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Forming a mental picture of a repository is one of the largest hurdles for users learning distributed version control. A poor mental model leads to people not understanding what commands actually do, not understanding how to recover from mistakes, not being able to use advanced features, and generally leads to people copy/pasting commands they’ve memorized and then recloning when things go awry.

Instead of requiring users to piece together the state of their repo via log, branch, etc, we built Smartlog and made it the centerpiece of Sapling’s user experience. As such, sl smartlog is one of the most important commands in Sapling as it lets you see the state of your local repo clearly and concisely, without having to learn multiple commands or maintain a complex mental model of the repository.

It shows you:

  • Your not-yet-pushed commits.
  • The location of main, and other important branches (configurable).
  • The graph relationship between these commits.
  • Where you are (@).
  • Which commits are old and have been landed, rebased, amended, etc. See the ‘x’ commit, with the "Landed as YYY" message.
  • Important details for each commit: short hash, date, author, local and remote bookmarks, and title. It can be configured to show other information from inside the commit as well, such as task number or pull request number.

Smartlog provides you with a succinct view of your work by hiding all commits that aren’t relevant to you. In the example below, the dashed line on the left represents the main branch and elides thousands of commits to show you just the ones relevant to you.

Smartlog can be displayed via sl smartlog or by just running sl.

> sl
o 5abffb82f Wednesday at 09:39 remote/main

╷ o 824cbba75 13 minutes ago mary
╷ │ [eden] Support long paths in Windows FSCK
╷ │
╷ │ o b3c03d03c Wednesday at 09:39 mary
╷ ├─╯ temp
╷ │
╷ o 19340c083 Wednesday at 09:39 mary
╷ │ [eden] Close Windows file handle during Windows Fsck
╷ │
╷ o b52192598 Wednesday at 09:39 mary #12
╭─╯ [eden] Use PathMap for WindowsFsck

o 2ac18611a Wednesday at 05:00 remote/stable

╷ @ 0d49848b3 Tuesday at 11:48 mary
╷ │ [edenfs] Recover Overlay from disk/scm for Windows fsck
╷ │
╷ o 97f33204a Tuesday at 11:48 mary
╷ │ [eden] Remove n^2 path comparisons from Windows fsck
╷ │
╷ o 50dc055b9 Tuesday at 15:40 mary
╭─╯ [eden] Thread EdenConfig down to Windows fsck

o 3dfc61ae2 Tuesday at 10:52

╷ o 339f93673 Jul 15 at 11:12 mary
╷ │ debug
╷ │
╷ x 2d4fbea60 [Landed as 04da3d3963ba] Jul 15 at 11:12 mary #11
╭─╯ [sl] windows: update Python

o a75ab860a Jul 15 at 07:59


Super Smartlog

Sapling can also fetch information about the repository from external sources, such as checking GitHub to know if a pull request has passed automated tests and been reviewed. Since this extra information requires waiting a few seconds for network requests, we have a separate sl ssl alias for this:

> sl ssl
o bc3bbba5d Yesterday at 12:23 remote/main

╷ @ c7ed677ea Today at 11:17 jane #269 Unreviewed
╷ │ [docs] make examples consistent
╷ │
╷ o 9f15ade1c Today at 10:09 jane #267 Unreviewed
╷ │ [docs] syntax-highlighting for smartlogs
╷ │
╷ o 44df3afe6 Yesterday at 14:07 jane #264 Approved
╭─╯ [docs] add sl-shell-example syntax-highlighting language

o ecf6ca5e1 Yesterday at 12:23


Interactive GUI smartlog

An interactive smartlog GUI is available by running sl web. This shows similar information to sl smartlog while also refreshing automatically, and allows you to run commands or drag and drop commits to rebase them.

See Interactive Smartlog Documentation