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Re: [RFC] 'basic/additional command set' - adding svn subcommands without destroying our learning curve

From: Julian Foad <julianfoad_at_btopenworld.com>
Date: 2005-11-03 16:19:47 CET

Max Bowsher wrote:
> To break the deadlock between the opposing motivations of 'keep svn
> simple', and 'add useful utilities', I'd like to propose that we
> introduce the notion of a basic and an additional command set.
> Practically, all this means is splitting commands between `svn --help`
> and `svn --help-additional`, and dividing our documentation of commands
> in the same way.

My feeling is that categorising commands in any way is very tricky. As others
have said, the categories need to be clearly defined and easily understood. A
split between "basic" and "additional" has no real meaning that I can discern;
something more meaningful like "uses wc only", "uses repos only", and "uses wc
and repos" has a better chance (though that idea is probably too complex
because many commands overlap multiple categories).

It would be valuable to look for precedents in other software, and discuss
whether the approaches chosen seem to work.

I feel it would be very helpful for our basic "svn help" output to categorise
the commands and give information about them, as has been proposed before. (I
don't find an alphabetical listing to be of much help.) This might go a long
way toward making the command set easier to learn even if all of the commands
are listed. In fact, this is only a slight variant on your suggestion; whether
to provide help commands that only display a sub-set of the information is then
a secondary question. The basic difference in what I am suggesting here is
that we need not assume that the "lesser" commands need to be hidden, either in
the help or in their invocation syntax, as long as the "most wanted" commands
are easily identifiable in the help.

- Julian

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Received on Thu Nov 3 16:20:59 2005

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