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Searching Subversion Logs with Groovy

There are times when I want to quickly search a Subversion repository by author, by range of revisions, and/or by commit messages. Krzysztof Kotowicz has posted the blog post Grep Subversion log messages with svn-grep that introduces svn-grep, a bash script making use of the command line XML toolkit called xmlstarlet (xmlstarlet is also available on Windows). This is a pretty useful script in and of itself, but it gave me an idea for a Groovy-based script that could run on multiple (all JVM-supported) platforms.


#!/usr/bin/env groovy
// searchSvnLog.groovy
def cli = new CliBuilder(
usage: 'searchSvnLog.groovy -r <revision1> -p <revision2> -a <author> -s <stringInMessage>')
import org.apache.commons.cli.Option
h(longOpt: 'help', 'Usage Information', required: false)
r(longOpt: 'revision1', 'First SVN Revision', args: 1, required: false)
p(longOpt: 'revision2', 'Last SVN Revision', args: 1, required: false)
a(longOpt: 'author', 'Revision Author', args: 1, required: false)
s(longOpt: 'search', 'Search String', args: 1, required: false)
t(longOpt: 'target', 'SVN target directory/URL', args: 1, required: true)
def opt = cli.parse(args)

if (!opt) return
if (opt.h) cli.usage()

Integer revision1 = opt.r ? (opt.r as int) : null
Integer revision2 = opt.p ? (opt.p as int) : null
if (revision1 != null && revision2 != null && revision1 > revision2)
println "It makes no sense to search for revisions ${revision1} through ${revision2}."
String author = opt.a ? (opt.a as String) : null
String search = opt.s ? (opt.s as String) : null
String logTarget = opt.t

String command = "svn log -r ${revision1 ?: 1} ${revision2 ?: 'HEAD'} ${logTarget} --xml"
def proc = command.execute()
StringBuilder standard = new StringBuilder()
StringBuilder error = new StringBuilder()
proc.waitForProcessOutput(standard, error)
def returnedCode = proc.exitValue()
if (returnedCode != 0)
println "ERROR: Returned code ${returnedCode}"

def xmlLogOutput = standard.toString()
def log = new XmlSlurper().parseText(xmlLogOutput)
def logEntries = new TreeMap<Integer, LogEntry>()
{ svnLogEntry ->
Integer logRevision = Integer.valueOf(svnLogEntry.@revision as String)
String message = svnLogEntry.msg as String
String entryAuthor = as String
if ( (!revision1 || revision1 <= logRevision)
&& (!revision2 || revision2 >= logRevision)
&& (!author || author == entryAuthor)
&& (!search || message.toLowerCase().contains(search.toLowerCase()))
def logEntry =
new LogEntry(logRevision, as String, as String, message)
logEntries.put(logRevision, logEntry)
{ logEntryRevisionId, logEntry ->
println "${logEntryRevisionId} : ${}/${} : ${logEntry.message}"

One thing that makes this script much easier to write is the ability of Subversion‘s log command to write its output in XML format with the –xml flag. Although XML has been the subject of significant criticism in recent years, one of the things I’ve liked about its availability is the widespread tool support for writing and reading XML. Subversion’s ability to write certain types of output in XML is a good example of this. Without XML, the script would have required custom parsing code to be written to parse the non-standard SVN log output. Because Subversion supports writing to the standard XML format for its output, any XML-aware tool can read it. In this case, I leveraged Groovy’s incredibly easy XML slurping (XML parsing) capability.

The script also uses Groovy’s enhanced (GDK) Process class as I briefly described in my recent post Sublime Simplicity of Scripting with Groovy.

Groovy’s built-in command-line support (CliBuilder) is used in the script to accept parameters for narrowing the search (such as applicable revisions, authors who committed, or strings to search the commit comments for). The one required parameter is the “target” which can be a file, directory, or URL.

The script references a Groovy class called LogEntry and the code listing for that class is shown next.


class LogEntry
int revision
String author
String date
String message

That simple-looking LogEntry class is much more powerful than it might first appear. Because it’s Groovy, there are automatically setter/getter methods available for the four attributes. Thanks to the @Canonical annotation, it also supports a constructor, equals, hashCode, and toString methods. In other words, this class of under ten lines total has accessor and mutator methods as well as common class methods overridden appropriately for it.


Groovy offers numerous features to make script writing easier. In this post, I used an example of “searching” Subversion commits via the Subversion log command (and its --xml option) to demonstrate some of these useful Groovy scripting features (command line parameter parsing, native operating system integration, and easy XML parsing). Along the way, some of Groovy’s nice syntax advantages (closures, dynamic typing, GString value placeholders) were also used.

Original posting available at (Inspired by Actual Events)

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Escaping XML with Groovy 2.1

When posting source code to my blog, I often need to convert less than signs (<), and greater than signs (>) to their respective entity references so that they are not confused as HTML tags when the browser renders the output. I have often done t… Continue reading

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[one-liner]: Commenting out a block in an XML file using sed


This issue came up recently where I needed to programmatically comment out a section of tags in an XML file.

<login-module code=""
flag = "required" >
[…] Continue reading

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NetBeans (7.0.1) Has An XML Schema Editor!

Just after clicking on the “Publish Post” button to publish my latest blog post (Adding Common Methods to JAXB-Generated Java Classes (JAXB2 Basics Plugins)), I saw Geertjan Wielenga’s post XML Schema Editor in NetBeans IDE 7.0.1. The irony is that I h… Continue reading

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The New XML Stack in JDK 7

In the summary of new JDK 7 features, one of the categories is called Web and its major subcategory is Update the XML Stack. This support is available as of Milestone 12 (M12 AKA “Developer Preview” AKA “beta release”) and is described as “Upgrade the … Continue reading

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Recent Posts of Significant Interest (Java Security, XML, Cloud Computing)

I maintain a list of topics that I would like to blog on sometime in the future. This list continues to grow as I cannot blog quickly enough to keep up with the ideas. In some cases, I simply cannot write the full blog post I’d like in response to a re… Continue reading

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Generating XML Schema with schemagen and Groovy

I have previously blogged on several utilitarian tools that are provided with the Java SE 6 HotSpot SDK such as jstack, javap, and so forth. I focus on another tool in the same $JAVA_HOME/bin (or %JAVA_HOME%\bin directory: schemagen. Although schemagen… Continue reading

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Slurping XML with Groovy

In the early days of using Java in conjunction with XML, it often seemed more difficult than it should be to use the Java programming language with the XML markup language. Besides the non-trivial and often differently implemented DOM and SAX APIs, si… Continue reading

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