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Re: merging changes....

From: Kaz Kylheku
Subject: Re: merging changes....
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 12:27:31 -0700 (PDT)

On Wed, 28 May 2003, Greg A. Woods wrote:

> [ On Wednesday, May 28, 2003 at 08:57:59 (-0700), Kaz Kylheku wrote: ]
> > The only reason for not doing so is the psychological barrier created
> > by an awkward manual system.
> Nope, that's not the problem AT ALL.  NOT ONE BIT.
> What people need to learn is the difference between "merging changes"
> and the different levels of assistance any one given tool can provide
> for merging of changes.  No merge tool can ever guarantee 100% perfect
> merges unless it is as smart as the whole programming team combined, as
> well as having the specific skills of the compiler parser.

Lower and lower levels of assistance create increasingly tall
psychological barriers.

> Coding style (code layout, naming conventions, etc.) is by FAR the most
> important factor affecting the ease of merging with any tool using
> diff/patch to merge changes.

It's only an important factor when it's missing. When you achieve good
layout, conventions and so forth, then what was previously the second
most important factor affecting the ease of merging becomes the number
one factor.

> Programmer incompentency is the biggest psychological barrier to
> merging. Anyone hung up on how to use their tools is already heading
> down the wrong path and must backtrack to learn the basic skills of how
> to copy changes from one place to another and how to resolve inherent
> conflicts before they'll ever be able to successfully use any tool to
> assist them in making merges easier.

I have the skills already to compensate for the lack of assistance from
the tools. I just don't want to exercise those skills, because it is
boring and mundane to do so. 

Laziness, not stupidity, is the psychological barrier---the natural
resistance against doing something tedious that ought to be done by the

I enjoy doing something manually only as a means to discover the
algorithm. Once I have a ``script'' for doing it, I'm no longer
interested in serving as the machine for executing that script.

> So long as good coding style is enforced for a project any well trained
> programmer will be able to select and merge changes with ease even with
> the most primitive of tools.

Indeed, after spending a lot of time and keystrokes. The most effecting
training method for that is the extraction of brain tissue from the
frontal lobe.

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