Thursday, June 25, 2015

Git 2.5-rc0 early preview

An early preview of the upcoming Git 2.5 has been tagged as v2.5.0-rc0. It is comprised of 492 non-merge commits since v2.4.0, contributed by 54 people, 17 of which are new faces.

Among notable new features, some of my favourites are:

  • A new short-hand <branch>@{push} denotes the remote-tracking branch that tracks the branch at the remote the <branch> would be pushed to.
  • A heuristic we use to catch mistyped paths on the command line git cmd revs pathspec is to make sure that all the non-rev parameters in the later part of the command line are names of the files in the working tree, but that means git grep string -- \*.c must always be disambiguated with --, because nobody sane will create a file whose name literally is asterisk-dot-see.  We loosen the heuristic to declare that with a wildcard string the user likely meant to give us a pathspec. So you can now simply say git grep string \*.c without --.
  • Filter scripts were run with SIGPIPE disabled on the Git side, expecting that they may not read what Git feeds them to filter. We however treated a filter that does not read its input fully before exiting as an error.  We no longer do and ignore EPIPE when writing to feed the filter scripts.
    This changes semantics, but arguably in a good way.  If a filter can produce its output without fully consuming its input using whatever magic, we now let it do so, instead of diagnosing it as a programming error.
  • Whitespace breakages in deleted and context lines can also be painted in the output of git diff and friends with the new --ws-error-highlight option.
There are a few "experimental" new features, too. They are still incomplete and/or buggy around the edges and likely to change in the future, but nevertheless interesting.
  • git cat-file --batch learned the --follow-symlinks option that follows an in-tree symbolic link when asked about an object via extended SHA-1 syntax.  For example, HEAD:RelNotes may be a symbolic link that points at Documentation/RelNotes/2.5.0.txt.  With the new option, the command behaves as if HEAD:Documentation/RelNotes/2.5.0.txt was given as input instead.
    This is incomplete in a few ways.
    (1) A symbolic link in the index, e.g. :RelNotes, should also be treated the same way, but isn't. (2) Non-batch mode, e.g. git cat-file --follow-symlinks blob HEAD:RelNotes, may also want to behave the same way, but it doesn't.
  • A replacement mechanism for contrib/workdir/git-new-workdir that does not rely on symbolic links and make sharing of objects and refs safer by making the borrowee and borrowers aware of each other has been introduced and accessible via git checkout --to. This is accumulating more and more known bugs but may prove useful once they are fixed.
A draft release notes is there.