On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 7:02 PM, Chanoch (Ken) Bloom <kbl...@gmail.com>wrote:

> On Mon, 2009-04-20 at 11:59 +0530, Rustom Mody wrote:
> > On Mon, Apr 20, 2009 at 2:04 AM, Chanoch (Ken) Bloom <kbl...@gmail.com
> >wrote:
> >
> > > On Sun, 2009-04-19 at 16:40 +0200, W. Kaplan wrote:
> > > > Hi all,
> > > >
> > > > I just recently started giving version control systems another go.
> I'm a
> > > > humanities grad student and not a programmer, so I assume that my
> needs
> > > > are a little different from those for which these tools were written.
> > > > However, the same applies for managing your whole home directory, so
> I
> > > > think this list is a good place to ask for opinions.
> > >
> > > Keep in mind that if you have merge conflicts in your office files,
> > > whether OpenOffice or MS Word, git and other version control systems
> are
> > > much less likely to be able to do something sensible about merging
> them.
> > > The reason we programmers can make it work is because we use text files
> > > for everything. (Our source code is text files, our configuration files
> > > are text files, our scholarly papers are written in LaTeX...).
> > >
> >
> > From Odt article on wikipedia:
> >
> > A basic OpenDocument file consists of an
> > XML<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XML>document that has
> > <document> as its root element. OpenDocument files can also take the
> format
> > of a ZIP <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZIP_%28file_format%29> compressed
> > archive containing a number of files and directories; these can contain
> > binary content and benefit from ZIP's lossless
> > compression<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lossless_compression>to
> > reduce file size. OpenDocument benefits from separation
> > of concerns <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_concerns> by
> > separating the content, styles, metadata and application settings into
> four
> > separate XML files.
> >
> > Thanks to this push, good-ol MS has moved (unwillingly?) from doc (for
> which
> > your comments above are correct) to docx that is similarly at core xml
> and
> > hence text.
> >
> > >
> > > I don't expect any other synchronization system can reconcile these
> > > files any better though.
> >
> >
> > This true today.  And merging XML is not identical to merging program
> > sources.  But is much closer to it than arbitrary binry data
>
> Though I've uncompressed .odt files myself to get at the XML inside,
> I've never seen one of these in the wild that wasn't ZIP-compressed, so
> as far as version control systems are concerned it's still binary data.
> (I'm not even sure how the format would keep the four separate XML files
> together if they weren't zip compressed, so maybe the Wikipedia article
> is wrong or unclear.)
>
>  Obviously one would need some kind of plugin (on/in the vcs) that
tmp-unzips the odt before doing vcs-ish things like merge.
Presenting the xml-diffs as human readable diffs would likewise need to go
through an xml-aware diff-er like diffxml
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