Revision Control with Arch: Introduction to Arch
Of course, while you work on your branch, development may have continued on the original archive. Running tla update fetches changes only from your local branch and not the original project. To fold in changes from upstream, you need to star-merge:
$ tla star-merge \ firstname.lastname@example.org/lnx-bbc--stable--2.1
In the event of conflicts (situations where both your branch and the upstream project have changes to the same lines of code), Arch uses the standard patch method of creating .orig and .rej files for each file that has conflicts. It is a good idea to use the find utility to seek out any rejects before committing your star-merge.
You may have noticed that revisions are named either base-0 or patch-#, where # is the number of patches to base-0 that must be applied. Arch uses a log-structured archive format, so that archive operations only ever add information to a project. This means that for big projects with many revisions, it can take a long time for certain tasks.
To speed up operations, you can make a snapshot of a given revision. Arch snapshots are simply a compressed tarball of a checked-out revision. When a checkout or other operation is performed, Arch looks for the highest-numbered snapshot and applies any necessary patches from there:
$ tla cacherev
Once this is finished, you can run tla cachedrevs to see what revisions have snapshots within your archive:
Because you do not always have access to create snapshots in an archive, it can be useful to make a local cache to speed up file operations. Arch provides a second kind of cache, called a library, that stores copies of checked-out files from various revisions. This is especially helpful for remote archives, because it means you do not even need to download the base snapshot revision before applying changesets:
$ mkdir ~/LIBRARY $ tla my-revision-library ~/LIBRARY $ tla library-config --greedy ~/LIBRARY $ tla library-add \ email@example.com/lnx-bbc--stable--2.1
This library is not small, with the example above comprising over 78MB as of June 2004. The advantage over a slow link, however, is well worth the trouble. In addition, laptops often have slow ATA hard drives, and involved archive operations can be a drag as the drivers use up plenty of CPU cycles. A greedy (auto-updating) Arch library can make your revision control operations quicker and more responsive, even for local archives.
In the next article in this series, you'll learn how to make publicly available mirrors so that upstream developers can star-merge back from your branches. In addition, you'll learn how to cherry-pick changesets from a busy branch and how to use GnuPG to sign your changesets cryptographically for security purposes.
The third and final installment of this series will describe centralized development techniques with Arch. You'll learn how to manage a shared access archive using OpenSSH's SFTP protocol and how to write scripts to perform automated tasks on your archives.
Resources for this article: /article/7752.
Nick Moffitt is a Linux professional living in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is the build engineer for the LNX-BBC Bootable Business Card distribution of GNU/Linux and the author of the GAR build system. When not hacking, he studies the history of urban public transportation.
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