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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: Open Office Help Wanted
Date Wed, 13 Jul 2011 15:47:07 GMT
On Wed, Jul 13, 2011 at 4:33 PM, Harold Fennell
<> wrote:
> I would like to know more about:
> external diff and merge tools for Subversion that can process ODF documents
> Do you have other teams working on this problem, what is the expected timeframe, any
helpful hints on completion, and is the a tool that integrates into Subversion or into open

No one currently working on it.  The general problem is tools like
SVN, that work admirably with text files, have limitations with what
it considers to be opaque binary files:

1) Cannot do an effective diff, meaning the commit notifications are
not as useful to reviewers of the commits.

2) No effective way of doing branching and merging

One possible solution is to note that SVN has the capability to invoke
external diff and merge (diff3) tools [1].  In theory something like
this could be written for ODF documents.

At one end of the scale, one could do a diff of the embedded XML's
directly, e.g., diff the content.xml, the styles,xml, etc. and present
that as a normal text diff.  But some editors, for performance
reasons, write the XML files out all in one line.  A diff app would
probably want to do a canonical "pretty print" of the XML before
diff'ing in order to give something presentable to the user.

At the other end, you could imagine a WYSIWYG diff, akin to what OOo
shows when change tracking is invoked.  You could imagine, for
example, a diff3 mode for OpenOffice itself, where three files are
passed on the command line and a change tracked version of the doc is
created.   But that does not work so well for our commit
notifications, where we would typically want plain text diffs.



> Thank you for your time.
> Harold
> Harold Fennell
> PO Box 3046
> North Fort Myers, FL 33918

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