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From Alexander Bolodurin <>
Subject Resolving replication conflicts for deleted documents in CouchDB
Date Thu, 25 Oct 2012 00:29:41 GMT

(I have asked this at StackOverflow, but, unsurprisingly, the question didn't get much attention.)

I'm designing replication conflict handling for a system, and one of its assumptions is that
deletion always takes precedence when resolving conflicts: a deleted documents stays deleted
regardless of what edits it conflicts with, IDs are not reused.

The "official" way of resolving replication conflicts (read conflicting revisions, merge in
the application code, delete unwanted revisions) is not applicable to deleted documents. If
a document is edited on instance 1, and deleted on instance 2, after replication both instances
get the revision from 1. Because only one leaf revision is alive, the document ends up "undeleted",
and without conflicts. The other revision ends up in _deleted_conflicts field, instead of
_conflicts, but I can't use _deleted_conflicts as a cue that a document was deleted, because
it includes deleted revisions from resolving edit conflicts and documents that were deleted
and then re-added, so it's too general and conflates several cases.

How can I get around this at the CouchDB level? Moving it up the application layer gets really
hairy really quickly as now I have to have my custom "deleted" flag, rewrite my views, test
more code and have extra batch jobs to clean up records marked for delete.

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