Thursday, July 10, 2008

This Week in Bazaar

Here we are again, bringing you the gossip and dirty secrets in the development world of the Bazaar distributed version control system. In this, the 10th week, the series is now under new management, with co-authors John Arbash Meinel, one of the primary developers on Bazaar, and Paul Hummer, who works on integrating Bazaar into Launchpad.

Bundle Buggy

Aaron Bentley has once again been improving his wonderful Bundle Buggy. He just introduced support for multiple projects using a single instance of Bundle Buggy. There are now 5 Bazaar projects using the main bundle buggy instance. (Bazaar, bzr-gtk, Bundle Buggy itself, Bzrtools, and PQM.) Of course, Daniel Watkins has made excellent use of his time, and has managed to crank out lots of updates for PQM. At this point it is code clean up, reducing the dependencies making it easier to set up and install.

Bazaar playground for Gnome

Originally, John Carr set up Bazaar mirrors of all the Gnome modules, which people could then use as a starting point for publishing code and collaborating. This week, the Bazaar playground for gnome was created so that any Gnome developers could be involved in pushing, branching, and sharing code through bazaar. This new server runs Loggerhead for viewing the code committed to these Bazaar branches. Damned Lies is also set up on the playground. This server was also reproduced locally at GUADEC because of the flaky internet connection at the conference, and all those local branches will be moved to the playground shortly.

Weave merging and handling "interesting" history

One of the great things about having a large project like MySQL using your software is that they push and stretch you in ways that you haven't necessarily encountered before. Specifically, their branch workflow looks a bit like a pile of spaghetti. With several long-term maintenance branches, team branches based off of that, and individual developer branches based off of that. Patches have a tendency to travel in unexpected ways (you may go user => team => release 1 => release 2, or you might go release 1 => team => team-2 => release 2, etc). They also are very fond of 'null merging' patches that aren't relevant to the next release. They merge the change and revert the text changes and commit.

Bazaar supports all of this, but it exposes weaknesses in simple 3-way merge logic. Because patches don't flow in anything considered orderly, you don't have the opportunity to select a "clean" base very often. Bazaar has long had an option for doing a "--weave" merge. It didn't receive much attention for a while, and had become rather slow. It turned out to be a good fit for MySQL's workflow, so John has spent a bit of time recently to make the functionality efficient and correct in some specific edge cases. Expect the improvements to show up in the next release.

1 comment:

bignose said...

Looking forward to having tools like Bundle Buggy and PQM a snap to set up, like Bazaar itself :-)