[darcs-users] [issue1883] It's too easy to mix up --patch-name and --patch in some commands

Eric Kow kowey at darcs.net
Thu Jul 1 01:24:58 UTC 2010

Hi Jason and darcs-users,

Potential discussion ahead, redirecting from tracker.

On Wed, Jun 30, 2010 at 23:53:01 +0000, Jason Dagit wrote:
> It's hard to look at --patch-name and --patch and tell how they are 
> different.  Each is documented in the help/manual adequately, but a good UI 
> would not present them together (as with amend-record), without giving them 
> names that help differentiate them.

> The fact that a user was confused enough to take the time to write a bug 
> report and then several devs looked at the report before catching the 
> confusion points to the depth of the confusion, especially for new users.

That's a nice big-picture reaction to issue1778 and assessment of the
problem.  Good catch.

> So, my proposal is a renaming of these options (yes, that makes it an icky 
> UI change) in order to prevent this sort of confusion.  If they couldn't be 
> passed to a command at the same time it would be less of an issue.

I'm not against changing the user interface, but I'd like to raise a few

> Example new names:
> --set-patch-name and --patch-name-matching
> --new-patch-name and --find-patch-name
> --set-name and --name-matching
> --set-name and --find-named
> etc.
> There should probably be some consensus on the best new names.  For reaching 
> consensus, I propose making a list of 6, or so, alternatives and then 
> holding a closed-ended multiple choice poll.  Then using the top voted 
> option.

Surprisingly, looking deeper into the issue reveals a potentially easier
patch forward.  Basically, I propose that

  --patch-name (-m) be renamed to --set-patch-name (-m)

Observations are:

 * there is --match option (which fortunately appears never to be tied to -m)
 * depending on the kind of matchers different command have, there is actually
   a different --match (eg. amend-record) and --matches (eg. changes) flag 
 * the current --patch retains a nice symmetry with the above (--patch when
   --match and --patches when --matches)
 * BELIEF: nobody actually uses the long form of -m (--patch-name) or -p (--patch)
 * BELIEF: changing the short names would be quite disruptive and not very beneficial

So I think we can get away with just changing --patch-name to --set-patch-name
and doing it fast with little need for deliberation.


Eric Kow <http://www.nltg.brighton.ac.uk/home/Eric.Kow>
PGP Key ID: 08AC04F9
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