Thursday, May 8, 2008

This Week In Bazaar First Edition

This is the first in a mostly-every-week series of posts about whats been happening in the development world of the Bazaar distributed version control system. The series is co-authored by John Arbash Meinel, one of the primary developers on Bazaar, and Elliot Murphy, Launchpad developer and wanted criminal.

We get to talk about anything we want. This week:
  • What's been happening for a better GUI on Windows
  • What's new in the 1.4 release
  • Importing from other VCS's with bzr fast-import
... details ...

GUI on Windows

We found this guy named Mark Hammond who claims to know how to make python stuff work well on windows. There is an existing GUI tool for Bazaar on Windows called TortoiseBZR now, modeled after TortoiseSVN. If you haven't used a Tortoise before, they are extensions that integrate into Windows Explorer; allowing you to see and control the versioning of your files without needing to change to a separate tool.

Mark has taken a look and proposed a series of enhancements to make the tool work even better. Bazaar already works very well from the Windows command prompt, but we want to provide excellent GUI tools as well. Take a look at the TortoiseBZR web page for screenshots of it in action.

What's new in the 1.4 release

The Bazaar team releases a new version of Bazaar just about every month, with both bugfixes and new features. The bzr-1.4 release came out last Thursday, May 1st.

The major changes for 1.4 include improvements in performance of 'log' and 'status', and a new Branch hook called post-change-branch-tip, which will trigger any time a Branch is modified (push, commit, etc). This should enable server generated emails whenever somebody publishes their changes. Write something cool with it and tell us what you did!

The full list of changes for 1.4 can be found at:
The list of all changes is at

bzr fast-import

Bazaar fast-import is a plugin for bazaar that allows you to import from many different version control systems. The fast-import stuff is intended to support any system that can use the fast-export format. This format was originated by git developers, and quickly adopted elsewhere. So if a source format can generate a "fast-import" stream, you should be able
to import it into Bazaar.

  • CVS
    To convert from cvs, you currently use the cvs2svn converter. Which has a flag to generate a "fast-import" stream.
  • Mercurial
    There is a script called bundled with the plugin (in the exporters/ directory).
  • SVN
    The svn-fast-export script is also bundled with the bzr-fastimport plugin.
  • git
    Bundled with the standard git distribution is the git-fast-export command.
  • Your own exotic system here.
Give fast-import a try. It's mostly designed for 1-time conversions, rather than mirroring, but there are already some rudimentary mirroring capabilities.

That's all for the first installment of "This Week in Bazaar".

(edited for formatting)

1 comment:

Elliot "statik": Murphy said...

Thanks for posting this John, I had fun writing this with you.