R&D: Diff and Patch for Blender
Collaboration on programming projects has been dominated since the 1970s by "merge-based" version control, which allows multiple contributors to work on a project together without stepping on each others toes. This can be generalized to other "list ordered" data, but handling "graph structured" data like Blender files is not something we have free software tools for.

So artists are still stuck with "lock based" collaboration methods, where only one person can work on a file at a time, even if the edits they are making are cleanly separated. Merging edits requires a person to meticulously check and manually merge changes, which is a lot of extra work that shouldn't be necessary.

However, algorithms do exist (some of them rather recent) for doing this kind of work, and I think it's time we started turning those into a practical tool for collaboration on artistic works.

This is just one small piece of an infrastructure research and development project for the "Lunatics!" open animated series project. I'm going to be posting more of these videos over the next few months. Eventually they will be cut together into a longer project proposal. I'm not quite sure where this going in terms of the big picture, so I don't really know which part will be first in the proposal.

This is also my first "explainer" video using the Synfig 2D animation package. I will probably be making more use of this.

-- Terry Hancock

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