Reposurgeon, for high fidelity source control system migration

The best time to blog about something is when it happens. The second best time is when you remember years later that you should have blogged about it. That’s now.

I’ve worked on complex source control system migrations, moving between various systems, most commonly SVN to Git. There are hundreds or thousands of tools and scripts around the Internet suggested for every plausible migration pair; almost all of which don’t even attempt to solve the whole problem.

The closest I seem to solving the whole problem is reposurgeon:

reposurgeon’s web page

reposurgeon source code on Gitlab

The strength of this tool is that it is intended to be scripted. Rather than doing a single-shot conversion, the workflow is:

  1. Attempt the conversion
  2. Study the results
  3. Tweak the conversion script (which can perform extensive and complex changes to the source code history on its way through)
  4. Repeat until approximately perfect

Teams using an old system continue doing so while the migration is worked on. Only once the migration has been perfected, is it time to cut over.

By scripting, I don’t mean that you, the user, must write scripts to do the basics of source control system history migration; that is the job of the tool. Rather, script to patch up the ugly bits of history in an old system during the translation. For example, in a moment of desperation, did somebody once merge a giant change to the mainline, something like rolling back the last three months of development, to try to get a deployable old build? That’s an easy bit of the old history to leave out during a reposurgeon-powered migration.

During migration you can translate usernames, branch names, details buried inside commit messages, and any other aspect you might wish to clean up programmatically. Think of it as a multi-source code system compatible analog of git-rewrite-branch, except for an entire repository, not a branch.

One major downside, as of the last time I used reposurgeon: it operates in memory, so you’ll need enough RAM for the whole source code history. This can typically be accommodated, even on quite large code bases, by temporarily allocating an extremely large compute instance on your cloud provider.

A dip in the stream

After reading articles about the large and growing popularity of “streamers” on Twitch and YouTube, I wondered what all the hubbub was about. So over the last few weeks, I have dipped into several dozen streams. Mostly on twitch, a little on YouTube. I mostly look for software development/live coding streams, but also watched a few musicians, something that resembled a talk show, a broad category called “just chatting”, several gamers, and a streamer who streams about streaming. I clicked into some popular streams (thousands of viewers) and some with a single digit number of viewers.

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Microsoft Teams for online classes?

Where I work at Oasis Digital, we teach a mix numerous (mostly advanced, developer-oriented) workshop classes. Historically these were mostly in-person, since March 2020 they are all online for obvious reasons.

For online sessions we’ve used various meeting tools, including Zoom, Google Meet, Blue Jeans, and others I’ve forgotten. Sometimes a customer’s IT department has our default choice blocked, we are always on the lookout for alternatives.

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Design your content for effective video

This post is part of a series on demonstrating competence and expertise on video:

Your goal is results, not Minutes Watched

YouTube is full of videos that take 10+ minutes to deliver 30 seconds of information. Why? Because this content is on channels that make money by showing ads. They need each video to be at least 10 minutes, and more minutes watched means more ad revenue.

But that’s not the context I’m writing about. This post series is about demonstrating expertise and competence on video:

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A small-scale, mostly-one-take video production process

This post is part of a series on demonstrating competence and expertise on video:

Create an outline

Outline your video in some detail, and make that outline visible (either on your screen, or printed on paper) during your video recording. Not too much detail, though; the outline shouldn’t take long, perhaps just a few minutes.

Then iterate on the outline, and get feedback from others if the video is important or if you are new to this kind of content. Rearranging text in an outline is tremendously easier than re-recording or video editing, so make the most of this stage.

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