[rfc-i] Two issues with draft-flanagan-plaintext-00

Ted Lemon mellon at fugue.com
Sun Jun 29 13:43:30 PDT 2014


On Jun 29, 2014, at 2:38 PM, Tim Bray <tbray at textuality.com> wrote:
> ​You know, I’ve been one of the louder voices in favor of more modern publishing formats, but I have to say I think the .txt is brilliant for diffs, and diffs are super-important.  Or am I missing something… Is there a good example of a diff using either XML or HTML?​

No, actually .txt is terrible for diffs, because it's so easy for a stupid difference algorithm to confuse two vaguely similar bits of text and wind up upchucking a huge diff that is completely useless.   We run into this very frequently with -bis document reviews in the IESG.

The advantage of diffing the XML is that you can do a better job of saying "this paragraph is the same paragraph as this paragraph" and then diff those paragraphs, because you can see the structure of the document, which is invisible to a text differ.



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