An analysis about a generic desktop application configuration management system

Philip Van Hoof spamfrommailing at
Thu Apr 7 23:19:00 EEST 2005

On Thu, 2005-04-07 at 16:10 -0400, Sean Middleditch wrote:

> > Some of the applications that we looked at needed some sort of "undo"
> > functionality for specifically their "preferences". In order to
> > correctly undo preference setting actions, it feels right to have an
> > atomic system with rollback functionality. 
> That can be done client side.  An application can record which
> preferences it has changed since the preference dialog was opened.  Or
> are you talking about long-term system rollback?

I'm thinking longer-term system rollbacks, indeed. But not in months or
days. More like: in sessions (Roll back all changes that happened during
this session).

But then again, perhaps this transactional-support isn't a real
requirement or at least not for the first x releases.
> > The support for text-files can also be available in the form of a tool
> > to extract and import text-files from the system. I'm not yet convinced
> > why the default and internally used backend data should be humanly
> > readable or usable by external applications while the configuration
> > system is running.
> The biggest advantage to humanly readable backend files is that when
> they get corrupt - and there's a chance they will someday for someone -
> you can open up a text editor and fix it.  With a binary file format,
> your binary tools are going to choke on the corrupted file and you won't
> have many other options to fix it.

Most users are not going to read or write in these files. Most users
will press buttons and menuitems. Most users don't have a clue about how
their system works.

Users who WOULD try to fix it, are the type of users who have been
making backups of their configuration data. Which is perfectly possible
in the current proposal.

And finally. The current idea is to use SQLite. SQLite isn't
inaccessible. The type of users who would try to fix these plain-text
files, are also smart enough to create some queries on the SQLite

Philip Van Hoof, Software Developer @ Cronos
home: me at freax dot org
gnome: pvanhoof at gnome dot org
work: philip dot vanhoof at cronos dot be
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