path: root/Documentation
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authorNguyễn Thái Ngọc Duy <>2018-05-11 06:55:23 (GMT)
committerJunio C Hamano <>2018-05-13 01:20:03 (GMT)
commit011b648646fcf1f467336ac6bbf46145501c0f12 (patch)
treee5028919cb4f751528819036a86f9b1d72fa6b2a /Documentation
parent468165c1d8a442994a825f3684528361727cd8c0 (diff)
pack-format.txt: more details on pack file format
The current document mentions OBJ_* constants without their actual values. A git developer would know these are from cache.h but that's not very friendly to a person who wants to read this file to implement a pack file parser. Similarly, the deltified representation is not documented at all (the "document" is basically patch-delta.c). Translate that C code to English with a bit more about what ofs-delta and ref-delta mean. Signed-off-by: Nguyễn Thái Ngọc Duy <> Signed-off-by: Junio C Hamano <>
Diffstat (limited to 'Documentation')
1 files changed, 92 insertions, 0 deletions
diff --git a/Documentation/technical/pack-format.txt b/Documentation/technical/pack-format.txt
index 8e5bf60..70a99fd 100644
--- a/Documentation/technical/pack-format.txt
+++ b/Documentation/technical/pack-format.txt
@@ -36,6 +36,98 @@ Git pack format
- The trailer records 20-byte SHA-1 checksum of all of the above.
+=== Object types
+Valid object types are:
+- OBJ_TREE (2)
+- OBJ_BLOB (3)
+- OBJ_TAG (4)
+Type 5 is reserved for future expansion. Type 0 is invalid.
+=== Deltified representation
+Conceptually there are only four object types: commit, tree, tag and
+blob. However to save space, an object could be stored as a "delta" of
+another "base" object. These representations are assigned new types
+ofs-delta and ref-delta, which is only valid in a pack file.
+Both ofs-delta and ref-delta store the "delta" to be applied to
+another object (called 'base object') to reconstruct the object. The
+difference between them is, ref-delta directly encodes 20-byte base
+object name. If the base object is in the same pack, ofs-delta encodes
+the offset of the base object in the pack instead.
+The base object could also be deltified if it's in the same pack.
+Ref-delta can also refer to an object outside the pack (i.e. the
+so-called "thin pack"). When stored on disk however, the pack should
+be self contained to avoid cyclic dependency.
+The delta data is a sequence of instructions to reconstruct an object
+from the base object. If the base object is deltified, it must be
+converted to canonical form first. Each instruction appends more and
+more data to the target object until it's complete. There are two
+supported instructions so far: one for copy a byte range from the
+source object and one for inserting new data embedded in the
+instruction itself.
+Each instruction has variable length. Instruction type is determined
+by the seventh bit of the first octet. The following diagrams follow
+the convention in RFC 1951 (Deflate compressed data format).
+==== Instruction to copy from base object
+ +----------+---------+---------+---------+---------+-------+-------+-------+
+ | 1xxxxxxx | offset1 | offset2 | offset3 | offset4 | size1 | size2 | size3 |
+ +----------+---------+---------+---------+---------+-------+-------+-------+
+This is the instruction format to copy a byte range from the source
+object. It encodes the offset to copy from and the number of bytes to
+copy. Offset and size are in little-endian order.
+All offset and size bytes are optional. This is to reduce the
+instruction size when encoding small offsets or sizes. The first seven
+bits in the first octet determines which of the next seven octets is
+present. If bit zero is set, offset1 is present. If bit one is set
+offset2 is present and so on.
+Note that a more compact instruction does not change offset and size
+encoding. For example, if only offset2 is omitted like below, offset3
+still contains bits 16-23. It does not become offset2 and contains
+bits 8-15 even if it's right next to offset1.
+ +----------+---------+---------+
+ | 10000101 | offset1 | offset3 |
+ +----------+---------+---------+
+In its most compact form, this instruction only takes up one byte
+(0x80) with both offset and size omitted, which will have default
+values zero. There is another exception: size zero is automatically
+converted to 0x10000.
+==== Instruction to add new data
+ +----------+============+
+ | 0xxxxxxx | data |
+ +----------+============+
+This is the instruction to construct target object without the base
+object. The following data is appended to the target object. The first
+seven bits of the first octet determines the size of data in
+bytes. The size must be non-zero.
+==== Reserved instruction
+ +----------+============
+ | 00000000 |
+ +----------+============
+This is the instruction reserved for future expansion.
== Original (version 1) pack-*.idx files have the following format:
- The header consists of 256 4-byte network byte order