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Re: Xdelta and CVS

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: Re: Xdelta and CVS
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001 14:32:33 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Thursday, April 19, 2001 at 09:23:34 (-0500), David H. Thornley wrote: ]
> Subject: Re: Xdelta and CVS
> CVS uses diff in different ways.  One is to keep the revision 
> history files relatively small, and one is to merge changes.
> I looked at the web pages to see if there was some Xdelta
> correspondence to diff3, and apparently I'd have to go to
> Sourceforge, which is down at the moment.  If Xdelta can
> create binary diffs and apply them to other files, in order
> to merge changes, and these merges result in something
> useful enough times to make the capability worth having, then
> it would seem to me to be an extension of the CVS philosophy.

As I understand it the more recent versions of Xdelta do indeed have the
ability to do three-way merges.  Some of the research also seems to
indicate that Xdelta is just as successful at computing deltas of, and
merging, text files as it is with the traditional text diff algorithm.
However one of the problems is in how to represent conflicts in the
resulting merges in a way that's easy to resolve with a text editor (at
least in the case of text files.  I've not actually seen this happen so
I'm not sure how the Xdelta tools manage at the moment.  It would seem
that a visual merge tool would be required to do the edits in all cases
(which of course opens up the possibility of having data structure
dependent merging tools).

Certianly the Xdelta algorithm has been used to great success in rsync.

Whether it makes a mark in any new versioning tools beyond PRCS is yet
to be seen....

                                                        Greg A. Woods

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