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[merge tracking] Problems with merge info availability and merge interface

From: Daniel Rall <dlr_at_collab.net>
Date: 2006-08-10 19:50:12 CEST

While working on implementing the merge tracking design, we've run
across a few areas where the design and the existing system aren't
great fits. I've outlined a few of them below -- some Words of Wisdom
on how to proceed would be welcome.

Note: The most complete solution to many of these problems is to keep
a full, sync'd copy of all merge info in both WC and repository.
Considering that this would move Subversion from a centralized
repository towards a more distributed system, this is not something we
want to pursue (at least, not at this time). [1]

The complete TODO list of outstanding problems and tasks is tracked

WC -> WC copy/move operations
Such operations are important for refactoring tools (e.g. Eclipse,
IDEA, etc.). Retaining support for operations offline is quite useful
in this regard (as you can still run'em on the train, when your
repository is down, etc.).

Preserving offline operation is difficult without replicating merge
info to the client's WC, and keeping that merge info sync'd with the
repository. Usually, the client must contact the repository to get
the merge info -- both explicit/inherited, and reflected from all
revisions of the copy source at its current path -- it needs for the
parents of the copy source in order to have the complete information
that needs to be written about the children. The formula's something

  dest merge info = src merge info + revs of src at path

We need to use this formula on the client side because subsequent
merges may change the merge info for the destination path before a
commit to the repository can set the merge info reflected by the
copy's source path.

If the the copy source has no merge info, and the destination path is
a direct parent of the source path, then we don't need to move any
merge info (since it will still be gotten from the same parent), but
we still need to do history tracing to find the oldest revision at
which the copy source has been at its current path, so that it can be
included in the merge info for the destination.

This is not a correctness issue, but rather one of maintaining
disconnected operation in the face of merge info.

URL -> URL -> WC merge operations (merge test #19)
A useful operation which takes the difference between URL1@rX and
URL2@rY, and applies the delta between those trees to a WC.

The operation currently comes down as one big text delta between the
files. We can't tell what revs it actually contains, nor how they
relate to the WC's merge info. Because of this, we can't calculate
which portions of the delta to apply, and which to filter out (because
they're already represented by our WC).

We can preserve the existing behavior without using merge info (as a
worst case), but this is rather at odds with the goal of introducing
merge tracking, so we'd like to do something better.

One option is to send the target paths, plus any WC merge info
changes, to the repository when procuring the editor, and let the
editor filter out the merges which are already represented by the WC.

WC notifications from a merge operation
These notifications are received as callbacks indicating that an
interesting action has occurred on a path.

For merge tracking purposes, (at least) skips and conflicts must be
handled, both of which affect merge info set on the WC as the result
of a merge. Conflicts may also involve entering a conflict resolution
mode, or necessitate only partial application of the requested merge
range to conflicted files.

Notifications of all types generate output. Merging a set of revision
ranges in a loop may cause multiple notifications for a single WC
item. This is a rather large difference from existing command-line
client output (and libsvn_client API behavior).

This is not a problem so much as question of what we want to do from
an interface perspective.

[1] While we could explore the option of sync'ing mergeinfo between WC
and repository, comparision to other VC systems suggests that this
would likely require additional restrictions on WCs (e.g. no separable
WCs unless we have one merge info DB for each directory, which would
be horrendous), and quite a bit of work. It would be difficult to
make such a change in behavior compatible with previous versions of

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Received on Thu Aug 10 19:51:58 2006

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