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[protege-discussion] Protege and Source Control

Jonathan Carter jonathan.carter at
Mon Nov 10 01:56:34 PST 2008

Thanks for this - I agree, you can't rely on the order of the items in  
the files. I do use an XML extract but I haven't checked how it  
changes between changes to the ontology. As far as I remember, the  
experimental XML does all the class and slot things first and then all  
the instances. However, given that a change could be to a class or an  
instance or a slot, even  a small change could have a larger change on  
the resulting XML.

What I would recommend for doing a 'diff' on Protege projects would be  
the diff capability on the Prompt tab. That's very good.


Jonathan Carter - Head of Technical Architecture
Enterprise Architecture Solutions Ltd
Mobile: +44 (0) 7904 198295
Email: jonathan.carter at

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On 10 Nov 2008, at 08:58, Bertram Stuart wrote:

> The problem with zipping them (or at least the problem we have with
> Subversion source control on Protege files) is that you'd still end up
> with files that you can't easily compare. Protege has no concept of
> ordering, and so can end up reorganising things at random. That means
> you may only have changed one character in a string value of a slot,  
> but
> your diff with source control will show thousands of changes as
> everything gets moved around.
> In terms of solutions, we've not really found one. All we do is put it
> in to source control as-is (because they're just text files and
> Subversion can handle text files) and lose the ability to diff the
> files. We've yet to check whether the experimental Protege XML files  
> are
> more diff-able, although even if they're not then an XLST might be  
> able
> to re-order without losing data.
> Regards,
> Stuart Bertram
> Jonathan Carter wrote:
>> Hi Matt,
>> Normally, when I used Protege with more than 1 user, I use the
>> client-server mode, which works well for multi-users and can track
>> changes etc. However, I appreciate that if you are working
>> collaboratively but offline, that this isn't going to work for you.
>> One option to try would be to zip up the PINS, PONT and PPRJ files  
>> into
>> an archive that a version control tool could manage as some kind of  
>> 'blob'.
>> However, what I've done in lieu of anything too technical is just
>> applying good practice with using the project - passing the 3 files
>> around and before releasing my work back to the group doing a
>> File->SaveAs and manually updating the version number - Protege
>> synchronises the 3 files from that perspective. So, I received
>> project_v1.0.pprj, work on it and save it back as project_v. 
>> 1.1.pprj (or
>> something) before lodging it with the group.
>> Clearly, you need to organise a way of "checking out" the project for
>> editing, but in practice, for a small-ish group this is workable. For
>> larger groups, the multi-user Protege is really the best way forward.
>> Hope this helps
>> Jonathan
>> __________________________________________
>> Jonathan Carter - Head of Technical Architecture
>> Enterprise Architecture Solutions Ltd
>> __________________________________________
>> Assess your EA maturity at:
>> <>
>> __________________________________________
>> On 7 Nov 2008, at 17:06, Matt Spitz wrote:
>>> I'm doing a group project using Protege, and as I've learned with  
>>> all
>>> group projects, the first step is source control.  Given that the
>>> Protege files are all text-based, I held out a lot of hope for being
>>> able to use version control.  Sadly, I was mistaken.
>>> It'd be really neat if the Protege files were formatted in such a  
>>> way
>>> that source control software won't barf on them.  Does anyone have  
>>> any
>>> suggestions as to how to get around this and be able to use my
>>> ontology files (pons, pins, pprj) in a source control setting?
>>> Thank you very much!
>>> -Matt Spitz
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