Corporate Mercurial

This page details how to use Mercurial in a corporate environment. This implies the following constraints which may not be present in home or FOSS projects:

Additionally, you must understand that Mercurial is a fantastic version control system. But that's all it does. When you think of setting up a version control system in a big corporate environment you need user management with users assigned to groups; access control on an individual- and group-basis that also takes into account operations (e.g. a) perhaps only admins can tag. b) read-only vs read-write users); perhaps your access control rules are hierarchical or perhaps they are first-match. You need a server to serve using ssh or http. You need any number of other little and big things. And while some of these may be provided by the Mercurial community in a greater or lesser way, they're not part of Mercurial, and the earlier you recognize that the better.

Note: Some of the missing features might be provided by the associated Kallithea project. Missing features for support of your workflow can be implemented on top of it.

This page mostly does not provide answers, but provides you with the right questions to ask to get you started to solving your particular issues in the right way.

1. Security

1.1. Authorizing Users

See AuthorizingUsers. This page also contains information on autorizing committers vs. pushers and on pushlogging.

1.2. Implications of security on code sharing.

Sharing code among designers while maintaining security is hard work. And one of the key benefits of a DVCS like Mercurial is the ability to share code. So in order to realize these benefits, you really need to do your homework in this area.

2. Workflow

Here are some questions you'll want to think about.

2.1. Named Branches

Named branches are for ever. Barring heroic efforts, they cannot be purged from the system. So even if a developer uses named branches in their private repo for their own development, if they ever want to push to the central server, either you've got to let them create that branch on the central server, or you've got to give a means for them ot use the ConvertExtension to move their changes out of a branch.

2.2. Major Release Branches

2.3. Minor Development Branches

2.4. Extensions

You’ll want to at least look at the following extensions. I’m not going to list ones like "color" that are not specific to a centralized application.

3. The devil is in the details

Some things that you expect to be hard are going to be trivially easy with Mercurial. Almost anything that involves examining history can be accomplished with hg log and revsets. And then the most unexpected things are going to be hard.

3.1. So get a Python Expert

Mercurial native hooks are all written in Python. Anything you want done fast (e.g. grepping through all committed files to verify they meet corporate standards) will need to be done in python. You don't want to be fumbling learning both Mercurial and Python. So get a python expert on board.

3.2. Example devil

For example, tagging nightly builds. Suppose you have a continuous integration system that builds nightly and tags that build with an internal revision number for tracking purposes. Tagging, that's easy, right? Well, a tag is just a commit, and so it's got to be merged with the latest before committing etc. That kind of thing is easy for a person, but needs some pretty specific instruction for an automated CI system. In order to guarantee error-free operation, we ended up with this monstrosity.

    function vcs_tag ()
        #The tag operation is done in a scratchpad repo so that the main repo's changeset is never altered.

        id=$(hg id -i | sed -e 's/+$//g')
        echo "tagging changeset $id with $tag_name"
        hg tag -r $id $tag_name
        if [ $? -ne 0 ] ; then
            echo "ERROR: Tag Failed. rc=$?"
            return 1
        for i in `seq $HG_RETRY_MAX`
            hg push $HGROOT && break
            hg pull --rebase -u $HGROOT
        if [ $i -eq $HG_RETRY_MAX ] ; then
            echo "ERROR: Tag Failed." 1>&2
            hg revert --all
            return 1

        return 0

    function _hg_scratchpad_start ()
        wsroot=`hg root`
        default_path=`hg paths default`
        if [ ! -d $scratchpad ] ; then
            hg clone $wsroot $scratchpad
            echo -e "[paths]\ndefault = $default_path\n" > $scratchpad/.hg/hgrc
        pushd $scratchpad
        hg pull -u $HGROOT
        hg revert --all

    function _hg_scratchpad_end ()

Less monstrous alternative: Use bookmarks, they do not need to be merged. Except that a bookmark is creating a new head and then designers may accidentally update to it. Differently monstrous alternative, but without needing $HG_RETRY_MAX: Let the CI system operate on its own named branch, merge the new changes with hg pull && hg merge --tool internal:local default && hg revert -q --no-backup -a -r default && hg ci -m 'merged default' && hg tag -r default $tag_name && hg push (you could even manually put the tag in the same commit as the merge if you want). If you're already using named branches and have different CI systems running in parallel each monitoring a named branch, you will need a named tag branch per named development branch. -- ThomasArendsenHein 2012-10-05 07:45:36

CorporateMercurial (last edited 2014-12-17 01:19:39 by MadsKiilerich)