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[ 2006-July-04 17:23 ]

When I am modifying software in a fairly significant way, I generally first hack out a working version, and then clean it up to produce a minimal set of changes to submit to the original author. In cases where there are a number of logically independent chunks, I like to submit the changes in separate chunks. At other times, I have some experimental changes which should not be submitted. I recently discovered a really great visual diff program that makes my life easier for these job: Meld. With it, my workflow is approximately the following:

  1. Hack out an initial version, not worrying about how "clean" my changes are.
  2. Create a new, unmodified copy of the source tree.
  3. Use Meld to selectively merge a subset of the changes into the clean tree.
  4. Test the clean version and submit it.

I used to essentially do this process manually, with the help of diff and patch. I never thought I needed a graphical diff program until I played with meld. I still like to read unified diffs in plain text, but for certain tasks Meld is a much better way to do things.