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RE: merge mode for XML

From: Peter Ring
Subject: RE: merge mode for XML
Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 00:04:39 +0200

I tried not to argue about the virtues of SGML/XML -- the fact
is that it there and any non-propriatary alternatives have
similar properties wrt. meaningful diffs (and thus merge).

My IDE for editing XML and SGML files is usually emacs+psgml.
I like the idea of extending PCL-CVS to invoke another diff
tool (but I'll probably not get around to exploring the idea).

SGML and XML files are really just serialized representations
of parse trees, infosets, and an infoset can be serialized in
many equivalent ways. So diff'ing XML and SGML alike need a
validating parser, i.e. one that uses a schema such as a DTD.
<rant>There's a class of simple XML documents that live and
die without getting near either a DTD or revision control.
Without a schema and accompanying documentation, there's no
way to tell the semantics of the XML document, and not much
point in version management.</rant>

kind regards
Peter Ring

-----Original Message-----
From: Greg A. Woods [mailto:address@hidden
Sent: 30. april 2002 19:09
To: Peter Ring
Cc: CVS-II Discussion Mailing List
Subject: RE: merge mode for XML

[ 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.....

<snip />

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

+1 416 218-0098;  <address@hidden>;  <address@hidden>;
Planix, Inc. <address@hidden>; VE3TCP; Secrets of the Weird

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