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In TPC in Glasgow I released App::ccdiff, which - in short - will more clearly shows horizontal diff as well as vertical diff.

That might look like (with all verbosity on) like this screenshot

$ ccdiff -u0m --ascii termc* 5,5c5,5 - + + ^ 40,41c40,41 - :Va=\E[0m:Vc=\E[0;33m:Ve=\E[0;4m:Vg=\E[0;4;36m:\ - ^ - :Vi=\E[0;37;41m:Vk=\E[0;1;33;41m:Vo=\E[0;1;36;41;4m:cQ=\E?25I: - ^ ^ ^ ^ + :Va=\E[0m:Vc=\E[0;36m:Ve=\E[0;4m:Vg=\E[0;4;36m:\ + ^ + :Vi=\E[0;37;44m:Vk=\E[0;1;37;44m:Vo=\E[0;1;36;44;4m:cQ=\E?25I: + ^ ^ ^ ^

This works fine for the purpose it is written for: find tiny changes with more ease.

It however makes no sense if chunk shows a change of 4 lines to 24 lines with a completely different content, in which case you just want to see the chunk as lines-deleted + lines-added, with no markers to the changed characters in there, as that would mean that almost every character will be marked.

As I currently see it, there are multiple approaches to the fallback of the current behavior to a normal diff report:

  • If the number of lines mismatch
    If the removed chunk has n lines and the added chunk has n x lines and the user can define x, the horizontal diff is invoked, otherwise it will fallback to normal diff-like behavior. A default of 2 seems reasonable.
  • If the percentage of changed characters is over x%, where the user can specify x
    If the percentage of changed characters in a chunk (all characters marked as removed or added compared to those that did not change) is over x%, fallback to normal diff-like behavior. A default of 40% seems reasonable.

It is possible to implement both and allow both at the same time.

  1. Did I state the problem well enough?
  2. Do these options make sense?
  3. Do the defaults make sense?
  4. Do you envision other options (that you would use)?

Before I start coding/changing, I'd like opinions on how you would use it and/or expect it to use, in order to raise DWIM behavior

Enjoy, Have FUN! H.Merijn

In reply to When not to use subdiff by Tux

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