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writebackupVersionControl : Version control functions (diff, restore, history) for writebackup backups.

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created by
Ingo Karkat
script type
This plugin enhances the primitive file backup mechanism provided by
writebackup.vim with some functions of real revision control systems like
CVS, RCS or Subversion - without additional software.
Via Vim commands, you can list and go to all backup versions that exist for
the current file, check whether you have a current backup, backup the saved
version of the buffer even after you've made unsaved changes in the buffer
(which is useful for after-the-fact backups).
Within Vim, you can create a diff with the previous version, restore the
current file from its predecessor or any other backed-up version.

                        List all backup versions that exist for the current
                        file. If the file isn't the original, it is marked in
                        the version list. If the file is the original, the
                        time that has passed since the last backup is printed,

                        Open a backup file version relative to the current
                        backup or original file (with 'readonly' set to
                        prevent accidental edits) . You can skip multiple
                        backups via the optional [count]; if the resulting
                        index is out of bounds, the first / last available
                        backup version is edited.
                        Thus, :999WriteBackupGoPrev edits the very first
                        existing backup, and :999WriteBackupGoNext edits the
                        latest (i.e. most recent) backup.
                        With [!], any changes to the current version are

                        Edit the original of the current backup file. If
                        backups are stored in a different directory, it may
                        not be possible to determine the original file. With
                        [!], any changes to the current version are discarded.

                        Check whether the latest backup is identical to the
                        (saved version of the) current file (which must be the
                        original file).

                        Perform a diff of the current file (which may be the
                        original file or any backup) with the [count]'th
                        previous version. If the resulting index is out of
                        bounds, the first available backup version is used.
                        The diff is done inside Vim, with a new :diffsplit
                        being opened.

:[count]WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred [{diff-arguments}]
                        Show the differences of the current file (which may be
                        the original file or any backup) with the [count]'th
                        previous version. If the resulting index is out of
                        bounds, the first available backup version is used.
                        The diff output is opened in a split scratch buffer.
                        Any {diff-arguments} are passed as-is to the diff
                        executable. The "icase" and "iwhite" settings of
                        'diffopt' are used, too.
                        The current working directory is used as the diff root
                        directory (in which the diff command will be invoked)
                        You can set the diff root via:
                        :lcd {diff-root} | WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred | lcd -
                       Use the :saveas command if you want to persist the
                        diff scratch buffer on disk. Rename the scratch buffer
                        via the :file command if you want to keep it and
                        prevent further updates.
          + [count]du
                        By repeating the command, an existing scratch buffer
                        is updated; no new split is created. One can also
                        update the differences by repeating
                        :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred in the diff scratch
                        buffer itself, or through the buffer-local [count]du
                        mapping. The mapping will update with the same diff
                        options used previously; the command can be repeated
                        with the same or different {diff-arguments}. For
                        example, you can change a context diff created via
                            :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred -c
                       into the unified format by repeating via >
                            :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred -u
                       If you repeat with a [count], a new predecessor is
                        chosen for the updated diff; the newer file is kept.

                        Perform a diff of the current file (which may be the
                        original file or any backup) with today's (or
                        [count] - 1 days ago) first backup.
                        The diff is done inside Vim, with a new :diffsplit
                        being opened.

:[count]WriteBackupViewDaysChanges [{diff-arguments}]
                        Show the differences of the current file (which may be
                        the original file or any backup) with today's (or
                        [count] - 1 days ago) first backup.
                        The diff output is opened in a split scratch buffer.

                        Overwrite the current file (which must be the
                        original) with the [count]'th previous backup. With
                        [!] skips confirmation dialog and allows to restore
                        over readonly original file.

                        Restore the current file as the original file, which
                        will be overwritten. With [!] skips confirmation
                        dialog and allows to restore over readonly original

                        Instead of backing up the current buffer, back up the
                        saved version of the buffer. This comes handy when you
                        realize you need a backup only after you've made
                        changes to the buffer.
                        With [!], creation of a new backup file is forced:
                        - even if the last backup is identical
                        - even when no more backup versions (for this day) are
                          available (the last '.YYYYMMDDz' backup gets
                          overwritten, even if it is readonly)

                        Delete the last backup. With [!] skips confirmation
                        dialog and allows to delete readonly backup file.
install details
The code is hosted in a Git repo at
You can use your favorite plugin manager, or "git clone" into a directory used
for Vim packages. Releases are on the "stable" branch, the latest unstable
development snapshot on "master".

This script is also packaged as a vimball. If you have the "gunzip"
decompressor in your PATH, simply edit the *.vmb.gz package in Vim; otherwise,
decompress the archive first, e.g. using WinZip. Inside Vim, install by
sourcing the vimball or via the :UseVimball command.
    vim writebackupVersionControl*.vmb.gz
    :so %
To uninstall, use the :RmVimball command.

- Requires Vim 7.0 or higher.
- Requires the writebackup.vim plugin (vimscript #1828), version 2.00 or
- Requires the ingo-library.vim plugin (vimscript #4433), version 1.022 or
- External command "cmp" or "diff" (or equivalent) for comparison.
- External command "diff" or equivalent for listing of differences.
- External commands "cp" (Unix) / "copy" and "xcopy" (Windows) for restore
  and backup original file functionality.

For a permanent configuration, put the following commands into your vimrc:

To change the default diffsplit from vertical to horizontal, use:
    let g:WriteBackup_DiffVertSplit = 0

The :WriteBackupIsBackedUp command uses an external compare command (either
"cmp -s" or "diff -q") to determine whether the backup is identical with the
original file. You can overwrite the auto-detected default via:
    let g:WriteBackup_CompareShellCommand = '/path/to/mycomparecmd --myoption'
The command must take two filespec arguments, return 0 for identical files, 1
for different files and anything else for trouble.

The :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred command invokes an external diff command to
list the differences between two files. Overwrite if "diff" cannot be found
through $PATH:
    let g:WriteBackup_DiffShellCommand = '/path/to/mydiff'

Command-line arguments for the external diff command can be specified
separately. Configure any arguments that should always be passed here:
    let g:WriteBackup_DiffCreateAlwaysArguments = '-t -F "^[_a-zA-Z0-9]+ *("'

If no {diff-arguments} are passed to the :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred
command, the default diff output format is set to the unified format. You can
for example change this to a context diff by setting:
    let g:WriteBackup_DiffCreateDefaultArguments = '-c'

The :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred command opens the diff scratch buffer via
the :new command. You can add window command modifiers like :vertical or
:topleft to change the positioning of the window:
    let g:WriteBackup_ScratchBufferCommandModifiers = 'topleft'

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script versions (upload new version)

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package script version date Vim version user release notes
writebackupVersionControl-3.22.vmb.gz 3.22 2020-04-03 7.0 Ingo Karkat - FIX: Avoid "E16: Invalid range" in writebackupVersionControl#GetAllBackupsForFile() with a filename containing "[[" by escaping the filespec for wildcard characters.
- Make Unix 'cp' command configurable via g:WriteBackupCopyShellCommand.
- Support non-GNU cp command (e.g. on BSD) that doesn't support the --preserve=timestamp argument by making it configurable (g:WriteBackupCopyPreserveArgument) and implemening a heuristic that falls back to the POSIX -p option if the original cp command failed.
- Use ingo#compat#glob().
- ingo#buffer#scratch#Create() from ingo-library.vim version 1.024 doesn't position the cursor on the first line any more; explicitly do this, as the alternative condition of the potential original cursor position restore depends on this.
- :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred: Keep the same 'iskeyword' value as the original buffer's. Makes it easier to search across diff and original with |star|.
- Inconsistency: :WriteBackupOfSavedOriginal keeps executable attributes, whereas :WriteBackup normally doesn't. The general discrepancy is that the 'cp' command by default preserves the attributes, whereas a :write from within Vim doesn't. Add --no-preserve=mode to g:WriteBackupCopyPreserveArgument. *** You need to update to ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.022! ***
writebackupVersionControl-3.21.vmb.gz 3.21 2014-01-29 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Implement abort on error for all commands.
- CHG: writebackupVersionControl#ListVersions() now indicates no backups exist with 2 instead of 0.
- CHG: writebackupVersionControl#RestoreThisBackup(), writebackupVersionControl#RestoreFromPred(), writebackupVersionControl#DeleteBackupLastBackup() now indicate user decline with 2 instead of 0.
- Keep the same 'fileformat' as the original buffer's on :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred. This matters when the diff is persisted as a patch.
- Add dependency to ingo-library (vimscript #4433). *** You need to separately install ingo-library (vimscript #4433) version 1.013 (or higher)! ***
writebackupVersionControl-3.20.vmb.gz 3.20 2012-12-14 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Allow to override g:WriteBackup_DiffCreateAlwaysArguments and g:WriteBackup_DiffCreateDefaultArguments with buffer-local variables; e.g. to provide a filetype-specific "--show-function-list" diff argument.
- ENH: When the current window is in diff mode, "inherit" the participation in the diff to the next backup file on :WriteBackupGo* commands, as the user probably wants to continue comparing them.
- BUG: On Windows, when file backups exist in different upper-/lowercase versions, the ordering of :WriteBackupListVersions and :WriteBackupGoPrev/Next are broken.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 3.10 2012-02-20 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: Add :WriteBackupDiffDaysChanges and :WriteBackupViewDaysChanges.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 3.00 2012-02-16 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: New writebackup.vim default "redate" for g:WriteBackup_AvoidIdenticalBackups that renames an identical backup from an earlier date to be the first backup of today is also used for :WriteBackupOfSavedOriginal. The changes now require version 3.00 of both plugins.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.30 2012-02-14 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: On Windows, :WriteBackupOfSavedOriginal now updates the modification date (via a "copy" trick), and on Unix, :WriteBackupRestoreThisBackup / :WriteBackupRestoreFromPred now keep the backup's modification date.
- Expose many internal functions and make all autoload functions behind the various commands now also indicate their success via a boolean / numeric return value.
- Use ingodate#HumanReltime() for a more human output of elapsed time since last backup.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.24 2010-02-12 7.0 Ingo Karkat - ENH: Define a local 'du' mapping to quickly update the diff (of the same version and with the same options as this time), unless [count] is given, which sets a different version).
- :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred not just checks for empty scratch buffer, but also considers the diff command exit code.
- BUG: :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred can cause E121: Undefined variable: l:predecessor. Similar issue with a:filespec showing scratch buffer name in place of the original file name. Now using l:oldFile and l:newFile instead.
- BUG: WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred didn't always go back to the original window when no differences, but fell back to the next one.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.23 2009-10-26 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: :WriteBackupRestoreFromPred now takes an optional [count] to restore an earlier predecessor.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.22 2009-08-19 7.0 Ingo Karkat BF: escapings#shellescape() caused E118 on Vim 7.1. Enhanced wrapper function.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.21 2009-07-19 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Replaced simple filespec quoting with built-in shellescape() function (or emulation for Vim 7.0 / 7.1) via escapings.vim wrapper.
- Keeping cursor position when only refreshing the diff scratch buffer.
- Window position of the diff scratch buffer can now be configured.
- ENH: Now issuing a warning that there are no differences and closing the useless diff scratch buffer if it is empty.
- BF: Forgot {special} in shellescape() call for writebackupVersionControl#ViewDiffWithPred(); the scratch buffer uses the ! command.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.20 2009-07-10 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: Added :WriteBackupViewDiffWithPred command to show the diff output in a scratch buffer. With this, one can get a quick overview of what has changed since the last backup without performing a diffsplit within Vim.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.11 2009-06-30 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: :WriteBackupDiffWithPred now takes an optional [count] to diff with an
earlier predecessor.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.10 2009-05-28 7.0 Ingo Karkat Replaced simple filespec escaping with built-in fnameescape() function (or
emulation for Vim 7.0 / 7.1) via escapings.vim wrapper.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.01 2009-05-11 7.0 Ingo Karkat Backup versions are now opened read-only (through :WriteBackupGoPrev/Next and
:WriteBackupDiffWithPred commands) to prevent the user from accidentally
editing the backup instead of the original.
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 2.00 2009-02-26 7.0 Ingo Karkat - Using separate autoload script to help speed up VIM startup. This is an
  incompatible change that also requires the corresponding writebackup plugin
  version. *** PLEASE UPDATE writebackup (vimscript #1828), too ***
- BF: :WriteBackupListVersions now handles (and reports) backup files with a
  future date.
- ENH: Allowing to configure compare shell command via
- ENH: Added :WriteBackupDeleteLastBackup command.
- ENH: Added [!] to the following commands to disable confirmation dialog and
  override readonly target files: :WriteBackupRestoreFromPred,
  :WriteBackupRestoreThisBackup, :WriteBackupOfSavedOriginal,
writebackupVersionControl.vba.gz 1.41.021 2009-02-16 7.0 Ingo Karkat Split off documentation into separate help file. Now packaging as VimBall.
writebackupVersionControl.vim 1.40.020 2009-02-14 7.0 Ingo Karkat Renamed configuration variable from g:writebackup_DiffVertSplit to g:WriteBackup_DiffVertSplit. *** PLEASE UPDATE YOUR CONFIGURATION ***
ENH: Added :WriteBackupGoPrev, :WriteBackupGoNext and :WriteBackupGoOriginal commands.
ENH: :WriteBackupListVersions now includes backup dirspec if backups aren't done in the original file's directory.
BF: :WriteBackupDiffWithPred failed to open the predecessor with the ':set autochdir' setting if the CWD has been (temporarily) changed. Now using absolute path for the :split command.
:WriteBackupDiffWithPred doesn't jump to the predecessor window; it now moves the cursor back to the originating window; this feels more natural.
:WriteBackupDiffWithPred now avoids that a previous (open) fold status at the cursor position is remembered and obscures the actual differences.
Added Windows detection via has('win64').
writebackupVersionControl.vim 1.20.010 2008-06-23 7.0 Ingo Karkat Minor change: Added -bar to all commands that do not take any arguments, so that these can be chained together.
writebackupVersionControl.vim 1.20.009 2007-12-31 7.0 Ingo Karkat Small Enhancement: :WriteBackupListVersions and :WriteBackupDiffWithPred claimed "no backups exist" if option 'wildignore' hides the backup files. Now temporarily resetting the option before glob().  
writebackupVersionControl.vim 1.20.008 2007-09-18 7.0 Ingo Karkat ENH: Added support for writing backup files into a different directory (either one static backup dir or relative to the original file). Now requires writebackup.vim version 1.20 or later.
Command :WriteBackupOfSavedOriginal now checks that the file is an original one.
BF: :WriteBackupIsBackedUp doesn't deal correctly with filenames that contain special ex characters [%#!].
writebackupVersionControl.vim 1.00.006 2007-03-16 7.0 Ingo Karkat Initial upload
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