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Directory rename detection
Rename detection logic in diffcore-rename that checks for renames of
individual files is aggregated and analyzed in merge-recursive for cases
where combinations of renames indicate that a full directory has been
Scope of abilities
It is perhaps easiest to start with an example:
* When all of x/a, x/b and x/c have moved to z/a, z/b and z/c, it is
likely that x/d added in the meantime would also want to move to z/d by
taking the hint that the entire directory 'x' moved to 'z'.
More interesting possibilities exist, though, such as:
* one side of history renames x -> z, and the other renames some file to
x/e, causing the need for the merge to do a transitive rename so that
the rename ends up at z/e.
* one side of history renames x -> z, but also renames all files within x.
For example, x/a -> z/alpha, x/b -> z/bravo, etc.
* both 'x' and 'y' being merged into a single directory 'z', with a
directory rename being detected for both x->z and y->z.
* not all files in a directory being renamed to the same location;
i.e. perhaps most the files in 'x' are now found under 'z', but a few
are found under 'w'.
* a directory being renamed, which also contained a subdirectory that was
renamed to some entirely different location. (And perhaps the inner
directory itself contained inner directories that were renamed to yet
other locations).
* combinations of the above; see t/ for
various interesting cases.
Limitations -- applicability of directory renames
In order to prevent edge and corner cases resulting in either conflicts
that cannot be represented in the index or which might be too complex for
users to try to understand and resolve, a couple basic rules limit when
directory rename detection applies:
1) If a given directory still exists on both sides of a merge, we do
not consider it to have been renamed.
2) If a subset of to-be-renamed files have a file or directory in the
way (or would be in the way of each other), "turn off" the directory
rename for those specific sub-paths and report the conflict to the
3) If the other side of history did a directory rename to a path that
your side of history renamed away, then ignore that particular
rename from the other side of history for any implicit directory
renames (but warn the user).
Limitations -- detailed rules and testcases
t/ contains extensive tests and commentary
which generate and explore the rules listed above. It also lists a few
additional rules:
a) If renames split a directory into two or more others, the directory
with the most renames, "wins".
b) Only apply implicit directory renames to directories if the other side
of history is the one doing the renaming.
c) Do not perform directory rename detection for directories which had no
new paths added to them.
Limitations -- support in different commands
Directory rename detection is supported by 'merge' and 'cherry-pick'.
Other git commands which users might be surprised to see limited or no
directory rename detection support in:
* diff
Folks have requested in the past that `git diff` detect directory
renames and somehow simplify its output. It is not clear whether this
would be desirable or how the output should be simplified, so this was
simply not implemented. Further, to implement this, directory rename
detection logic would need to move from merge-recursive to
* am
git-am tries to avoid a full three way merge, instead calling
git-apply. That prevents us from detecting renames at all, which may
defeat the directory rename detection. There is a fallback, though; if
the initial git-apply fails and the user has specified the -3 option,
git-am will fall back to a three way merge. However, git-am lacks the
necessary information to do a "real" three way merge. Instead, it has
to use build_fake_ancestor() to get a merge base that is missing files
whose rename may have been important to detect for directory rename
detection to function.
* rebase
Since am-based rebases work by first generating a bunch of patches
(which no longer record what the original commits were and thus don't
have the necessary info from which we can find a real merge-base), and
then calling git-am, this implies that am-based rebases will not always
successfully detect directory renames either (see the 'am' section
above). merged-based rebases (rebase -m) and cherry-pick-based rebases
(rebase -i) are not affected by this shortcoming, and fully support
directory rename detection.