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So I was asking around the Mercurial development mailing list about binary diffing and patch handling and I got the following examples:

  • whole file approaches (classic diff, bsdiff, Mercurial's internal bdiff)
  • windowed streaming approaches (rsync, xdelta, libxdiff)

What does "windowed streaming" stand for in this context? (and in general)

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

I believe that it's an ad-hoc expression to describe the algorithm used by rsync which is based primarily on a rolling hash. It is an extremely fast way to compute diffs, but works in blocks and doesn't handle smaller changes optimally.

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