The New RBCommons is Live!

We’ve been hard at work these past few months on a major update to RBCommons. This update brings all the many improvements found in the latest version of Review Board.

 

A more refined look

New RBCommons UI

RBCommons has a new improved look. We’ve modernized the look, polishing things here and there, bringing a much fresher feel to the service. Don’t worry, though, you won’t have to relearn anything. We’ve kept everything familiar.

Along with the new look is support for mobile! You can now use RBCommons from the phone, letting you catch up on reviews and new changes while on the go. Mobile diff review isn’t there yet, but is something we hope to bring down the road.

 

Archiving/muting review requests

It’s easier now to stay on top of the review requests that really need your attention. By archiving/muting review requests, you can take control over your dashboard and help you get to Inbox Zero (or maybe Dashboard Zero).

Review requests can be archived, hiding them from the dashboard until there’s new activity. They can also be muted, hiding them completely from the dashboard until you opt into seeing them.

Learn more about archiving and muting.

 

Trivial publishes for review requests and reviews

When you’re making a small change on a review request or clarifying something small on a reply, sometimes you don’t want another e-mail to go out to your team. We’re all busy, and every e-mail we add is one more thing to look at.

RBCommons allows for trivial publishes of review requests and replies. The green draft banner for review requests and replies contains a “Send E-Mail” checkbox, checked by default. To prevent sending an e-mail to your team, just uncheck it before hitting “Publish”.

Learn more about trivial publishing.

Expandable diffs in reviews

Inline Diff Expansion

Ever want to see just a bit more of a diff when reading a review, without having to jump into the diff viewer? Now you can! Just hover over the little snippet of the diff to see the new expansion controls. From there, you can start exploring more of the diff, without ever having to leave the page.

 

Live HD thumbnails for file attachments

Thumbnails now show more of the content you want to see. They’re no longer just tiny previews of a file. Now they’re big and vibrant, and come to life when you hover the mouse over them, scrolling through the file to show you even more.

Learn more about Live HD thumbnails.

 

Revisioned file attachments

RBCommons now tracks every revision of a file you upload. Make a change to a graphic, or a PDF document? Simply update the existing file attachment by hovering over the thumbnail and choosing “Update.” Reviewers will be able to go view any revision, and for some files, they can even diff between them!

 

Diffs for text-based and image-based file attachments

Hey, we were just talking about this!

Image and text file attachments with multiple revisions can now be diffed. You’re seeing one example of this here, with a split diff of two images.

Image diffs make it easy to see how a graphic has changed over the revisions. You can view this in several different modes: Two-Up, Difference, Split, or Onion Skin modes.

Text files can be diffed as well, and this works exactly like the diff viewer.

Working with Markdown? Now only can we diff the source text, but the rendered output as well!

Learn more about diffing file attachments.

 

New review group setting to auto-add new users

Got a review group or two that you’d like everyone to be a part of, automatically? We’ve got a new option for that! Pull up the settings for a review group and toggle “Add new users by default.” Any new user you invite to your team will be automatically added to the group.

 

Browsing and posting Bitbucket commits for review on the New Review Request page

New Review Request

Bitbucket users, rejoice! You can now browse for commits in the New Review Request page. If you work in a “post-commit” model, where you push commits and then post for review, you’ll find your workflow’s just gotten a lot easier.

 

WebHooks for integrating with other services

RBCommons can now talk to third-party services and scripts through WebHooks.

WebHooks are used to notify HTTP services on certain actions (new review requests or updates, new reviews, new replies, etc.). You can use this to interface with in-house tools in response to new diffs or discussions, forwarding them on to other services or automating code reviews.

Learn more about WebHooks.

 

API Tokens for safer authentication

If you’re working with scripts or services that need to talk to Review Board, you can now create API Tokens and hand those out, instead of handing out a password. These are safer, and have the added benefit of letting you limit what can be done in that API session.

Learn more about API Tokens.

 

There’s a lot more, but those are the main feature updates. We hope you’ll like the new RBCommons. We know we’ve been looking forward to using it for a long time now.

If you have any questions or hit any problems, you can reach out to us through the “Need help?” button (bottom-right of any page on RBCommons), or e-mail us at support@beanbaginc.com.

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RBTools 0.7.6 is released!

Today’s all-new release of RBTools 0.7.6 comes with over a dozen improvements, from Mercurial and Perforce fixes to new Team Foundation Server capabilities to automation enhancements.

We’ve fixed some character set compatibility bugs with Team Foundation Server. There’s also new support for posting branched/copied files for review (this requires some changes we’ll be bringing to RBCommons in a big update this quarter), excluding files using --exclude, and specifying a custom path to tf.exe.

Perforce users should see more stability in edge cases, like posting deleted symbolic links for review or when dealing with Unicode mismatches between review requests and changesets.

Mercurial users can now safely use relative, negative, or short revisions when specifying commits to post for review.

We’ve improved RBTools’s behavior when running in a non-interactive console, allowed rbt api-get to be used outside of a source tree, and made it easier to work with paginated responses in the Python API.

Performance has been improved when looking up repositories on ClearCase and Subversion.

These are just some of the improvements made in RBTools 0.7.6. For the complete list, see the release notes.

To upgrade RBTools, visit the downloads page.

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Announcing virtualenv-multiver for Python Development

If you’ve worked with virtualenvs for Python before for development/testing, then you may have hit cases where you really wanted multiple versions of Python installed in your virtualenv. Which, you may actually have working, because virtualenv, in theory, supports this. In fact, you’re supposed to be able to do:

$ virtualenv -p python2.6 my-env
$ virtualenv -p python2.7 my-env

That’d be great, if it always worked. It doesn’t. When your virtualenv gets built, bin/python may end up being a link to bin/python2.7 (or what have you), or it may be the contents instead of a link. Subsequent installs may end up overwriting binaries, producing a python2.6 and python2.7that are both Python 2.7.

Oh and it gets worse. On Mac, with a standard Python install, these binaries actually end up invoking ../.Python, a symlink pointing to the system Python. This link is not versioned. So much for multiple Python versions in one virtualenv on the Mac.

A solution!

We fixed this. Now you can run a single command to get a working environment going, without messing with things or running into problems on the Mac. This is virtualenv-multiver.

Now, setting up an environment is as simple as:

$ pip install virtualenv-multiver
$ virtualenv-multiver my-env 2.6 2.7

Couldn’t be easier. This works both for new environments and existing ones.

This is a beta, so there may be some issues here or there. If this is useful to you, give it a try and let us know!

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RBTools 0.7.5 is here!

RBTools 0.7.5 is now out and ready to install.

This is largely a bug fix release, focusing in part on improved compatibility with Windows, Git, Subversion, Mercurial, Perforce, and Team Foundation Server.

On Windows, RBTools will now first look in %HOME% to find any custom .reviewboardrc files, instead of only looking in the Application Data directory, which will be quite helpful with many system configurations. There are also fixes for using Mercurial on Windows.

Non-Git user? You’ve probably seen that annoying but harmless command not found: git error when posting a change. That’s gone now!

For Perforce users, posting submitted changes or files outside of the client view now work. This had regressed in an earlier release, but you should be in good shape now.

Subversion has seen some more Unicode fixes, plus fixes for rbt post --svn-show-copies-as-adds.

Along with all this, we’ve added a new feature for setting a custom search path for .reviewboardrc. You can set your $RBTOOLS_CONFIG_PATH to a list of paths to search, allowing you to make your version in $HOME take precedence over what’s in your repository, and allowing you to work with centralized collections of aliases in your organization.

See the release notes for the complete list of changes.

One more thing: We’ve simplified installation for those of you using pip to install. Our builds are now directly hosted on PyPI, meaning all you now need to do to upgrade is run pip install -U RBTools.

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Introducing new special user permissions

As a team grows, it often becomes the case that more developers need to assume more specialized roles in the code review process. Not just that of developer and reviewer, but also that of a manager of sorts, helping to keep the review process going and to keep the process tidy.

We’re introducing a few new special user permissions, designed to give users a subset of an administrator’s abilities. These can all be set in the Team Administration page by clicking the pencil icon next to team member.

 

 

The first permission, “Can close or reopen review requests from other users,” enables a user to help keep the list of review requests tidy by toggling whether a review request is currently open. If you’re not auto-closing review requests, if you have review requests open from former team members, or if you’re managing an open source project on RBCommons, this can be quite handy.

The second permission, “Can edit review requests from other users,” allows a user to modify a review request on someone else’s behalf. They can upload diffs, edit fields, and so on. The changes currently appear as if they’re from the owner of the review request.

The final permission, “Can post review requests as other users,” is most useful for scripts. In cooperation with RBTools (using rbt post –submit-as), a script can post a review request on another user’s behalf, perhaps when a change is committed to a special branch, or after a sandbox operation passes.

We’ve been piloting these permissions with some projects for a while now. Please let us know how they work for you, and if you have any questions or problems.

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A new stopwatch extension for Review Board

In any business setting, it’s nice to measure as many data points as possible in order to optimize processes. One common request we’ve had over the years has been the ability to know how much time people are spending on code reviews. This can be used to identify problems on both ends of the spectrum. If people are knocking out reviews in just a few seconds, they’re probably not giving the code the attention it needs to find the defects. Likewise, if code reviews are eating up too much time, it can point to problems of accumulated technical debt or the need for training or mentoring.

Stopwatch Extension

We’re working on a new extension that adds a “stopwatch” to the bottom-right of a review request. This can be toggled on and off, and the total time will be recorded in the review. This data is also available in the API for use by external tools, and we’ll be adding some nice reporting of this data to Power Pack.

Stopwatch Extension - Review header

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RBTools 0.7.3 is out, with Unicode fixes and more

Have you been plagued by Unicode errors when posting changes? Subversion 1.7.x compatibility problems? SSL errors with self-signed certs on Python 2.7.9+? Well then, today’s release of RBTools 0.7.3 is for you! … and, well, everyone, really. There’s a lot in here you’re going to want.

First off, the Unicode fixes. We had some Unicode-related breakages in past releases, which have been almost entirely eliminated in this release. If you’ve hit any such error before, give 0.7.3 a try.

There are lots of compatibility and behavioral improvements for Bazaar, ClearCase, CVS, Subversion, Perforce, Plastic, and TFS. Patching, for instance, works a lot more reliably across the board. Subversion 1.7.x and lower should start working again as well.

It’s not all bug fixes, though. We have some new features and command line options:

  • rbt post --stamp will auto-stamp commits with the review request URL.
  • rbt patch -R can be used to revert a patch from a review request.
  • rbt land and rbt stamp now work with Perforce.
  • Perforce supports changesets with imported files from remote depots.
  • API caching behavior and cookie storage can now be disabled/changed for any command. Useful for hooks and other scripts.
  • SSL certificate verification can be disabled on Python 2.7.9+ by using --disable-ssl-verification.

Those are the highlights! For the complete list of changes, see the release notes.

But wait, we have a couple more announcements concerning our releases:

Better installation through pip and Wheels

We’re now officially releasing Python Wheel packages for RBTools, supporting the latest versions of pip. To install RBTools, simply type:

$ pip install --allow-all-external RBTools

(In the future, we’re hoping to eliminate the need for --allow-all-external.)

Signed releases

As of this release, we’re now signing all builds with our official PGP key. Using gpg, you can verify a build was produced by us by importing our public key and then verifying it against the .asc signature files from our downloads.

For example, to verify RBTools-0.7.3.exe was produced by us, download it along with RBTools-0.7.3.exe.asc and run:

$ gpg2 --recv-key 4ED1F993
$ gpg2 --verify RBTools-0.7.3.exe.asc

(Note that if it complains about the key not being certified with a trusted signature, it’s just because you haven’t signed our key. If you see that message, and the primary key fingerprint is 09D5 06DA BB62 A09E 891D A9F3 2852 91B3 4ED1 F993, it’s good!)

We’ll have documentation covering this in more detail soon.

Thanks everyone, and as always, feel free to reach out with any questions.

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RBTools 0.7.2 is here!

It’s been just over a month since RBTools 0.7.1 arrived at stores near you (or probably not). That’s a whole month spent not upgrading RBTools, and we can’t have that. Plus, there were some good bug fixes and new commands we thought we’d send your way. So let’s not waste any more time. Here’s what’s in today’s release of RBTools 0.7.2.

We’ve fixed some issues working with Bitbucket/Beanstalk/Unfuddle. We’ve heard reports from users that posting changes against their Git repositories hosted on these services that just resulted in failure, so we’ve gone ahead and fixed that all up.

There are also two new RBTools commands for you to play with:

  • rbt login will log into RBCommons and store the cookie. rbt post and other commands will still do that, but it’s sometimes handy to have new users log in once in order to ensure they’re all set up properly.
  • rbt logout will log you out of your API session on RBCommons, and delete the cookie.

For the full list of changes, see our release notes.

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RBTools 0.7.1 is released

Today’s release of RBTools 0.7.1 fixes up several issues found in this month’s big 0.7 release, and helps to increase performance when posting changes for review. There are also compatibility fixes for Windows, and improvements to the new Windows installer.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Unicode compatibility fixes when running on Windows.
  • CVS/Subversion diffs are once again generated from the current directory and not the root of the checkout.
  • Several fixes for the Windows Installer.
  • Support for invoking RBTools in a Bash shell on Windows.
  • Fewer API requests are needed to post changes for review.

For the full list of changes, see the release notes.

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