Mercurial

(26)
4.3 out of 5 stars

Mercurial is a free, distributed source control management tool. It efficiently handles projects of any size and offers an easy and intuitive interface.

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Mercurial review by <span>Rory D.</span>
Rory D.
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Use daily for managing main company codebase

What do you like best?

Mercurial has all the features of a good distributed revision control system. Not only is it incredibly useful as a collaboration tool, I find the ability to track changes and rollback to a specific revision invaluable for working by myself too. Mercurial lets you easily see, down to each line of code, when it was first introduced and why, and tools like hg bisect make tracking down bugs much faster. There are many good graphical frontends such as TortoiseHg and SourceTree that make using Mercurial easier, as well as integration with most popular IDEs such as Visual Studio, Eclipse and IntelliJ.

What do you dislike?

The biggest issue we've had with Mercurial is the lack of a built-in system for file locking, which is a necessity when working with large binary files that can't be merged. Because of this we still use Perforce for some projects, although there doesn't seem to be any other distributed version control system that handles this issue as it's inherent in the distributed model, which in turn brings many benefits.

Recently Mercurial seems to be falling by the wayside in terms of support compared to git, which has a very similar feature set. This is probably just due to the popularity of GitHub, but the trend in external tools, editors and IDEs seems to be to support git first.

Performance in handling large files is still subpar when compared to Perforce, although again this may be an underlying architectural issue to do with the distributed vs centralised model. Overall performance is still very good.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Honestly its feature set at this point is so similar to git that I don't see any reason to switch if you're already using that. Starting a new project or coming from another system such as SVN, it is definitely worth considering, and there are scripts to convert repositories from SVN, git and most other popular services while retaining full history.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

At my work we have dozens of Mercurial repositories for most of our code projects that aren't using git. It has become an essential part of our workflow working and collaborating with each other. We also use Jenkins CI and have a server set up to monitor several repositories for changes, which can automatically trigger builds and unit test runs.

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Mercurial review by <span>Elifarley C.</span>
Elifarley C.
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Powerful yet easier to use and administer than Git

What do you like best?

Ease-of-use when performing operations like branching, merging, rebasing, reverting file changes, stripping commits, access control to files and branches based on user names and groups.

Besides that, it's very well written (in Python), modular, and easy to extend / modify.

What do you dislike?

Not as wildly known as Git, and even though it has support for git-based repositories as well, it's got some rough edges at that.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Don't be afraid to use Mercurial just because it was not created by Linus Torvalds!

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We needed to have easier control over branching and merging operations, and we also needed better user access control to files and branches.

What Version Control Systems solution do you use?

Thanks for letting us know!
Mercurial review by <span>Andrew L.</span>
Andrew L.
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Great for personal projects

What do you like best?

I like how simple the commands are compared to git. It's a distributed version control software, so it gives you that power. When git is too confusing or overkill, mercurial is very nice. Mercurial also has measures in place that prevent you from shooting yourself in the foot.

What do you dislike?

With such wide adoption of git, mercurial can begin to lag behind on some of its plugins, especially those that allow interoperability with different repos. If you're using mercurial just as-is with it's own repos, you should enjoy it quite well. The way you use mercurial differs from how you'd use git by subtle means, so it's a bit tricky to grasp at first.

Recommendations to others considering the product

If you're not good at git, but want to get off of SVN and don't want to invest so much time in learning it, try mercurial. I think it's a great tool. I just both git and mercurial interchangeably

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

I use it for my personal projects, and those with small developers working on it simultaneously. I'd imagine it'd scale well, as Facebook is using it for massive things. But I only use it with that. The benefits is the simplicity, WAY easier to use than git.

Mercurial review by <span>Christophe M.</span>
Christophe M.
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Mercurial is a powerful, portable, and easy to use distrubuted version control system

What do you like best?

Mercurial is an Open Source very powerful DVCS. It is at the level of Git but with a much simpler user interface and one which provides a smooth transition from a centralized system like Subversion to a DVCS. It is written in Python and is thus portable: Linux but also MacOS, Windows are fully supported.

What I most like in Mercurial is its very gradual learning curve: even if you are not a version control specialist you can easily set it up for personal or group usage.

However, you can also add powerful extensions: rebase, transplant, bisect, large files, etc. You can use the phase mechanism to decide whether it is safe or not to allow history rewriting, you can install and use TortoiseHg, a very intuitive portable GUI, etc.

Also, a service such as bitbucket provides a web service to collaborate with your friends or colleagues on code with pull requests, as they have been popularized by Github.

What do you dislike?

What I dislike most in Mercurial is that.. it is not more widely use!

Git is becoming very popular, even in companies previously using Subversion, Perforce, or Teamwork. People know git commands and so have difficulties with mercurial differences in: branches philosophy (Mercurial branches are more long-lived, while lightweight branches like in Git are similar to bookmarks in Mercurial), fetch/pull commands which are opposed in Mercurial and Git, etc. If you are heavily using both, like I do, you need to think twice before pulling or fetching! And even more when undoing mistakes, or you run the risk of loosing data.

Besides this lack of popularity which sometimes makes it difficult to work with others, Mercurial does not really have shortcomings in my honest opinion.. It "just works"!

Recommendations to others considering the product

I very recommend the use of Mercurial, one of the most powerful and easy to use DVCS currently available.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Version Control is a service of paramount importance for any software producing work: being able to merge and revert changes, work together, review changes, find bugs with bisect, etc. With web services such as Bitbucket you can in addition collaborate with other developers worldwide.

Mercurial review by <span>Eric M.</span>
Eric M.
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Used as a primary DVCS to replace Subversion

What do you like best?

Unlike similar tools (Git), Mercurial is incredibly easy to use and polished. It gives you the benefit of running a _distributed_ version control system without the hassle of needing to be a command line expert. On Mac, both I and the team used the command line frequently, but we learned on Windows with an amazing GUI client (Tortoise).

What do you dislike?

The hosting options for community Mercurial projects aren't as polished as those for Git. Everyone knows (and likely uses) GitHub. Mercurial is limited to self-hosting or less-polished tools like BitBucket or (soon to be defunct) Google Code.

Recommendations to others considering the product

Also learn at least one other VCS, distributed or otherwise. Git is a great comparison because it aims to solve the same problems as Mercurial (only in a different fashion). Subversion and Team Foundation are great centralized VCS projects that help illustrate the key differences between the centralized and distributed workflows.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

We had multiple developers working on a single, legacy codebase who would frequently step on one another's changes in a centralized VCS. Mercurial helped us quickly ramp up with a distributed workflow without the learning curve required for more granular (read: command line-based) tools.

Mercurial review by <span>Alexander R.</span>
Alexander R.
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The best version control system out there

What do you like best?

* powerful branching model (named branches, bookmarks)

* straightforward conceptual model and philosophy, especially compared to Git

* simple and intuitive command-line interface – modular commands and easy-to-discover new features

* understandable and concise documentation (help command, man page)

* easy to learn and properly understand, for above reasons

* excellent hg-git bridge that allows pulling and pushing to Git repositories easily, as if they were Hg repositories (e.g. GitHub)

* helpful IRC channel and generally friendly user base

What do you dislike?

* extension framework requires knowledge of Python

* harder to find developers who are comfortable with it – despite it being the easiest and most comfortable-to-use VCS in my experience, people default to Git & GitHub, where all the hype has been in recent years

Recommendations to others considering the product

Mercurial simply feels natural to use, and does everything you'd ever want it to do. Don't just use Git because it's cool and popular – Mercurial is equally powerful, just as fast for most things, and without a lot of the pains of Git.

What business problems are you solving with the product? What benefits have you realized?

Mercurial solves in a simple and intuitive manner the standard problem of multiple persons working on the same set of files (usually source code) in a flexible and distributed way.

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