[darcs-users] Re: 5 Year Old Bull in a China Shop

Mark Stosberg mark at summersault.com
Wed Mar 23 02:04:13 UTC 2005

On 2005-03-22, Michael G Schwern <schwern at pobox.com> wrote:
> There's a term for this, "exploratory interface".  Where the user is free to
> learn what something does by simply pushing buttons and watching what happens.
> Each control has obvious feeedback so they can learn by doing and each 
> operation is undoable so they can't truely screw anything up.  Most
> version control systems have the latter nature inherently.

I wouldn't say that version control systems inherently have an undo. I
was really tripped up by CVS at because there was no "undo".  If
I committed a patch or made a tag, it was there forever. 

I immediately made mistakes-- I committed files I didn't want under
version control, and make tags with horrible names. 

My solution for "undo" while I was learning was to nuke the CVS
repository for a project and start over. :) In CVS that's sort of scary,
because the server is this thing you are never supposed to need to
touch. It has it's communication protocol and seems a little magical. 

Darcs is less intimidating by simply storing things in a plainly visible
_darcs directory. 


This thread does suggest an idea about how we might organize "darcs
--help" better. I'm just thinking aloud here, but maybe it would be
useful to organize the commands according to how "safe" they are. 

We have:
 read only commands
 action commands
 dangerous commands (the ones that provide "undo").

That's certainly not the only useful categorization, and perhaps not the
best phrasing, but something to keep in mind.



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