#Confman mercurial extension

Confman provides simple means to specify and record configuration histories. The configurations that are entirely made of tags are called baselines.

The point of baseline maintenance is the ability to reproduce deliverable states.

By also accepting arbitrary changesets, one can record the construction history of a baseline and exchange intermediate steps.

Once you are done reading this overview, you might want to read the tutorial.


  • mercurial
  • git (optional, for managed git repositories)
  • requests python library (optional, to use .tgz or .zip files as repositories)

#Baseline definition

A confman specification is all contained within the .hgconf file.

Example .hgconf file with two managed repositories:

pulluri =
layout = yams
track = yams-version-0.34.0

pulluri =
layout = logilab/common
track = stable = ssh://

The optional track attribute can point to a branch name, tag name, changeset id or a to a revset. This is how the baseline is declared.

Updating the baseline (i.e. providing new values to the track attribute if present) can be performed automatically with the hg cfbaseline command.

#Global settings (hgrc)

The following option can be defined in the [confman] section:

  • hggit (default True): If set to False, the default behavior of cfensureconf will be NOT to use hggit to clone git repositories.

#Commands overview

#Core commands

cfsummary     print a summary of the managed repositories

cfensure      clone, pull and update the managed repositories (according
              to their track value)

cfbaseline    update any track attribute with a tag (if possible)
              or a changeset id

If the track attribute is missing or contains a branch name or a revset, cfbaseline does nothing.

If the track attribute contains a branch name or a revset, cfensure will always pull.

#Utility commands

cfbroadcast   send a shell command to any managed repository

cfpull        pull repositories

cfpush        push repositories up to their current track

cffiles       list tracked files of the managed repositories whose name
              in the working directory matches the given patterns

#Chaining configurations

An application configuration includes the entries of some of its dependencies, for instance a web framework.

Rather than copy-and-pasting configuration entries in each app that depends on the framework, we can build a configuration for the framework and reuse it from the application's configurations.

Hence we have shareable and reusable configurations.

Let's do with a small example:

pulluri =
layout = conf.cubicweb
track = cubicweb-3.19.2
expand.whitelist = cubicweb rql yams logilab-common logilab-database
                   logilab-mtconverter logilab-common

pulluri =
layout = cubes/timeseries
track = cubicweb-timeseries-version-1.10.1

pulluri =
layout = cubes/weathermap
track = 0.2.0

In this, we build a configuration for a weather forecasting app using:

  • the cubicweb configuration maintained by the CubicWeb maintainers,
  • the timeseries cube (a CubicWeb component or plugin),
  • the weathermap final component.

The expand= or expand.whitelist=<...> or lastly expand.blacklist=<...> notations indicate a repository that contain a configuration and should be used by confman as such.

It is also possible to use expand.nested to use the layout of the other project as the place to put the expanded elements. This can be combined with white and black list, .nested just needs to be put before them.

Here's a real-life configuration tree:

conf pythonianfr

#Tarball support

Confman can manage a tarball (.tar.gz or .tar.bz2) as a managed repository.

Note that only basic feature is supported for now: the tarball is downloaded and uncompressed automatically if the corresponding layout is missing.

#Git support

Confman has experimental git support. Top-level configurations must reside in a mercurial repository.

#Guestrepo support

The guestrepo mercurial extension was born at the same time as confman and both provide roughly the same basic services (though, e.g. guestrepo does not handle well recursive configurations).

confman can read and write guestrepo configuration repositories as well as its own.

Additionally, it is possible to expand a guestrepo configuration, as examplified above (the cubicweb configuration is currently maintained with guestrepo and its file format).

When working on a guestrepo configuration, it is possible to use the hg cfbaseline --force-hgconf command to generate a valid confman .hgconf file.