In a production environment, multiple people may be working on an image. Even not i production environment, but in a family. We each have an artistic vision and digital image processing has evolved into an art form (can anyone say 'photoshopped' and not know what they mean?). So a set of images may be backed up across two or three computers and Lightroom (or PS) may be used to edit images and the images get 'out of sync'.
Fortunately, Adobe has created xml sidecar files that track every edit done to an image. This allows non-destructive editing. When looking into an xmp file, you find every single thing done to an image. It would be nice if there was a way to merge xmp files from different edition sessions on different pcs. A database plugin to import the xmp files from two different locations would be sweet in lightroom. Different versions of an image could be shown in the filmstrip at the bottom and you might even be allowed what to merge. This would solve a great big pain that I have when I go to backup my LR catalog and the xml files. I wouldn't have to worry about which images from which catalog are most desirable. I cannot use a synchronizing program (and just save the most recently modified xmp)because sometimes the most recently modified file is not what I want to keep. Even opening a LR catalog will timestamp the xmp files as more recent even though the most recent edits may exist in another catalog.
Although this does not seem to be tremendously difficult, I am not an experienced plug in writer (I just know a little python - the language not the snake). My design might be thus:
1) read a folder hierarchy and import each xmp file into an array
2) read another folder hierarchy and import each of those xmp files into another array
3)ditto for as many folder hierarchies the user wants.
4) make a giant array where the row labels are the xmp names, the columns are the path to each file and the contents of each cell are the contents of each xmp file
5) make virtual copies of the image shown in the develop module and process each virtual copy according to each xmp file in the row of the giant array
6) label the virtual copies with the pathname of the xmp file
Clicking on a virtual copy would not only process the image and show it, but also show the contents of the xmp file (usually shown as 'history')
Allow copying a line in the history sidebar
Allow pasting a line in the history sidebar
This way I could merge edits into one 'good' xmp file.
Is it doable?