Notebook of Sand

• Recent Publications
• Recent Projects
• Conferences & Speaking
"Comparing Spatial Hypertext Collections"
  ACM Hypertext '09
"Archiving and Sharing Your Tinderbox"
  Tinderbox Weekend London '09
"The Electronic Nature of Future Literatures"
  Literary Studies Now, Apr '09
"The World University Project"
  St. John's Col. Cambridge, Feb '09
"Ethical Explanations,"
  The New Knowledge Forge, Jun '08
Lecture, Cambridge University
  Tragedy in E-Lit, Nov '07
Hypertext '07: Tragedy in E-Lit
Host for Tinderbox Cambridge '07
Keynote: Dickinson State Uni Conf
Upper Midwest NCHC'07: Speaker
eNarrative 6: Creative Nonfiction
HT'05: "Philadelphia Fullerine"
  Nelson award winning paper
NCHC '05:
 Nurturing Independent Scholarship
Riddick Practicum:
  Building Meeting Good Will
NCHC '04:
  Philadelphia Fullerine
  Lecture on American Studies
WWW@10: Nonfiction on the Web
NCHC '03: Parliamentary Procedure
ELL '03 -- Gawain Superstar
• (a)Musing (ad)Dictions:

Ideas. Tools. Art. Build --not buy. What works, what doesn't. Enjoy new media and software aesthetics at Tekka.

Theodore Gray (The Magic Black Box)

Faith, Life, Art, Academics. Sermons from my family away from home: Eden Chapel!

My other home: The Cambridge Union Society (in 2007, I designed our [Fresher's Guide])

The Economist daily news analysis

Global Higher Ed blog

• Hypertext/Writing

Writing the Living Web

Chief Scientist of Eastgate Systems, hypertext expert Mark Bernstein. (Electronic) Literature, cooking, art, etc.

Fabulous game reviews at playthisthing.

• Stats

Chapter I: Born. Lived. Died.

There is a Chapter II.

Locale: Lancaster County Pa, USA

Lineage: Guatemala

Religion: My faith is the primary focus of my life, influencing each part of me. I have been forgiven, cleansed, and empowered by Jesus Christ. Without him, I am a very thoughtful, competent idiot. With him, I am all I need to be, all I could ever hope for. I oppose institutional religious stagnation, but getting together with others is a good idea. God is real. Jesus Christ is his Son, and the Bible is true. Faith is not human effort. It's human choice. I try to be the most listening, understanding, and generous person I can.

Interests: Anything I can learn. Training and experience in new media, computer science, anglophone literature, education, parliamentary debate, democratic procedure, sculpture, and trumpet performance. Next: applied & computational linguistics, probably.

Education: Private school K-3. Home educated 4-12. Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Elizabethtown College in Jan 2006. As the 2006 Davies-Jackson Scholar, I studied English at St. John's College, Cambridge University from 2006 - 2008.

Memberships: Eden Baptist, Cambridge Union Society, ACM, AIP, GPA.

Alum of the Elizabethtown College Honors Program, sponsored by the Hershey Company.

Tinderbox and Version Management
Thursday, 25 Jun 2009 :-:

Earlier this month, I took a careful look at version management for Tinderbox files. My paper at this year's Hypertext conference will be about comparing spatial hypertext collections, so I was curious to see just how well Tinderbox worked with existing solutions, such as git and SVN.

Badly, it turns out. But it's not the fault of Tinderbox.

** * **

Tinderbox files are stored in XML, a plaintext format which is easy for other programs (like my Web Viewer) to load.

In theory, the Tinderbox XML files should work well with Version Management software. The tools are designed for plaintext, and Tinderbox files are plaintext. Perfect!

Unfortunately, the XML standard breaks some assumptions of version control systems. In most plaintext formats, the order of the lines is significant. Code is executed line by line, so software such as git and SVN treats the reordering of lines as a change. In some parts of XML however, the order of lines is insignificant. In those cases, changing the order of the lines does not imply a significant chance to the XML. Such changes confuse version tracking systems.

Tinderbox follows the assumptions of XML. Two saves of the same tinderbox can look very different. As a result, git and SVN get very confused. This flickr gallery demonstrates just how confused version control systems can become:

Araxis Merge

I discovered this issue in advance of Tinderbox Weekend London, where I was speaking about version history, backups, and collaboration with Tinderbox. So late on Saturday night, Mark and I had a conversation at Spoons (yeah, I know), and he offered to look into it.

Last week, I had a chance to look at beta versions of the next release of Tinderbox. These betas output consistent line order, and work smoothly with the version control systems I have tested.

(in the next post, I explain how to set up and use Git on the Mac)