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Parseable output: --xml option for more commands

From: Julian Foad <julianfoad_at_btopenworld.com>
Date: 2005-01-14 14:50:04 CET

Our command-line output is supposed to be machine-parseable as well as
human-readable, but almost inevitably it fails to some degree. XML output is
available for "svn log", and this seems to be the best way of providing
parseable output. People have been requesting parseable output especially from
"svn status" and "svn list", perhaps the most frequent complaint being that the
user name is truncated.

The commands for which an XML output option would be appropriate are those
whose purpose is to give information, excluding those that give exactly one
piece of information like "svn cat". I propose to add an XML output option
(--xml) to the following commands:

+ svn status

+ svn list

+ svn blame

If we start down this road, do we continue with the other information-retrieval
commands, and eventually also with the progress output of action commands like
"commit"? No, I don't think so. The end of the road is not very clearly
defined, but I think it is appropriate to extend XML support from "log" to a
few more information-retrieval commands, and not to the action commands. To
briefly consider the other possible information commands:

+ svn proplist: quite likely yes, later.

+ svn propget --recursive: quite likely yes, later.

+ svn info: already parseable but XML might be convenient.

+ svn version: already has "--quiet" for parseable minimal info. Probably no
great need for the rest of the information.

+ svn help: would be fun and logical, but no perceived need from general users.
  Useful for some developer tasks like checking whether the descriptions in the
book agree with the lists of options given by "help".

+ svn diff: mostly has its own parseable format. Deficiencies form a big topic
to be discussed separately.

+ svn log: already done.

As a next step I will propose XML formats for "status", "list" and "blame".

- Julian

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Received on Fri Jan 14 14:51:42 2005

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