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Handling XML files specially in Subversion

From: Richard Beton <richard.beton_at_roke.co.uk>
Date: 2002-07-24 12:48:14 CEST

Hi All,

The Subversion docs describe the differences between text and binary
files (line end conversion and keyword expansion). There may be a third
type: XML. XML files are always text files, perhaps with a specified
encoding (see below), but their structured format means that two
canonically-identical XML documents can have different whitespace and

Has any thought been given to supporting XML documents intrinsically?
This would mean diff and merge would not be sensitive to whitespace when
dealing with XML. By this I mean that diff and merge would operate on
canonicalised representations of the XML, rather than treating XML as
just fancy text.

This might be quite hard to implement, but would give Subversion another
unique feature ahead of the pack!

Also note that XML files are always internationalized. They may have any
encoding as specified in the first line of the file, otherwise Unicode
is assumed, for which the UTF variant can be deduced. They always start
with "<?xml" (following the Unicode Byte Order Mark if present) so
recognising XML files (vs text or binary files) can be made automatic.
Subversion should support this too.

XML 1.0: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-xml

Rick :-)

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Received on Wed Jul 24 14:23:31 2002

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