Edgewall Software

Version 12 (modified by adeason@…, 17 years ago) ( diff )

vc-refactoring has been merged with the main branch.

Mercurial Plugin for Trac (#1847)

There is an experimental plugin for Trac 0.9 which enables Mercurial to be used instead of Subversion for the VersioningSystemBackend.

The plugin being experimental, expect some rough edges and a somewhat instable set of features/documentation…

Download and Installation

The plugin itself is available from source:sandbox/mercurial-plugin

Check it out, too:

svn co http://svn.edgewall.com/repos/trac/sandbox/mercurial-plugin mercurial-plugin

and create an "egg" from there (cd hg-plugin; python setup.py bdist_egg). Note that you'll need setuptools

0.6 for that (I used setuptools-0.6a5).

Version mercurial-plugin Trac vc-refactoring Compatible with hg
0.1 r2514 r2511 0.7, tip without 1d7d0c07
r2620 r2620 0.7, tip with 1d7d0c07


The plugin has been tested with recent development versions of Mercurial (upto Changeset 1568:1d7d0c07e8f3 from http://selenic.com/hg) and also Mercurial 0.7 (but this needs at least r2514 of the mercurial plugin). It won't work with earlier versions.

You can download hg from Hg:Download.


The configuration has to be done on the Trac side, there's nothing to do on the Mercurial repository side, except that it should be made available locally.

Setting up a Trac environment

You can either reuse an existing Trac environment, or create a brand new one.

For general instructions, see TracInstall.

The TracAdmin initenv command has been slightly modified in the vc-refactoring code base: in addition to the repository directory, it's also needed to specify the repository type.

For the repository type, specify hg instead of the default svn. For the repository directory, specify the location of the Mercurial repository.

In all case, you <trac_environment>/conf/trac.ini configuration file should have a [trac] section similar to the following:

repository_type = hg
repository_dir = /path/to/my/hg/repository

Note: those installing from 0.9 + the patch on #1847 will still have to specify repository_dir=hg:/path/to/my/hg/repository

Also, currently you still need to explicitely disable the SVN components:

trac.versioncontrol.svn_fs.* = disabled

Note: that constraint will most certainly be lifted in the future

Setting up the mercurial plugin

The TracMercurial-0.1 plugin egg should be added to the plugins folder of the environment.

For general instructions about plugins, see also TracPlugins.

Finally, if you installed an unpacked egg by doing a python setup.py install (useful for development), there's the additional constraint of specifically enabling the plugin:

trac.versioncontrol.svn_fs.* = disabled
hgtrac.* = enabled


The Mercurial support is pretty basic, but works well. I've tested that on the Mercurial repository itself and the performance is quite good, even if there's currently no caching in the database (I'm still not decided if that's a feature or a bug).

For those used to Subversion in general and Subversion repository browsing in Trac in particular, there are a few differences worth noting.

Mercurial Changesets

Changeset Navigation

In Mercurial, the Previous Changeset/Next Changeset navigation is not purely sequential, as it is in Subversion. Instead of a flat history of successive changesets, we actually navigate a DAG of changesets. This means a changeset can have multiple parents (0, 1 or 2) and multiple children as well (0 to n).

Therefore, Previous Changeset is a link to the first parent, and Next Changeset is a link to the first children. In case there are additional parents or children, these are shown as additional changeset properties (Parents or Children), placed below the Author property and above the Message property.

Changeset view, showing multiple parents. Note that the diffs are providing against each parent.

Another additional changeset property is the list of Tags that might be associated with a changeset.

Wiki syntax

The Wiki syntax has been extended a bit, to cope with the hexadecimal notation of hg changesets. E.g [8ef2] would link to the changeset 8ef2ba892518c115170398ec754bd1c27cab271f … Also, it is possible to refer to changesets using the changeset: prefix (or cset: or chgset:, for hgweb compatibility). The tag: prefix can be used to refer to symbolic tags, although this is not a requirement (using. e.g. cset:tip would work too). Finally, the branch: prefix has a special meaning, as this will not select the specified revision, but the head which is reachable from that revision.

TracBrowser changes

The TracBrowser View revision form has been extended with pulldown menus for jumping to a given tag or branch (in Mercurial, a branch within a repository corresponds to a head, i.e. a changeset without children): Browser view, showing the pulldown menu of tags

Bugs and Limitations

There are still a lot of things that can be improved.

Features that Trac+svn has but not currently implemented for Trac+hg

  • History doesn't follow copy/move operations
  • No path history mode (i.e. show all create/delete operations that affected a given path)

Multi-repository support

First and foremost, even if Mercurial allows intra-repository branching, it strongly supports the use of branching by cloning the full repository. Therefore, it is common to have a lot of hg repositories around, each devoted to the implementation of some particular feature.

Trac should support this by the way of multiple repository support within a single environment (see #2086).

Arbitrary diff support

The TracDiff features should be supported by TracMercurial too.

To cache or not to cache?

I happen to like to current database-free implementation of the Mercurial support. It makes it quite easy to change the repository_dir on the fly, and this flexibility is good. Also, hg being remarkably efficient, as everybody knows, the performance is quite good… Except in one case, getting the history of a directory. There, I suspect that the database cache would be quite useful. But I have yet to try on a big repository (e.g. the kernel) with either approach before concluding. In any case, thanks to the vc refactoring, the possibility will be offered to choose between a direct access or a cached access, as it's done for Subversion, svn: (cached) or direct-svn-fs: (direct access).

cboos: I think I made up my mind, now that I tried to browse the kernel repo, it's way too slow without a db! Also, the way the diffs are produced currently (i.e. by Trac, from the full content of the files) is also too slow to be usable on such big repositories (e.g. the kernel changeset fc66195f585a took 7 minutes to be displayed on my machine). We need to get the diffs directly from hg.

Cool Features

Wild ideas section…

Visualize branches and merges

There should be a way to show graphically the branch and merge points within the revision log view. Not something as fancy as hgk, but nonetheless something that will make the changeset relationships immediately obvious.

Search over the source

A search provider could do the equivalent of an hg grep.

Highlight Conflict Resolution

While visualizing changeset diffs for merge changesets, we already show the changes relative to both parents, which helps to understand how conflicts (if any) were solved. But this can be improved by specifically highlighting lines that differs from both parents.

Add your cool feature here…

Implementation Notes

I'm interested in feedback concerning the code, in particular:

  • concerning Trac, there are only a few changes to the standard modules, ChangesetModule (the additional properties) and BrowserModule (the tags and branches support). Those changes could possibly be promoted to the generic level, therefore removing the need for having to explicitely disable the SVN components…
  • concerning Mercurial, I'm pretty sure I did things in a sub-optimal way, as I was discovering the guts of hg while writing the plugin. Therefore, I'll be pleased to get tips for improvements.


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