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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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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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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An effective RBTools workflow for Git

One of the beautiful things about Git is that you have so many ways of making it work for you. This is also one of the frightening things about Git, particularly if you’re just starting out. There’s loads of documentation and blog posts covering all the ways you can use Git to manage your code or shoot yourself in the foot.

A question we’re often asked is how Git is supposed to be used with Review Board or RBCommons.

“How should I post changes,” they ask. “How should I land them?”

“Well,” we say, “that’s up to you… but here’s how we do it.”

One branch per review request

Branches in Git are pretty great. They’re light-weight, and you can really choose when and how to use them.

What we like to do is have one branch for every review request we’re still working with. Maybe they’re branching off of master, or maybe off of another change you have up for review… doesn’t matter.

Create the branch, and create as many commits on it as you want. You’re going to post these all for review under one review request. For our example, we’ll use 2 commits.

$ git checkout -b my-branch-1 master
$ vim foo.py
$ git commit -a
$ vim bar.py
$ git commit -a

Now let’s create another branch off of that, and make one commit here. This will be for your second review request.

$ git checkout -b my-branch-2
$ vim foo.py
$ git commit -a

Your tree now looks like this:

o [my-branch-2]
|
o [my-branch-1]
|
o
|
o [master] [origin/master]
|

Great, let’s post!

We’ll post that first change for review (my-branch-1). Since it’s based off of origin/master, this will be easy (since by default, that’s what’s diffed against). We just post like so:

$ git checkout my-branch-1
$ rbt post
Review request #1001 posted.

https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1001/
https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1001/diff/

Excellent. If you go to that first URL, you’ll see your summary and description filled in from your commit messages. You can edit these to your liking.

If your server has any default reviewers set up, they’ll be assigned. You might also want to fill in some bug, add some testing information. Do whatever you want to do there and publish the review request.

Now sit back and relax and… oh wait, you have a second change ready for review! Thanks to Git and RBTools, you don’t have to wait on that. Let’s post that one too.

$ rbt post my-branch-1..my-branch-2
Review request #1002 posted.

https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1002/
https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1002/diff/

What you’re doing here is posting all the commits on my-branch-2 that were made since my-branch-1. No need to push my-branch-1 first, or really worry about it in any way.

You’ll probably want to set the Depends On field to point to your other review request, as a hint to any reviewers deciding which to review first.

Oh, here’s some short-hand. If you’re already on my-branch-2, you can make use of HEAD instead of spelling out my-branch-2. In this case, this branch only has one commit, so you could also leave out my-branch1... All of these are therefore equivalent:

$ rbt post HEAD
$ rbt post my-branch-1..HEAD
$ rbt post my-branch-1..my-branch-2

This is probably familiar to you if you’re used to Git. You can use any Git SHA/tag/branch/revision range you want when calling rbt post.

Note: If you’re posting against a remote branch other than origin/master, you’ll need to either pass --tracking-branch=myremote/mybranch on any RBTools command, or set TRACKING_BRANCH = "myremote/mybranch" in .reviewboardrc. The remote must match the configured repository on Review Board.

Need to make some changes? -u to the rescue!

So someone found a flaw in your otherwise perfect code. Happens to the best of us. In both review requests, you say? Okay, we’ll let that slide for now.

Let’s update the first change. Lots of options here. You can make a new commit with the fixes, or you can amend the commit.

If it’s just a fix made in a previously un-pushed commit, we like to amend. Your choice.

$ git checkout my-branch-1
$ vim bar.py
$ git commit -a --amend
$ rbt post -u
Review request #1001 posted.

https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1001/
https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1001/diff/

Now on to the second. We’ll probably want the latest from my-branch-1 as well, so we can rebase or merge. We like to rebase when this stuff is still in flux and not yet pushed, and we like to merge when the history starts to matter (that is, when the code is in some kind of decent, landable shape).

Again, your call.

$ git checkout my-branch-2
$ git rebase my-branch-1
$ vim foo.py
$ git commit -a --amend
$ rbt post -u HEAD
Review request #1002 posted.

https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1002/
https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1002/diff/

The -u flag updates an existing review request that matches your commit message. If you’ve modified the summary or description in any way, it may prompt you for any review requests that mostly match. Just say yes or no.

Great, publish those changes. Eventually the code will be perfect.

Got your “Ship It!”? Time to land!

RBTools 0.7 and higher comes with a nifty little command, rbt land. This command takes a branch, verifies that it’s been reviewed, and lands the changes.

Let’s land both of your branches, one after the other.

$ git checkout master
$ rbt land --dest=master --push my-branch-1
$ rbt land --dest=master --push my-branch-2

This will verify that my-branch-1 is approved (at least one “Ship It!” and no open issues). It will then merge my-branch-1 into master, push it, and delete the old branch. Then it’ll verify, merge, push, and delete my-branch-2.

Each branch you land will be merged into master, with a merge commit containing the summary, description, bug numbers, and review request URL. If you want to instead squash each branch into a single commit on master, you can use --squash.

You can use --dry-run to see what will happen without actually changing your tree. Useful when you first start off.

You can also edit the commit message using --edit, or leave out --push if you don’t want to push the branch, or add --no-delete-branch if you don’t want to delete the branches. You can also set the default branch to land into. The documentation goes into all the options that are available.

Closing out landed review requests

We like to set up our review requests to auto-close when pushing commits. This is designed to work with rbt land.

When you land a change, the commit message will contain a line saying something like:

Reviewed at https://reviewboard.example.com/r/1001/

The auto-close hooks will see that and automatically close your review request, so you don’t have to.

And that’s how we do it.

There’s really a lot of options here. Some people push changes and then use the web UI to post them for review. Some people generate their own diffs and upload them. Some like to merge their own branches.

That’s all a lot of work, though. Our method give us:

  • Nice code organization, since every review request has its own dedicated branch.
  • Fast posting and updating of review requests.
  • Less mess. No extra branches sticking around, and review requests are automatically closed.
  • Confidence that every landed change has been approved. No slip-ups with pushing the wrong branch.

Give it a try!

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