Subject: Re: pkgsrc DragonFly 1.3.7-DEVELOPMENT/i386 bulk build results 2005-12-18
To: Thomas Klausner <>
From: Alistair Crooks <>
List: pkgsrc-bulk
Date: 12/21/2005 12:10:43
On Tue, Dec 20, 2005 at 06:36:02PM +0100, Thomas Klausner wrote:
> On Sun, Dec 18, 2005 at 10:45:48PM +0000, Alistair Crooks wrote:
> > I don't know if it's just me, but I *much* preferred the old diff-style
> > to the horrible unified diff. I don't get a good idea of what's changed
> > here, the textual context is not necessary, and, IMO, hides information.
> > My eyes have to scroll up and down above to find the columns to compare.
> Actually, there is not more context than before, only "<>" -> "-+";
> however, I additionally removed the @@ markers. I'm having second
> thoughts about that part, so I re-added them, take a look at the
> latest bulk build diffs, I think they are readable.

We're getting into human factors here, so some points to consider:

1. the original diff author (Doug McIlroy?) could have used "+-" but
chose "><" for a reason

2. the visual difference between '>' and '<' is much greater than
that of '+' and '-', making >< changes much more visually
obvious at a glance. In addition, there is very little visual
difference between the '+' and '-' characters, leading to
much more concentration needed to differentiate old from new.

3. unified diffs were designed to keep context, but compress the
amount of text in the resultant diff (I believe I read that
somewhere, I could be wrong). In these examples, context
does not help information dissemination - it hinders it.

I must go and re-read my "Design of Everyday Things" and all
those gorgeous Tofte books.

Just leave the format as it is - I think I'm the only one who
has trouble with this kind of thing.