This page is primarily intended for developers of Mercurial.

Bookmarks Plan

/!\ This is a DRAFT for discussion, and does not represent any firm decisions on future behavior.

Original draft by KevinBullock.

A plan to smooth out the usage of bookmarks as short-lived branches (a.k.a. feature branches). This covers several facets of bookmarks that have been discussed recently (June 2012) on the mailing list:

1. Discussions

For context and other proposals that have been made on the -devel list and elsewhere, see the following:

2. Removing current/active dichotomy

As of 2.4, a bookmark is 'current' if it's the one listed in .hg/bookmarks.current, and 'active' if it is both current and the working directory parent. This creates problems like bug 3682, and is tracked separately as bug 3683.

The resolution implemented in 2.5 is this:

Keep the 'current' bookmark 'active' even if it gets moved by a pull, and make hg update update to the active bookmark. An explicit hg update REV where REV is not the current bookmark would deactivate the current bookmark (remove .hg/bookmarks.current). (./)

hg summary needs to be updated to indicate when an update would move to the active-but-moved bookmark. See .

The code should also be cleaned up so that method and variable names reflect the new semantics.

3. Introducing Bookmarks Into Your Workflow

mpm posed the following problem: Alice and Bob are working on a branch. Alice updates to the branch head and commits, then starts some experimental work. She commits and bookmarks her work as alice-work. When Bob pulls and updates, he should move forward one commit. Instead he gets everything in alice-work, which is now the branch head.

To solve this, I propose:

Adding the first bookmark to any named branch also creates an implicit default bookmark on that named branch, with the same name as the branch[?]. This implicit per-named-branch default is created regardless of whether the bookmark was added by the bookmark command, push, pull, or clone.

The implicit bookmark for the current branch is treated as active if no other bookmark is active.

No implicit bookmark is created on any named-branch without other bookmarks.

4. Command Behavior with Bookmarks

4.1. bookmark

4.2. clone

4.3. pull

If you don't want to expose the bookmarks, then mark the changesets secret; this leads us to:

4.4. commit

4.5. push

The above proposed behavior is a compromise between local-only bookmarks and topic-branch bookmarks. Those who are used to topic branches in Git are also used to naming them explicitly to push them. And to quote: "Yes, push and pull are definitely asymmetrical. This should be no surprise to anyone who's used a rope." (

4.6. update

4.7. merge

4.8. rebase

5. See Also

CategoryDeveloper CategoryNewFeatures

BookmarksPlan (last edited 2015-06-12 10:48:17 by Pierre-YvesDavid)