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svn response when EDITOR not set

From: Bruce DeVisser <BDEVISSE_at_mdrobotics.ca>
Date: 2003-01-06 18:55:39 CET

This is not a huge issue, but it is worth mentioning, I think. I've
searched the issues and find nothing similar.

Environment: Windows 2000; svn using a local respository (file:///
URL); EDITOR environment variable unset; using both zsh and DOS
shells; svn, version 0.16.0 (r3987) compiled Dec 5 2002, 00:02:51

The command 'svn ci b.txt' returns the following:
svn: Invalid argument
svn: Commit failed (details follow):
svn: Non-ascii character (code 139) detected, and unable to convert to UTF-8.

If this is not a symptom of a parsing bug, the error message is
somewhat cryptic:
- it doesn't report that svn has looked for an editor environment
  variable and come up empty
- it reports that an argument is invalid, when in fact:
  - the syntax is fine _if_ $EDITOR is valid
  - the arguments that are there are valid; this case is more one of a
    missing argument.
- (note that b.txt is a very short text file containing no unusual
  characters, and diff works fine; the problem is not in the file)

It would be better to have svn report that no message or editor was
specified. True, 'svn help ci' says 'Be sure to use one of -m or -F to
send a log message'; but:
- it is not given as a requirement in the 'usage' line (perhaps
  rightly so, since it is not necessary when EDITOR is set)
- it is not clear that the meaning of the hint is anything different
  from 'Be sure to use one of -m or -F to specify a log message from
  the command line.' (An alternative would be to word the help: 'Usage
  of -m or -F is mandatory if no editor has been specified.')

A former CVS user expects to be prompted, and, if not, redirected
helpfully to correct his input. Instead, the cryptic message throws
him off the track, giving a negative experience to the very people you
most want to embrace Subversion (CVS users), and perhaps helping to
alienate others.


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Received on Mon Jan 6 18:56:50 2003

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