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Introducing Repoman

Q: How do you clone 30 repositories from your personal GitHub accounts and 150 repositories from your organisation GitHub accounts in just one line?

A: repoman --github-user myuser1,myuser2 --github-org myorg1,myorg2 config && repoman init

Q: How do you execute a set of commands against all repositories in just one line?

A: repoman exec 'git stash && git pull --rebase && git stash apply'

I wrote Repoman back in 2011 and I’ve been using it ever since. It was my solution to resolve the annoyances involved with working on multiple machines, multiple OSes, multiple SCMs, and multiple repositories that depend on each other.

Repoman works against a list of repositories listed in .repoman.json file. You can use repoman config to generate a sample file, or add --github-user / --github-org flags to generate a list of GitHub repositories. This .repoman.json file can be placed in either the user home directory or the current directory (your workspace). The rest of Repoman commands like init, get, exec, etc, can then be run from that workspace directory.

Problem: switching between multiple laptop and desktop machines.

After working with multiple machines for a while, I ended up with some repositories existing on only some of the machines, never on all of them. And when I had to use a different machine, then I had to manually clone the repositories that don’t yet exist on that machine. One by one.

With Repoman, I only needed to maintain a .repoman.json file containing all repositories that I worked on, and stored it on a remote repository, then clone it over to all machines. From then on, I could simply repoman init to clone all repositories and repoman get to make sure I have the latest code of all repositories on each machine.

Problem: identifying unfinished changes.

Sometimes I code on the train, on the way to and from work. The thing about coding on the train is that often I had to stop not when I finished a piece of change, but when I arrived at my destination. This resulted in unfinished changes across several repositories on the machine that I used at the time, and I often forgot about those changes until the next time I worked on those repositories again.

With Repoman, I built a habit of running repoman changes to identify unfinished changes before working on anything else.

Problem: working with Git and Subversion repositories.

I had some repositories hosted on GitHub, Gitorious, Bitbucket, and Google Code. This of course meant that I had to switch between Git and Subversion commands.

With Repoman, I only needed to run its simple commands repoman init | get | changes | save | undo, which covers the majority of my coding activities (note: Repoman does not aim to cover all Git and Subversion commands). Those commands are mapped to its Git or Subversion equivalent accordingly.

Problem: executing a custom command on all repositories.

This used to annoy me so much. I had a number of repositories and from time to time I had to add the same file to all of them, let’s say a .travis.yml file or a .gitignore file.

With Repoman, I just needed create the file once at /tmp/file, then run repoman exec ‘cp /tmp/file . && git commit -am “Add file” && git pull –rebase && git push’. Voila, all repositories had the new file.

Problem: grouping repositories by project.

I often had to switch between projects, where each project consisted of several repositories. When I worked on a particular project, I would like to update its repositories to the latest. Ditto when I moved to the next project.

With Repoman, I created a config file for each project, e.g. .project1.json and .project2.json . Then I symlink-ed .repoman.json to the project I work on. Or if I often needed to switch between the projects, then I would use Repoman with custom config file: repoman -c .project1.json get .

Check out the README on GitHub for more usage examples, and npm install -g repoman away!

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