BitBucket migration

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At work, we are currently using Launchpad for project hosting of our proprietary codebase. Launchpad charges $250/year/project for hosting of proprietary projects which is a little steep, and Launchpad/bzr has been falling behind the alternatives in terms of tooling / development / support, so when our Launchpad subscription came up for renewal at the beginning of the month, this caused our somewhat vague plans to switch to something else to crystalize.

I initially assumed that Github/git would be the obvious way to go, but after looking into BitBucket/hg, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that things like hosted CI were available there too. Nobody on our team is much of a git enthusiast to begin with, so using hg seemed like a far more attractive option. This meant figuring out how to do two things: 1) migrate all of our existing bugs, and 2) migrate our existing bzr branches to hg. The former proved to be relatively straightforward: Jonathan wrote a script that used launchpadlib to access the Launchpad API, retrieve the bug data + metadata, and write it out in the BitBucket import format (more on this in another post, or on Jonathan's blog, depending on if I can convince him to write it up or not).

The bzr to hg conversion turned out to be a little more complex. A simple "hg convert" of our trunk branch worked surprisingly well; the trunk history converted correctly (at least as far as I could tell), but more (pleasantly) surprisingly, the branches which were merged into trunk were also reconstructed by the conversion, along with the merges. The conversion relies on the bzr branch nick; this works somewhat like hg branches (it's associated with a commit at the time that you commit), but as bzr does not place as much importance on this label as hg, it is more likely to be wrong by accident (by default the branch nick is just taken from the last component of the path to the branch you are committing in, I believe, and in our case I suspect nobody has ever set the branch nick manually). Among other things, this resulted in 4 different branch names for "trunk", as well as some other oddities like misspelled feature branch names.

(As an aside, I'd like to mention that hg log has far more utility than bzr log, mostly due to the "revsets" feature. Almost all of the inspection I did while debugging the conversion was done on the converted repo using hg, not on the original bzr repo, simply because it was far easier to get the information that way.)

A "branchmap" file solved the problem with differing branches; mapping the different names for "trunk" to "default" made the revision history graph look a lot more reasonable than when I originally did the conversion. I also switched to using --datesort for the conversion at this point; the documentation warns that this may produce a much larger repository than --branchsort (the default), but in my case, the size difference was trivial. I suspect this may only apply in scenarios with back-and-forth merges between long-lived branches, rather than the short-lived topic branches that form the majority of our workflow. I also created an "authormap" file at this point to reconcile differing author identities over the history of our repository. The bzr author identity is a full name/email (eg. "Tristan Seligmann <>", but again, there were various historical oddities here; BitBucket also has the ability to map author identities to BitBucket users, but I decided normalizing during the conversion was a good idea anyway.

The biggest problem I had to deal with (although this was actually one of the first problems I noticed) was that all of these merged branches were still open. Mercurial has the concept of "open" and "closed" branches, with closed branches being hidden by default in most places. A "closed" branch is simply one whose head revision is marked as closing the branch; which of course, none of my branches had, due to being converted from bzr which does not have an equivalent concept. Committing a closing revision to each branch was simple enough to script, but that only lead to more difficulties: 1) a gigantic pile of noise revisions in the history, and 2) a bunch of dangling heads as the new "close" revision was not part of the merge to trunk. Scripting a merge of all of the dangling heads would have produced even more noise, so I looked for a different solution.

Eventually I ran across a patch on the Mercurial mailing list; unfortunately the thread in which it was posted never went anywhere, but the patch still worked. What this patch allowed me to do was after the initial conversion, run another hg-to-hg conversion in which I marked the last branch revision before the merge to trunk as closing the branch. The full conversion process now looked something like this:

hg convert --datesort --branchmap branchmap --authormap authormap Fusion Fusion-hg-unspliced
cd Fusion-hg-unspliced
hg log --template "{node} close\n" -r "head() and not branch(default)" > ../splicemap
cd ..
PYTHONPATH=$HOME/hg-patched python $HOME/hg-patched/hg convert --splicemap splicemap Fusion-hg-unspliced Fusion-hg

This was good enough for a trunk conversion, but what about open branches that aren't yet merged into trunk? We could have held off until we were able to merge all of these branches, but that seemed like a lot of work (although we did merge as many outstanding branches as possible). Fortunately hg convert can operate in an incremental way; during the conversion, the mapping from source revs to destination revs is stored in dest/.hg/shamap; the only wrinkle was my two stage-conversion process. What I needed was a way to map the original bzr revisions to the hg revisions in the second repository. In order to accomplish this, I wrote a small Python script to merge the two mappings:

With the help of this script, I could now convert other branches:

# Only take the bzr revisions
grep '@' Fusion-hg-unspliced/.hg/shamap > shamap
python shamap Fusion-hg/.hg/shamap > shamap-spliced
mv shamap-spliced Fusion-hg/.hg/shamap

# Now let's convert a branch
hg convert --branchmap branchmap --authormap authormap Fusion-some-branch Fusion-hg

In summary, the process, while hardly trivial, worked out a lot better than I had initially expected.

EDIT: I forgot to mention in the original draft: We first started thinking about moving away from Launchpad at the beginning of September, and completed the migration in the last week, so the entire process took us less than a month of part-time discussion / work.

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