[OT] VCS for non-text (was Development tools and practices for Pythonistas)

Tim Chase python.list at tim.thechases.com
Sat Apr 30 16:18:10 CEST 2011

On 04/30/2011 04:15 AM, Martin Schöön wrote:
> You guys are very code focused, which is natural given where we are.
> Having absorbed what I have seen here, looked a little at Mercurial,
> read a little on the webs of Fossil and Bazaar I start to think there
> is great merit in all this VCS stuff for other types of projects.
> At work my projects contain very little coding (some Python, some
> matlab/scilab perhaps) but a fair amount of CAD/CAE, written
> reports, presentations (OpenOffice and that other Office),
> spread sheets etc etc. A mixture of ascii-files and various
> proprietary formats most of which is stored in binary form.
> Some of the CAE-work generate pretty big files stored
> in dynamically created subdirectories.

For non-text blobs, it takes a little bit of insight to get the 
most out of them.  For OpenDocument (Open/Libre Office 
documents), they're zipped files containing text/XML which can be 
diff'ed with more meaning.  Usually there are custom filters for 
git[1], Mercurial[2] and Bazaar[3] which will unpack the zipped 
file contents before committing and give you more sensible diffs. 
  Likewise, for images (gif/jpg/tiff/raw/etc), there are 
particular image-diff programs which make it easier to tell what 
happened, as the textual diff of binary files is pretty useless. 
  However some images (such as .svg files) are XML/text inside, 
and diff pretty nicely without extra effort.

I can't speak to CAD/CAE, but it would have to be addressed on a 
per-format basis in your given VCS.  That said, you *can* store 
the binary blobs in each, it's just not as useful without 
meaningful comparisons.





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