README_REPOSITORY
author paulson <lp15@cam.ac.uk>
Thu, 17 Sep 2020 18:48:06 +0100
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Important notes on Mercurial repository access for Isabelle
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===========================================================
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Quick start in 30min
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1a. Linux and Mac OS X: ensure that Mercurial is installed
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    (see also https://www.mercurial-scm.org)
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1b. Windows: ensure that Cygwin64 with curl and Mercurial is installed
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    (see also https://www.cygwin.com)
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2. Clone repository (bash shell commands):
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    hg clone https://isabelle.in.tum.de/repos/isabelle
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    cd isabelle
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    ./bin/isabelle components -I
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    ./bin/isabelle components -a
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    ./bin/isabelle jedit -l HOL
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    ./bin/isabelle build -b HOL  #optional: build session image manually
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3. Update repository (bash shell commands):
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    cd isabelle
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    hg pull -u
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    ./bin/isabelle components -a
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    ./bin/isabelle jedit -l HOL
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4. Access documentation (bash shell commands):
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    ./bin/isabelle build_doc -a
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    ./bin/isabelle doc system
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Introduction
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------------
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Mercurial https://www.mercurial-scm.org belongs to source code
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management systems that follow the so-called paradigm of "distributed
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version control".  This means plain versioning without the legacy of
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SVN and the extra complexity of GIT.  See also
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https://www.mercurial-scm.org/learn
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Mercurial offers some flexibility in organizing the flow of changes,
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both between individual developers and designated pull/push areas that
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are shared with others.  This additional freedom demands additional
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responsibility to maintain a certain development process that fits to
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a particular project.
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Regular Mercurial operations are strictly monotonic, where changeset
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transactions are only added, but never deleted or mutated.  There are
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special tools to manipulate repositories via non-monotonic actions
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(such as "rollback" or "strip"), but recovering from gross mistakes
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that have escaped into the public can be hard and embarrassing.  It is
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much easier to inspect and amend changesets routinely before pushing.
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The effect of the critical "pull" / "push" operations can be tested in
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a dry run via "incoming" / "outgoing".  The "fetch" extension includes
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useful sanity checks beyond raw "pull" / "update" / "merge", although
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it has lost popularity in recent years.  Most other operations are
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local to the user's repository clone.  This gives some freedom for
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experimentation without affecting anybody else.
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Mercurial provides nice web presentation of incoming changes with a
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digest of log entries; this also includes RSS/Atom news feeds.  There
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are add-on history browsers such as "hg view" and TortoiseHg.  Unlike
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the default web view, some of these tools help to inspect the semantic
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content of non-trivial merge nodes.
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Initial configuration
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---------------------
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The main Isabelle repository can be cloned like this:
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  hg clone https://isabelle.in.tum.de/repos/isabelle
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This will create a local directory "isabelle", unless an alternative
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name is specified.  The full repository meta-data and history of
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changes is in isabelle/.hg; local configuration for this clone can be
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added to isabelle/.hg/hgrc, but note that hgrc files are never copied
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by another clone operation.
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There is also $HOME/.hgrc for per-user Mercurial configuration.  The
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initial configuration requires at least an entry to identify yourself
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as follows:
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  [ui]
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  username = ABC
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Isabelle contributors are free to choose either a short "login name"
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(for accounts at TU Munich) or a "full name" -- with or without mail
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address.  It is important to stick to this choice once and for all.
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The machine default that Mercurial produces for unspecified
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[ui]username is not appropriate.
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Such configuration can be given in $HOME/.hgrc (for each home
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directory on each machine) or in .hg/hgrc (for each repository clone).
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Here are some further examples for hgrc.  This is how to provide
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default options for common commands:
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  [defaults]
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  log = -l 10
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This is how to configure some extension, which is called "graphlog"
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and provides the "glog" command:
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  [extensions]
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  hgext.graphlog =
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Shared pull/push access
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-----------------------
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The entry point https://isabelle.in.tum.de/repos/isabelle is world
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readable, both via plain web browsing and the hg client as described
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above.  Anybody can produce a clone, change it locally, and then use
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regular mechanisms of Mercurial to report changes upstream, say via
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mail to someone with write access to that file space.  It is also
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quite easy to publish changed clones again on the web, using the
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ad-hoc command "hg serve -v", or the hgweb.cgi or hgwebdir.cgi scripts
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that are included in the Mercurial distribution, and send a "pull
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request" to someone else.
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The downstream/upstream mode of operation is quite common in the
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distributed version control community, and works well for occasional
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changes produced by anybody out there.  Of course, upstream
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maintainers need to review and moderate changes being proposed, before
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pushing anything onto the official Isabelle repository at TUM.  Direct
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pushes are also reviewed routinely in a post-hoc fashion; everybody
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hooked on the main repository is called to keep an eye on incoming
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changes.  In any case, changesets need to be understandable, both at
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the time of writing and many years later.
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Push access to the Isabelle repository requires an account at TUM,
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with properly configured ssh to isabelle-server.in.tum.de.  You also
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need to be a member of the "isabelle" Unix group.
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Sharing a locally modified clone then works as follows, using your
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user name instead of "wenzelm":
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  hg out ssh://wenzelm@isabelle-server.in.tum.de//home/isabelle-repository/repos/isabelle
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In fact, the "out" or "outgoing" command performs only a dry run: it
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displays the changesets that would get published.  An actual "push",
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with a lasting effect on the Isabelle repository, works like this:
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  hg push ssh://wenzelm@isabelle-server.in.tum.de//home/isabelle-repository/repos/isabelle
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Default paths for push and pull can be configured in
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isabelle/.hg/hgrc, for example:
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  [paths]
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  default = ssh://wenzelm@isabelle-server.in.tum.de//home/isabelle-repository/repos/isabelle
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Now "hg pull" or "hg push" will use that shared file space, unless a
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different URL is specified explicitly.
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When cloning a repository, the default path is set to the initial
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source URL.  So we could have cloned via that ssh URL in the first
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place, to get exactly to the same point:
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  hg clone ssh://wenzelm@isabelle-server.in.tum.de//home/isabelle-repository/repos/isabelle
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Simple merges
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-------------
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The main idea of Mercurial is to let individual users produce
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independent branches of development first, but merge with others
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frequently.  The basic hg merge operation is more general than
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required for the mode of operation with a shared pull/push area.  The
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"fetch" extension accommodates this case nicely, automating trivial
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merges and requiring manual intervention for actual conflicts only.
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The fetch extension can be configured via $HOME/.hgrc like this:
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  [extensions]
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  hgext.fetch =
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  [defaults]
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  fetch = -m "merged"
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To keep merges semantically trivial and prevent genuine merge
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conflicts or lost updates, it is essential to observe to following
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general discipline wrt. the public Isabelle push area:
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  * Before editing, pull or fetch the latest version.
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  * Accumulate private commits for a maximum of 1-3 days.
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  * Start publishing again by pull or fetch, which normally produces
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    local merges.
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  * Test the merged result, e.g. like this:
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      isabelle build -a
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  * Push back in real time.
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Piling private changes and public merges longer than 0.5-2 hours is
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apt to produce some mess when pushing eventually!
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The pull-test-push cycle should not be repeated too fast, to avoid
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delaying others from doing the same concurrently.
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Content discipline
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------------------
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The following principles should be kept in mind when producing
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changesets that are meant to be published at some point.
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  * The author of changes needs to be properly identified, using
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    [ui]username configuration as described above.
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    While Mercurial also provides means for signed changesets, we want
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    to keep things simple and trust that users specify their identity
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    correctly (and uniquely).
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  * The history of sources is an integral part of the sources
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    themselves.  This means that private experiments and branches
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    should not be published by accident.  Named branches are not
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    allowed on the public version.  Note that old SVN-style branching
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    is replaced by regular repository clones in Mercurial.
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    Exchanging local experiments with some other users can be done
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    directly on peer-to-peer basis, without affecting the central
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    pull/push area.
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  * Log messages are an integral part of the history of sources.
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    Other people will have to inspect them routinely, to understand
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    why things have been done in a certain way at some point.
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    Authors of log entries should be aware that published changes are
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    actually read.  The main point is not to announce novelties, but
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    to describe faithfully what has been done, and provide some clues
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    about the motivation behind it.  The main recipient is someone who
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    needs to understand the change in the distant future to isolate
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    problems.  Sometimes it is helpful to reference past changes
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    formally via changeset ids in the log entry.
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  * The standard changelog entry format of the Isabelle repository
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    admits several (somehow related) items to be rolled into one
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    changeset.  Each item is then described on a separate line that
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    may become longer as screen line and is terminated by punctuation.
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    These lines are roughly ordered by importance.
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    This format conforms to established Isabelle tradition.  In
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    contrast, the default of Mercurial prefers a single headline
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    followed by a long body text.  The reason for that is a somewhat
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    different development model of typical "distributed" projects,
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    where external changes pass through a hierarchy of reviewers and
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    maintainers, until they end up in some authoritative repository.
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    Isabelle changesets can be more spontaneous, growing from the
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    bottom-up.
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    The web style of https://isabelle.in.tum.de/repos/isabelle
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    accommodates the Isabelle changelog format.  Note that multiple
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    lines will sometimes display as a single paragraph in HTML, so
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    some terminating punctuation is required.  Do not squeeze multiple
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    items on the same line in the original text!
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Testing of changes (before push)
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--------------------------------
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The integrity of the standard pull/push area of Isabelle needs the be
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preserved at all time.  This means that a complete test with default
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configuration needs to be finished successfully before push.  If the
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preparation of the push involves a pull/merge phase, its result needs
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to covered by the test as well.
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There are several possibilities to perform the test, e.g. using the
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Isabelle testboard at TUM.  In contrast, the subsequent command-line
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examples are for tests on the local machine:
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  ./bin/isabelle build -a  #regular test
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  ./bin/isabelle build -a -o document=pdf  #test with document preparation (optional)
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  ./bin/isabelle build -a -j2 -o threads=4  #test on multiple cores (example)
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See also the chapter on Isabelle sessions and build management in the
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"system" manual. The build option -S is particularly useful for quick
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tests of individual commits, e.g. for each step of a longer chain of
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changes, but the final push always requires a full test as above!
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Note that implicit dependencies on Isabelle components are specified
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via catalog files in $ISABELLE_HOME/Admin/components/ as part of the
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Mercurial history.  This allows to bisect over a range of Isabelle
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versions while references to the contributing components change
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accordingly.  Recall that "isabelle components -a" updates the local
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component store monotonically according to that information, and thus
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resolves missing components.