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Re: svn diff branch woprking copy against mainline?

Joe Buck wrote:
On Wed, Nov 02, 2005 at 06:28:42PM -0500, Daniel Berlin wrote:
On Wed, 2005-11-02 at 14:33 -0800, Mike Stump wrote:
On Nov 2, 2005, at 2:18 PM, Joern RENNECKE wrote:
I tried:
bash-2.05b$ svn diff svn+ssh:// gcc/trunk/gcc/

But that gives me an error message:

svn: Target lists to diff may not contain both working copy paths and URLs
This works for us:

svn diff --old svn+ssh:// gcc/file.c --new file.c

for example.

svn needs to go on a long command line diet,
However, it *does* need some way to differentiate between url->url,
url->wc, and wc->url commands, so even if there was an SVNROOT, you'd
still have to specify it on the command lines :)

It certainly seems that --old and --new are redundant.
I suggest a search in

Also, you could
consider stealing some ideas from Perforce, where the command would be
something like

p4 diff file.c@gcc_4_0_1_release file.c

and the RCS figures out how to map the label to the repository version.
Basically, the # and @ characters are special; # is used to introduce
a revision number (the global revision number), and a number of things
can follow @, like a label, or a date.
This seems to be a common misconception. The important thing to remember here is that there is no separate namespace for labels and branches in SVN, and that the layout of the repository is arbitrary. IOW, the fact that you have branches in /branches is a convention, not something imposed by the SVN server.

With the above in mind, your p4 example would translate to something like this:

svn diff file.c@branches/gcc_4_0_1_release file.c

(not that this would work, for reasons discussed to death in the dev@subversion archives).

Now suppose your file.c is trunk/somdir/file.c. How is Subversion supposed to translate from


to the intuitively correct path in the repo, which is

branches/gcc_4_0_1_release/somedir/file.c ?

It can't, because it doesn't know that trunk is special.

Now, as of not too long ago we can teach the svn client to expand the repository root; your example would become (assuming your working copy is on trunk, and assuming % expands to the repos root):

svn diff --old %/branches/gcc_4_0_1_release/somedir/file.c --new file.c

I suppose that's a bit better, although I admit it's not ideal.

However, before coming up with a zillion suggestions about how to make the syntax nicer, please do consider the idea that we did put a lot of thought into the diff syntax, and that covering all the uses and edge cases and is not easy. I'll be the first to admit that the current syntax sucks, but it works -- as opposed to most proposed (and many once implemented, now defunct...) forms that usually break down in the most trivial cases.

Telling the SVN devs to "change the diff syntax like /this/" is a bit like telling the GCC devs to "just add this extension to g++". We all know what the response to /that/ usually is. :)

-- Brane

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