly,
> when writing servlets, I might want to remotely invoke a
> "checkout/compile/restart-servlet-engine" cycle, perhaps even
> automatically on checkin. This is also important in the case of
> heirarchical repositories, as mentioned in section 7.2.5; I'd like to
> be able to say "OK, my working repository version is good now, so
> check it in (check it up?) to the public repository". Such remote
> script invocations would have to take account of the permissions
> system, of course. We can already do this independently of svn, with
> rexec/rsh/ssh, just making svn calls as necessary. Existing
> solutions aren't fully cross-platform, though. There's something
> appealing about having a "check up" dialog integrated in a Mac or
> Java GUI svn client.
>
> To return to my suggestion that everything be XML-based, I'll further
> point out that the scripting system could be very similar to, if not
> directly based on, Ant.
>
> -ds
>
> ________________________________________________________________________
> David Soergel .oooO Oooo. "Music and Living----"
> 123 Forest View ( ) ( ) "The same thing," said Pooh.
> Woodside, CA 94062 \ ( ) / lorax@lorax.org
> (650) 303-5324 \_) (_/ http://www.lorax.org
> ________________________________________________________________________
Received on Sat Oct 21 14:36:05 2006

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