Author ezio.melotti
Recipients Ankur.Ankan, Elena.Oat, Jacek.Bzdak, Puneeth.Chaganti, ankurankan, ezio.melotti, michael.foord, nnja, pitrou, serhiy.storchaka, vstinner
Date 2014-08-10.09:30:01
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I thought some more about this, and I think we can do better.  
Since _diffThreshold only affects strings, the goal of this issue is to extend the check to other types.  Instead of doing this by adding more attributes and behaviors, I would like to keep things as simple and consistent as possible (since they are already quite complicated), and possibly making them even simpler.

I'll try to summarize the current situation and propose some possible solutions to achieve this goal.

Currently we have:
* _diffThreshold (used to avoid computing the diff, only affects strings);
* maxDiff (used to "hide" diffs that are too big, after they have been computed);

These two attributes deal with two different but related problems:
* _diffThreshold tries to avoid /calculating/ expensive diffs;
* maxDiff tries to avoid /printing/ big and unreadable diffs;

These are different because one acts before and the other after, but they are also related because the threshold directly affects the size of the diff.

By picking some ideas from Serhiy comments and patch, I think we should:
1) try to have a single threshold for all types, and use line-based counting for strings (so if the threshold is 32, this means 32 elements in a list, 32 items in a dict, 32 lines in a string);
2) make this threshold public, so that users can control this behavior (even though we should be careful about what we add -- we can always keep it private and expose it later);
3) factor out the diff computation/truncation function (like Serhiy did), and use it consistently, so that we can get rid of _truncateMessage and simplify the formatting.
4) if possible, try to unify the threshold and the maxDiff -- if the threshold is low the diff will be small, if it's high/None the diff will be big;

Now, doing 1) shouldn't be an issue, 2) is also doable if we agree on it, and 3) is also not a problem since these are internal functions.  If we decide to go for 4) as well there are at least two options:
a) repurpose maxDiff to indicate the number of items/lines;
b) introduce a new attribute (e.g. maxDiffItems) and deprecate maxDiff;

Option a) might be doable, and even if it introduces a change in behavior it might be acceptable since it affects the output of the messages in case of failure, and I don't think anyone is relying on an exact output (also because tests shouldn't be failing).  Moreover, the most common usage of maxDiff is setting it to None, and having the threshold to None means that the full diff will be computed and printed, leaving the behavior unchanged.


> Second, we can extend difflib by functions which allow to limit a number
> of reported differences.

I was thinking about having a lazy, generator-based diffing, so we could generate as many diff lines we need and stop once we reach the threshold.  I'm not sure if difflib already has something similar but anyway this is a separate issue.  Also, if we unify maxDiff and the threshold we won't need this, since all that is computer is also printed.
Date User Action Args
2014-08-10 09:30:02ezio.melottisetrecipients: + ezio.melotti, pitrou, vstinner, michael.foord, serhiy.storchaka, Jacek.Bzdak, Ankur.Ankan, Elena.Oat, nnja, ankurankan, Puneeth.Chaganti
2014-08-10 09:30:02ezio.melottisetmessageid: <>
2014-08-10 09:30:02ezio.melottilinkissue19217 messages
2014-08-10 09:30:01ezio.melotticreate