difflib-like library supporting moved blocks detection?

Vlastimil Brom vlastimil.brom at gmail.com
Fri Jul 15 17:49:53 EDT 2011


2011/7/14 Chris Torek <nospam at torek.net>:
> In article <mailman.1002.1310591600.1164.python-list at python.org>
> Vlastimil Brom  <vlastimil.brom at gmail.com> wrote:
>>I'd like to ask about the availability of a text diff library, like
>>difflib, which would support the detection of moved text blocks.
>
> If you allow arbitrary moves, the "minimal edit distance" problem
> (string-to-string edit) becomes substantially harder.  If you only
> allow insert, delete, or in-place-substitute, you have what is
> called the "Levenshtein distance" case.  If you allow transpositions
> you get "Damerau-Levenshtein".  These are both solveable with a
> dynamic programming algorithm.  Once you allow move operations,
> though, the problem becomes NP-complete.
>
> See http://pages.cs.brandeis.edu/~shapird/publications/JDAmoves.pdf
> for instance.  (They give an algorithm that produces "usually
> acceptable" results in polynomial time.)
> --
> In-Real-Life: Chris Torek, Wind River Systems
>
>
Thanks for the references and explanation!
I do realise the added complexity with taking the moves into account;
given that, my current needs and the usually satisfying results
obtained easily with difflib, I am not going to try to implement some
more complex diffing algorithm.
However, it turns out that the mentioned naive approach with just
recomparing the text additions and removals may be partially viable -
with some luck, i.e. given, the relevant segments are identified as
deletions and inserts and isolated by difflib in the first place (and
not subsumed under larger changes or split).

For illustration, the rough simplified code is attached (sorry for the
style and possible quirks...)
Just now the more similar text segments are just collected, it would
be also possible to sort them on their similarity ratio; the current
approach also allows to highlight potentially multiple moved segments.

Comments and suggestions are, of course, welcome,
                        regards,
                             vbr

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #

#! Python
# -*- coding: utf-8 -*-

import difflib
import itertools

def compare_moves(a, b, similarity_threshold=0.6):
    """
    Poor man's text comparison with simple moves check. Compares two
strings using difflib
    and additionally tries to detect moved blocks
    by comparing similar deleted and inserted segments with each other
- given the similarity_threshold.
    """

    seq_matcher = difflib.SequenceMatcher(isjunk=None, a=a, b=b, autojunk=False)
    diff_raw = [[tag, i1, i2, j1, j2, a[i1:i2], b[j1:j2]] for tag, i1,
i2, j1, j2 in seq_matcher.get_opcodes()]

    deleted, inserted = {}, {}
    for tag, i1, i2, j1, j2 in seq_matcher.get_opcodes():
        if tag == 'delete':
            deleted[(i1, i2)] = [tag, i1, i2, j1, j2, a[i1:i2]]
        elif tag == 'insert':
            inserted[(i1, i2)] = [tag, i1, i2, j1, j2, b[j1:j2]]

    possibly_moved_blocks = []
    for deleted_item, inserted_item in
itertools.product(deleted.values(), inserted.values()):
        similarity_ratio = difflib.SequenceMatcher(isjunk=None,
a=deleted_item[5], b=inserted_item[5], autojunk=False).ratio()
        if similarity_ratio >= similarity_threshold:
            possibly_moved_blocks.append([deleted_item, inserted_item,
similarity_ratio])

    print diff_raw
    print possibly_moved_blocks


if __name__ == "__main__":
    compare_moves("abcXYZdeABfghijklmnopABBCq",
"ABCDabcdeACfgXYXZhijklmnopq", similarity_threshold = 0.6)

# # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # # #
# # # # # #
# output: #
[['insert', 0, 0, 0, 4, '', 'ABCD'], ['equal', 0, 3, 4, 7, 'abc',
'abc'], ['delete', 3, 6, 7, 7, 'XYZ', ''], ['equal', 6, 9, 7, 10,
'deA', 'deA'], ['replace', 9, 10, 10, 11, 'B', 'C'], ['equal', 10, 12,
11, 13, 'fg', 'fg'], ['insert', 12, 12, 13, 17, '', 'XYXZ'], ['equal',
12, 21, 17, 26, 'hijklmnop', 'hijklmnop'], ['delete', 21, 25, 26, 26,
'ABBC', ''], ['equal', 25, 26, 26, 27, 'q', 'q']]

[[['delete', 21, 25, 26, 26, 'ABBC'], ['insert', 0, 0, 0, 4, 'ABCD'],
0.75], [['delete', 3, 6, 7, 7, 'XYZ'], ['insert', 12, 12, 13, 17,
'XYXZ'], 0.8571428571428571]]
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: compare_moves.py
Type: application/octet-stream
Size: 1474 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <http://mail.python.org/pipermail/python-list/attachments/20110715/fe993130/attachment.obj>


More information about the Python-list mailing list