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Re: [Arx-users] ArX and simplicity

From: Kevin Smith
Subject: Re: [Arx-users] ArX and simplicity
Date: Sun, 01 May 2005 16:57:22 -0400
User-agent: Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0.2 (X11/20050325)

Walter Landry wrote:
> Kevin Smith <address@hidden> wrote:
>>The whole concept of an archive having a "name" that is different from
>>its location seems somewhat odd, actually.
> Archives can move or be mirrored.  It should be easy to treat those
> copies as the same thing as the original.  Symbolic names give you that.

Hm. I'm not sure how that actually adds real-world value. But then I
haven't used the advanced features of ArX. And might never, since I
mostly work on small, simple projects.

>>>The solution to the first problem is to make the use of archive names
>>>much more implicit.  One possiblity would be to get rid of the default
>>>archive and instead use the archive of whatever project tree we are
>>This is an area of ArX that I don't yet understand. More explanation
>>would be helpful.
> I am confused about what you are confused about ;)

You mentioned "default archive". That's a per-user setting, right? Then
you say that we could use the archive of whatever project tree we are
in. I hadn't thought it through to know that each tree *has* an archive,
but it makes sense that it does. In which case, why would it ever make
sense to use the default archive if you are already in a tree? The only
time I can see for using the default archive is if you're not in a tree
when you give the command.

So I guess I wasn't actually confused about ArX until you wrote that :-)

> With hashes for archive names, the only restriction would be that they
> are not exactly 64 characters long.  However, prefixing with a colon
> would disambiguate it from a branch name.

My proposal was to allow aliases NOW, rather than waiting until archives
use hashes. It's a highly valuable feature, even if slightly crippled
such as by requiring a prefix character.

>>>The colon ":" is already used to determine whether we are looking at a
>>>url (http://foo/bar) or an archive name (address@hidden).
>>Hmmm. Maybe reserving some other character would be worthwhile (comma,
>>ampersand, number sign, whatever). Or using the colon and preventing
>>archive names that are also protocol names (file, http, https, etc).
> How about the pound sign "#"?  It is already used in URL's to refer to
> an internal part of a web page.  This would just be extending it to
> refer to an internal part of an archive.

Sounds fine.

> However, I don't think that using a different character will really
> solve the problem.  The real problem is that you can type 
>   arx browse foo
> and you don't know whether you meant "foo" to be an archive or branch.
> Using a different separator won't help, because you forgot to put it
> there in any case.

Maybe this will all become clear to me when I read the newly-revised
documentation. I just remember being very frustrated trying to do
"browse", "get", and "merge" commands and getting vague error messages
back. Then, when I discoverd that foo and foo/ refer to two completely
different things, I freaked out. That's the main thing I think needs to
be solved.

On an esthetic level, I don't like that a/b/c.d,e is really parsed as
[a/b][c.d,e]. It just looks like c is part of a/b/c.

> Some commands are recursive, so they can take an archive, a branch, or
> a revision.  "browse", "update-listing", and "mirror" are some.  Using
> something like the -A argument, where you are then not allowed to
> specify the archive with the branch, might work.  So browse would be
>   arx browse -A archive branch.subbranch,revision

I definitely don't like this. I was thinking more like:

arx browse archive/branch.subbranch,revision

arx browse -A archive


arx browse archive

arx browse -B archive/branch

Not sure if that makes any sense, but it's what I was thinking.


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