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Re: Terminology for "revision keywords" and "expansion keywords" [was: [PATCH] #2219 canonicalized keyword and new UUID keyword documentation]

From: John Peacock <jpeacock_at_rowman.com>
Date: 2005-03-21 17:04:33 CET

Julian Foad wrote:
> I think "Revision keyword" is an adequate term for the concept of
> identifying certain revisions mnemonically.

I think that we, as developers, need to try very hard to to think like
users as much as possible, especially when writing documentation. I
suspect that most users new to revision control software are
experiencing Subversion primarily as mediated by a GUI. None of these
users is ever likely to utilize any of these "keywords" except as a
byproduct of clicking on "Revert" in their GUI.

For that matter, I have never consciously used any of these terms myself
(that I can recall); for retrieving previous versions from the
repository I am almost always using "revert" or a specific "-r" value.
I'm agreeing that, at times, these shortcuts are very valuable to have.
  I'm just saying I don't think they deserve the prominence they have
been given in the documentation. And I don't think their usage
justifies overloading an existing concept.

> The other concept is in-file expansion of metadata. This feature is
> activated by keywords and by a property named "svn:keywords", but
> neither "keywords" nor "svn:keywords" is the name of this feature. We
> need to give it a name (how about "Insertion of Version Control Data in
> Working Files,"?) and call it by its name more often until we have a
> good concise name for it.

Except that CVS was already referring to this exact same concept as
"keyword expansion" for many years (including the "CVS Book" by our very
own Karl Vogel). Why do we need a new term for the same concept in
Subversion, just to allow the "Revision keywords" term to stay?


p.s. I'd rather stop arguing about semantics and terminology and start
arguing about the patches I submitted, so that we can move forward to
eventually support user-defined keywords fully, and I am able to move on
with my life... ;-)

John Peacock
Director of Information Research and Technology
Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group
4501 Forbes Boulevard
Suite H
Lanham, MD  20706
301-459-3366 x.5010
fax 301-429-5748
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Received on Mon Mar 21 17:10:23 2005

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