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git-range-diff(1)
=================

NAME
----
git-range-diff - Compare two commit ranges (e.g. two versions of a branch)

SYNOPSIS
--------
[verse]
'git range-diff' [--color=[<when>]] [--no-color] [<diff-options>]
	[--no-dual-color] [--creation-factor=<factor>]
	[--left-only | --right-only]
	( <range1> <range2> | <rev1>...<rev2> | <base> <rev1> <rev2> )

DESCRIPTION
-----------

This command shows the differences between two versions of a patch
series, or more generally, two commit ranges (ignoring merge commits).

To that end, it first finds pairs of commits from both commit ranges
that correspond with each other. Two commits are said to correspond when
the diff between their patches (i.e. the author information, the commit
message and the commit diff) is reasonably small compared to the
patches' size. See ``Algorithm`` below for details.

Finally, the list of matching commits is shown in the order of the
second commit range, with unmatched commits being inserted just after
all of their ancestors have been shown.

There are three ways to specify the commit ranges:

- `<range1> <range2>`: Either commit range can be of the form
  `<base>..<rev>`, `<rev>^!` or `<rev>^-<n>`. See `SPECIFYING RANGES`
  in linkgit:gitrevisions[7] for more details.

- `<rev1>...<rev2>`. This is equivalent to
  `<rev2>..<rev1> <rev1>..<rev2>`.

- `<base> <rev1> <rev2>`: This is equivalent to `<base>..<rev1>
  <base>..<rev2>`.

OPTIONS
-------
--no-dual-color::
	When the commit diffs differ, `git range-diff` recreates the
	coloring of the original diffs, and adds outer -/+ diff markers with
	the *background* being red/green to make it easier to see e.g.
	when there was a change in what exact lines were added.
+
Additionally, the commit diff lines that are only present in the first commit
range are shown "dimmed" (this can be overridden using the `color.diff.<slot>`
config setting where `<slot>` is one of `contextDimmed`, `oldDimmed` and
`newDimmed`), and the commit diff lines that are only present in the second
commit range are shown in bold (which can be overridden using the config
settings `color.diff.<slot>` with `<slot>` being one of `contextBold`,
`oldBold` or `newBold`).
+
This is known to `range-diff` as "dual coloring". Use `--no-dual-color`
to revert to color all lines according to the outer diff markers
(and completely ignore the inner diff when it comes to color).

--creation-factor=<percent>::
	Set the creation/deletion cost fudge factor to `<percent>`.
	Defaults to 60. Try a larger value if `git range-diff` erroneously
	considers a large change a total rewrite (deletion of one commit
	and addition of another), and a smaller one in the reverse case.
	See the ``Algorithm`` section below for an explanation why this is
	needed.

--left-only::
	Suppress commits that are missing from the first specified range
	(or the "left range" when using the `<rev1>...<rev2>` format).

--right-only::
	Suppress commits that are missing from the second specified range
	(or the "right range" when using the `<rev1>...<rev2>` format).

--[no-]notes[=<ref>]::
	This flag is passed to the `git log` program
	(see linkgit:git-log[1]) that generates the patches.

<range1> <range2>::
	Compare the commits specified by the two ranges, where
	`<range1>` is considered an older version of `<range2>`.

<rev1>...<rev2>::
	Equivalent to passing `<rev2>..<rev1>` and `<rev1>..<rev2>`.

<base> <rev1> <rev2>::
	Equivalent to passing `<base>..<rev1>` and `<base>..<rev2>`.
	Note that `<base>` does not need to be the exact branch point
	of the branches. Example: after rebasing a branch `my-topic`,
	`git range-diff my-topic@{u} my-topic@{1} my-topic` would
	show the differences introduced by the rebase.

`git range-diff` also accepts the regular diff options (see
linkgit:git-diff[1]), most notably the `--color=[<when>]` and
`--no-color` options. These options are used when generating the "diff
between patches", i.e. to compare the author, commit message and diff of
corresponding old/new commits. There is currently no means to tweak most of the
diff options passed to `git log` when generating those patches.

OUTPUT STABILITY
----------------

The output of the `range-diff` command is subject to change. It is
intended to be human-readable porcelain output, not something that can
be used across versions of Git to get a textually stable `range-diff`
(as opposed to something like the `--stable` option to
linkgit:git-patch-id[1]). There's also no equivalent of
linkgit:git-apply[1] for `range-diff`, the output is not intended to
be machine-readable.

This is particularly true when passing in diff options. Currently some
options like `--stat` can, as an emergent effect, produce output
that's quite useless in the context of `range-diff`. Future versions
of `range-diff` may learn to interpret such options in a manner
specific to `range-diff` (e.g. for `--stat` producing human-readable
output which summarizes how the diffstat changed).

CONFIGURATION
-------------
This command uses the `diff.color.*` and `pager.range-diff` settings
(the latter is on by default).
See linkgit:git-config[1].


EXAMPLES
--------

When a rebase required merge conflicts to be resolved, compare the changes
introduced by the rebase directly afterwards using:

------------
$ git range-diff @{u} @{1} @
------------


A typical output of `git range-diff` would look like this:

------------
-:  ------- > 1:  0ddba11 Prepare for the inevitable!
1:  c0debee = 2:  cab005e Add a helpful message at the start
2:  f00dbal ! 3:  decafe1 Describe a bug
    @@ -1,3 +1,3 @@
     Author: A U Thor <author@example.com>

    -TODO: Describe a bug
    +Describe a bug
    @@ -324,5 +324,6
      This is expected.

    -+What is unexpected is that it will also crash.
    ++Unexpectedly, it also crashes. This is a bug, and the jury is
    ++still out there how to fix it best. See ticket #314 for details.

      Contact
3:  bedead < -:  ------- TO-UNDO
------------

In this example, there are 3 old and 3 new commits, where the developer
removed the 3rd, added a new one before the first two, and modified the
commit message of the 2nd commit as well its diff.

When the output goes to a terminal, it is color-coded by default, just
like regular `git diff`'s output. In addition, the first line (adding a
commit) is green, the last line (deleting a commit) is red, the second
line (with a perfect match) is yellow like the commit header of `git
show`'s output, and the third line colors the old commit red, the new
one green and the rest like `git show`'s commit header.

A naive color-coded diff of diffs is actually a bit hard to read,
though, as it colors the entire lines red or green. The line that added
"What is unexpected" in the old commit, for example, is completely red,
even if the intent of the old commit was to add something.

To help with that, `range` uses the `--dual-color` mode by default. In
this mode, the diff of diffs will retain the original diff colors, and
prefix the lines with -/+ markers that have their *background* red or
green, to make it more obvious that they describe how the diff itself
changed.


Algorithm
---------

The general idea is this: we generate a cost matrix between the commits
in both commit ranges, then solve the least-cost assignment.

The cost matrix is populated thusly: for each pair of commits, both
diffs are generated and the "diff of diffs" is generated, with 3 context
lines, then the number of lines in that diff is used as cost.

To avoid false positives (e.g. when a patch has been removed, and an
unrelated patch has been added between two iterations of the same patch
series), the cost matrix is extended to allow for that, by adding
fixed-cost entries for wholesale deletes/adds.

Example: Let commits `1--2` be the first iteration of a patch series and
`A--C` the second iteration. Let's assume that `A` is a cherry-pick of
`2,` and `C` is a cherry-pick of `1` but with a small modification (say,
a fixed typo). Visualize the commits as a bipartite graph:

------------
    1            A

    2            B

		 C
------------

We are looking for a "best" explanation of the new series in terms of
the old one. We can represent an "explanation" as an edge in the graph:


------------
    1            A
	       /
    2 --------'  B

		 C
------------

This explanation comes for "free" because there was no change. Similarly
`C` could be explained using `1`, but that comes at some cost c>0
because of the modification:

------------
    1 ----.      A
	  |    /
    2 ----+---'  B
	  |
	  `----- C
	  c>0
------------

In mathematical terms, what we are looking for is some sort of a minimum
cost bipartite matching; `1` is matched to `C` at some cost, etc. The
underlying graph is in fact a complete bipartite graph; the cost we
associate with every edge is the size of the diff between the patches of
the two commits. To explain also new commits, we introduce dummy nodes
on both sides:

------------
    1 ----.      A
	  |    /
    2 ----+---'  B
	  |
    o     `----- C
	  c>0
    o            o

    o            o
------------

The cost of an edge `o--C` is the size of `C`'s diff, modified by a
fudge factor that should be smaller than 100%. The cost of an edge
`o--o` is free. The fudge factor is necessary because even if `1` and
`C` have nothing in common, they may still share a few empty lines and
such, possibly making the assignment `1--C`, `o--o` slightly cheaper
than `1--o`, `o--C` even if `1` and `C` have nothing in common. With the
fudge factor we require a much larger common part to consider patches as
corresponding.

The overall time needed to compute this algorithm is the time needed to
compute n+m commit diffs and then n*m diffs of patches, plus the time
needed to compute the least-cost assignment between n and m diffs. Git
uses an implementation of the Jonker-Volgenant algorithm to solve the
assignment problem, which has cubic runtime complexity. The matching
found in this case will look like this:

------------
    1 ----.      A
	  |    /
    2 ----+---'  B
       .--+-----'
    o -'  `----- C
	  c>0
    o ---------- o

    o ---------- o
------------


SEE ALSO
--------
linkgit:git-log[1]

GIT
---
Part of the linkgit:git[1] suite
debug log:

solving 6e9a0ea6b6 ...
found 6e9a0ea6b6 in https://public-inbox.org/git/187b7290cfb516b957762e82538e64abda255cd3.1620928059.git.martin.agren@gmail.com/
found fe350d7f40 in git.git.git
preparing index
index prepared:
100644 fe350d7f4056e280c9740ae9c601f0c7eb2a1119	Documentation/git-range-diff.txt

applying [1/1] https://public-inbox.org/git/187b7290cfb516b957762e82538e64abda255cd3.1620928059.git.martin.agren@gmail.com/
diff --git a/Documentation/git-range-diff.txt b/Documentation/git-range-diff.txt
index fe350d7f40..6e9a0ea6b6 100644

Checking patch Documentation/git-range-diff.txt...
Applied patch Documentation/git-range-diff.txt cleanly.

index at:
100644 6e9a0ea6b6c6a51a64d6a32b4bb543d4f73e5026	Documentation/git-range-diff.txt

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