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RE: merge mode for XML

From: Greg A. Woods
Subject: RE: merge mode for XML
Date: Tue, 30 Apr 2002 13:08:33 -0400 (EDT)

[ On Monday, April 29, 2002 at 08:31:24 (+0200), Peter Ring wrote: ]
> Subject: RE: merge mode for XML

I sort of agree with the logic of the arguments for SGML and its
derrivatives, but I find the rhetoric about it being "the only choice
because it's the best there is" (something I've heard whined about for
nearly two decades now) to be nor more than self-serving, at best.

As for source code beautification issues w.r.t. XML, well those are no
different than when dealing with any kind of source code primarily
written and edited with an integrated IDE.....

> There are, BTW, XML diff tools. See e.g.:
> The first one can be used as merge tool. The other ones can produce a
> XML diff file that -- given a proper XML patch utility -- can update one
> one XML file to become the other one.

Well with CVS there's always the choice of manually re-doing every
merge.  You don't have to use CVS to do merges and diffs -- it'll
happily store your files with text-based (i.e. newline separated) diffs
and you can use the better format-specific tools to view deltas and do
merges as you wish.  Obviously a front-end wrapper to CVS that
integrates these tools would be helpful, but it's not strictly necessary
(unless your users are less than clueless :-).

For instance PCL-CVS, the emacs front-end to CVS, allows one to re-do
merges with ediff.  I don't know if ediff could be extended to use
external diff tools (and also perhaps alternate merge tools), or not,
but that may be the best way for users with immediate needs to proceed.
(I.e. even if you're not an emacs user, treat emacs as an application
framework and use emacs+PCL-CVS+ediff as a stand-alone CVS interface.)

> There are, to the best of my knowledge, no freely available stand-alone
> SGML diff tools. Some editors, e.g. ArborText Epic, can do a very nice
> compare.

Would not a full stand-alone SGML diff tool be required to understand
the DTD in order to do a proper job of knowing just how different tagged
elements relate to each other in order to know whether or not they have
to be included in any delta or merge?

                                                                Greg A. Woods

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