At work we use Bazaar. It gets the job done, but I’ve never been able to wrap my head around it. Besides the obvious fact that Bzr is a Distributed RCS, I cannot distinguish or compare it to any other DRCS tools. The main reason behind this problem is the lack of decent documentation. For example, go to their site. Click on Docs at the top. Click on Bazaar User Manual.. it is the only thing that looks comprehensive and detailed. Its basically devoid of any real information. Seriously, do you come away feeling empowered. Do you feel like you know how to use the tool properly? Is there a possibility that a lack of proper knowledge may allow you to shoot yourself in the foot multiple times… machine gun style? I want to code, not mess around with DRCS systems. I’m not alone. The same thing could be said for Git, and a lot of people I know (which is not a huge number 🙂 ) have stopped using it for the same reasons.
Contrast that with Mercurial/Hg. I’ve been seeing some great posts about it lately. It looks pretty easy to use and its as fast as GIT. That is saying a lot since Linus is pretty good at coding and Hg is mostly written in Python. It also just got some huge project wins: Mozilla and OpenSolaris. Now, go to the Hg website. Without going too far down, you can click on the docs. Click on Distributed Revision Control with Mercurial the unofficial manual. Bam! An entire book that can pretty much get you where you need to be. You can skim the table of contents and see that it is pretty comprehensive. If you are just starting out, you can dive into the sections relevant to you. When you are ready to level up later on, you can come back and dive in some more. High fives to the Hg team. This killer combination of open source, great technology, and great documentation is a gift to the human race. I’m totally going to give Hg a try on my next project.
We’ll still use Bazaar at work in the meantime, but I have to wonder a bit about the project. It looks like the only thing going for Bazaar is the millions of dollars er. support by Canonical. I would truly like to understand why Bazaar is better than ‘the rest’, but their documentation and website just won’t let me.