A library for parsing and applying patch files in unified diff and other formats.
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Zutubi Diff


Zutubi Diff is a Java library for parsing and applying patch files in unified diff and other formats. You can think of it as the library equivalent of the patch(1) utility, with the beginnings of support for more than just unified diffs.

Home Page

Zutubi diff has home on the web at:



Zutubi diff is licensed under the Apache License, version 2.0. See the LICENSE file for details.

Quick Start

The best way to illustrate usage is with a simple example:

PatchFileParser parser = new PatchFileParser(new UnifiedPatchParser());
PatchFile patchFile = parser.parse(new FileReader("/path/to/my.patch"));
patchFile.apply(toDirectory, 3);

This code parses a patch from the file my.patch and applies it to the directory toDirectory, stripping 3 slashes from the paths. It is analogous to running:

$ cd toDirectory
$ patch -p3 < /path/to/my.patch

Full code for this example can be found in the examples/patch directory. See below for build instructions.

Supported Formats

Currently full support is provided for unified diffs in the package com.zutubi.diff.unified. Limited support for git diffs, an extension of the unified format used by git, Mercurial and other tools, is provided in the com.zutubi.diff.git package. At present application of git diffs is not implemented.


A simple Gradle (http://gradle.org/) build is included. To build the library as a jar run:

$ gradle jar

The jar will appear in build/libs. There are no dependencies - the jar stands alone. The build has only been tested with Gradle 1.2.


After building the main jar, you can build the example in a similar way. You can then run it as a very-limited version of patch:

$ cd examples/patch
$ gradle jar
$ java -jar build/libs/patch.jar -p3 < my.patch

The patch can only be applied to the working directory.


You can generate full Javadoc for the library by running:

$ gradle javadoc

The documentation will appear in build/docs/javadoc.


Feedback and contributions are welcome! Please contact:


or simply fork away!