HgLab 1.3 has just been shipped. With this release HgLab gets revamped security model as well as several new features, with most prominent being Commit Approvals and Source Code Archve Downloads.
Below are the highlights of HgLab 1.3.
There’s now yet another way to track of All Things HgLab: Atom feeds allow you to get updates directly in your favorite RSS reader. Click the Feed link and you’ll get either a full feed for all your watched projects or for a specific project.
Of course, feeds support Auto Discovery.
Previously, the only way to get source code from a repository was to clone it with Mercurial. While being appropriate for traditional collaboration models, this was a big roadblock in certain scenarios.
See this tiny button?
It allows you to abandon that version-controlled distributed universe and download a plain old ZIP file with all the source code for a particular changeset, branch or tag.
HgLab now has a light-weight approval process that allows teammates to Approve a commit, essentially green-lighting changes.
Later, when browsing commits, HgLab displays the total number approvals for a particular commit as either a gray or a green circle. Gray badge shows how many reviewers have approved a particular change. The badge turns green for the commits that were reviewed and approved by you.
There is a number of changes to the Security Model in this release.
Previously, “Anonymous” user was used to grant public access to a project. This is now replaced by an independent checkbox in Project Settings.
HgLab now splits permissions into two silos: System Permissions and Role Permissions.
System Permissions are assigned to Groups and are (and will be) used to restrict access to system-wide areas of functionality, such as ability to manage Projects.
Role Permissions are, as the name implies, assigned to Roles (which are in turn granted via Team Membership) and are used to restrict narrower areas of functionality, such as ability to manage Repositories and Teams.
Neverending quest for great UI and UX continues. This release features expandable commit messages (see the little ellipsis in Message column in Commits tab), slightly redesigned Compare page and Diffstats and improved language detection for code highlighting.
That’s it for this release, but there’s a lot in the works.
Yesterday it was announced that Microsoft will not be adding support for Mercurial to Team Foundation Server.
I see two reasons why this might have happened.
There is a way of comparing and contrasting Git and Mercurial I came up with recently. Git is simple on the inside (with its ingeniously simple and elegant storage format) but overly complex on the outside (with its cumbersome and often illogical CLI). Mercurial, on the other hand, is quite complex on the inside, but has a refreshingly simple CLI.
This observation has far-reaching consequences.
Git, with its simple and-well documented storage format, makes it easy to do a clean room implementation of Git Core in any programming language. Clean room implementation effectively frees authors of GPL restrictions and allows this code to be used in any closed-source product.
Even if not for a possibility of a clean room implementation, libgit2 (which is what Microsoft uses internally) is licensed under GPLv2 with Linking Exception, so incorporating this library into Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server is a no-brainer technology-wise and licensing-wise.
When it comes to Mercurial, matters are significantly more complex here. Low-level Mercurial internals are documented only to a degree, which makes it impossible to implement Mercurial Core using clean room approach. This means that any reimplementation will automatically be treated as derivative work, which forces it to be licensed under GPL, which in turn prohibits usage of the library in a closed-source commercial project.
It’s unclear to me if this issue can be resolved at all. If Microsoft eventually decides to add support for Mercurial to Team Foundation Server, there are several options for them here:
Comparing absolute numbers of developers using either VCS, Git is indeed more popular than Mercurial, so with Team Foundation Server integrating with Git Microsoft caters for a larger target audience.
Or it does not?
In absolute numbers Git is more popular, but Mercurial is arguably more popular in a corporate world and even more so in companies that are building on Microsoft stack and are using Microsoft products, client and server alike. It’s unlikely that the OSS community is the target market for either Visual Studio or Team Foundation System.
This is a minor point that is unlikely to have influence Microsoft’s decision, but it’s worth mentioning nevertheless.
Mercurial plugin ecosystem is richer than that of Git and, thanks to a nicer API of Mercurial, its extensions seamlessly integrate into Mercurial proper. Most notably, hg-git is significantly simpler to install than its’ Git counterpart, git-remote-hg, with latter being less feature-rich.
Again, this alone is unlikely to have had any significant weight in a decision to decline the UserVoice request, but it might have left Microsoft thinking that this will somehow satisfy us Mercurial aficionados.
All in all, this is an unfortunate piece of news for several thousand developers and several hundred companies. Let’s see what the future holds.
It’s been over a month since HgLab 1.0 and it’s high time for an update, so here goes: HgLab 1.1.
Up until now HgLab only had commit-level discussions. Welcome inline commit discussions:
Discuss with style: inline discussions support Markdown, Emojis and @mentions.
Some teams prefer their mainline branch to be something other than
default. Therein lies a catch: newly cloned repositories gets automatically updated to
default branch and commits often end up in the wrong place.
To solve that, Mercurial 2.4 introduced a special bookmark called
@ to which all fresh clones get updated to. Where does HgLab come into play here? Well, if you change your Mainline Branch to something other than
default (and you don’t happen to have
@ bookmark already), HgLab will manage this oh-so-special marker by itself, allowing you to always be on the correct path.
Your favorite repositories are now even more accessible. Clicking that tiny arrow opens up a handy list of all your Starred Repositories.
Each Repository page now comes with a nice language statistics graph which shows the language breakdown.
Speed is a feature, and I continue to work on improving HgLab performance. This release is no exception: HgLab became much smarter about caching and cache invalidation.
These are the big features in this release, but there’s also a lot of small fixes that contribute to the overall experience: updated icons and
.hgignore templates, improved language detection, numerous UI and UX fixes, tweaks and improvements.
These 19 branches you saw on the screenshots above – they are there for a reason. This is just the beginning, and will be many new and exciting features. Stay tuned!
Today I’m officially launching HgLab 1.0, a self-hosted, behind-the-firewall Mercurial server and source control management system for Windows.
For many companies, hosting an internal source control server and maintaining access to repositories can be a difficult and time consuming process. Now, you can focus on building great software and let HgLab take care of your repository management.
Mercurial has always had excellent Windows support on the client-side. With HgLab, server-side gets equally great treatment. HgLab runs on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and above and requires only Microsoft .NET Framework, Internet Information Services and Microsoft SQL Server: everything you are already familiar with.
What’s more, HgLab integrates seamlessly with your LDAP server and provides all the benefits of centralized user and group management.
HgLab delivers you a central, secure solution to create and manage distributed repositories, on your own servers. Developers can trust that they will find the latest official version of a project. Managers can trust that users’ access to code is appropriate for their role, and assigned with minimal administrative overhead.
This is really big: HgLab has now grown out of its beta pants and turned into a mature, real-world application. Over the past 18 months HgLab has come a long way, but there’s an even longer road ahead. My goal with HgLab is to build state-of-the art code collaboration platform for Mercurial and Windows, and version 1.0 is just the beginning.
About 18 months ago I made a first commit to the HgLab repository. From the get-go I had several major goals in mind:
After 1.5 years in the making, I think I have first two points covered.
HgLab runs on Microsoft Windows Server 2003 and above and only requires .NET Framework, Internet Information Services and (for now) Microsoft SQL Server 2008 (Express edition or any later version will do just fine); it’s trivial to install and upgrade.
On the management side HgLab has a lot to offer too: web-based interface for managing Mercurial repositories and users, integration with ActiveDirectory, roles, groups and teams and much much more.
All in all, it’s been a bumpy ride and I have quite a few war stories to tell about IIS, WiX and .NET Framework. Yet, fast-forward 1 300 commits — and HgLab 1.0 is here.
With this release HgLab will be turning into a commercial product. It’s here for the long haul and I believe it has a much bigger chance of of succeeding if it has people committed to doing the not-so-fun things (as opposed to doing “fun” features), producing a very useful, high-quality and reliable product that you can trust your source code with and that use to do what you do best: build awesome software.
From now on, HgLab will be distributed as an MSI package. This is a much cleaner approach compared to what was available previously. Upgrades are handled automatically, so no more hand-picking which files to delete and which to leave out.
One thing to note here. HgLab itself is compiled as AnyCPU and actually runs as 64-bit process on 64-bit systems, but since there is no such a thing as as “AnyCPU MSI” and since I didn’t want to complicate things by offering two versions of installer, there will only be an x86 MSI.
HgLab will be licensed under a perpetual licensing model. Your license key allows you to use any release of HgLab that was available when you purchased the key, as well as any future releases (bug fixes, enhancements, new features, etc.) for 12 months from the date of purchase. After that 12 months, you can continue to use the version you have forever, or you can choose to renew your license key for another 12 months to continue getting updates.
There will be four licensing tiers for HgLab (plus a full-featured 45-day evaluation license), all providing the same functionality but differing in the number of users who will be able to access the system.
HgLab has now matured into a real application, and it's time for the beta period to come to an end. The current 0.4.x series of releases will be the last beta releases while I tidy a few things up. On November 25th I'll release the final 1.0 version, and this will be a farewell to the beta label.
To everyone who participated in the beta, you have my sincere thanks for helping to make HgLab the product it is today!
Last time I mentioned:
…more work related to improving stability, performance and reliability
What I didn’t mention was security. How thoughtful of me.
There is a regression introduced in 0.4.4 while fixing #345, which results in all projects being available to an Anonymous user as long as there is at least one project where an Anonymous was added as a Team member.
HgLab 0.4.5 fixes this issue.
Please, update to HgLab 0.4.5.
HgLab is nearing its 1.0 release, which means there will be less work put into new features and significantly more work related to improving stability, performance and reliability. Still, there are a couple new features in HgLab 0.4.
As it always is, upgrading HgLab is trivial.
Email notifications go hand in hand with Watched repositories. Whenever someone pushes to any of the repositories you are watching, you’ll get a nice concise email highlighting all the commits with links to pages where you can review each commit in greater detail and discuss it with your team.
Just as mentioned before, you can now discuss commits directly in HgLab. This feature will be serving as a basis for upcoming Pull Requests and Code Reviews.
While discussing commits, you can use Emojis, Markdown formatting and @mentions:
All participants will get subscribed to the discussion and will receive email notifications whenever there is a new post.
defaultbranch. See #314.
Huge thanks to all the beta-testers. Your feedback is truly valuable!