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Re: New diff syntax? (see issue #1142)

From: Ben Collins-Sussman <sussman_at_collab.net>
Date: 2003-05-19 16:55:39 CEST

Philip Martin <philip@codematters.co.uk> writes:

> I really would like to know if the reason for the change is because
> people changed their minds or because a different group of people
> could be bothered to speak up. Was it experience with the old
> interface? Were the arguments more convincing this time?

I implemented the first UI for 'svn diff'. It was a messy problem,
and cmpilato, kfogel and I designed the UI on a whiteboard. A driving
force behind the original UI was kfogel's insistence that

   svn diff tgt1 tgt2 tgt3 tgt4 ...

...be the "primary" use case, used to display local mods on a long
list of targets. This was modeled after the CVS UI.

I honestly don't remember the arguments on the list that ensued after
that. :-(

But I think there were many reasons that made us want to backtrack and
change the interface:

  1. kfogel, my, and other's realization that in practice, that
     "primary use case" didn't seem to be so common. (I, for one,
     just run 'svn diff' on entire directories.)

  2. noticing that many newbies repeatedly expect 'svn diff foo.c
     bar.c' to diff the two objects. It's a constant source of

  3. noticing that the current UI makes it impossible to diff an
     arbitrary wc file against an arbitrary repos file (issue #1142)

Philip, if you made these arguments a year ago, then I think we owe
you an apology. Perhaps we needed a big head-whack of empiricism
before seeing the light. :-)

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Received on Mon May 19 16:57:05 2003

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