Changes and revisions overview

There are distinct but subtle differences between changes, revisions and other related terms depending on what you are currently doing. For example, if you edit a file, that's a change that is recorded in the change log. It's called a revision that can be undone by reverting that change back to a previous file version.

Change, Revision, or Version?

Drive API documentation uses these terms that refer to changes and revisions:

  • Change - the actual edit to a file associated with the date and time it was changed. Each change is a file revision that is recorded with date, time, and person who made the change.
  • Change log - records changes for each user or each shared drive. For shared drives, the change log records only changes to files in that shared drive.
  • Revision - the record of a change that may be reverted to a previous revision.
  • Version - this is a published revision that may be reverted back to a previous version.
  • Version history - a record of all revisions to a file in chronological order, so that current version can be reverted back to a previous version.

What are the structures that I can change?

In addition to per-user organizational structures, there are two additional organizational concepts used in the API. These are spaces and corpora.

What are spaces?

Spaces are isolated storage spaces. Currently there are 3 defined spaces in Drive: drive, appDataFolder, and photos.

  • The default drive space includes all user-visible files created or stored in Google Drive. PDFs, Google Docs, Sheets, and slides, as well as any other content the user uploads is located in the drive space.
  • The appDataFolder space is a separate storage area for per-user application data. Applications typically store configuration files and other data not intended to be directly accessed by users.

Files can not move between spaces.

What is user corpora?

Corpora, like spaces, represent different collections of items and are used to direct searches. Unlike spaces, they're not isolated storage. Files within a space may move freely from one corpus to another.

The corpora in the Drive API are:

  • The user corpus includes all files in "My Drive" and "Shared with me"
  • The domain corpus includes all files shared to the user's domain that are searchable.
  • The drive corpus includes all files contained in a single shared drive.
  • The allDrives corpus includes all files in shared drives that the user is a member of and all files in "My Drive" and "Shared with me." Use of the allSharedDrives corpus is discouraged for efficiency reasons. Prefer 'drive' or 'user' for efficiency.

Files can move between corpora as permissions and ownership change.

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