Thursday, February 12, 2015

Gource: A Free (and Easy-to-Use) VCS Visualization

A friend shared this with me a while back, but I finally have a neat repo to test it on and a blog to show it off! Gource is a free tool that visualizes files & commits in a specific version control repo. The example below is a project I've been working on for a while. While the repo in the video is git, the author's page claims it also works with Mercurial, Bazaar, and SVN as well. 

 - Uploading directly to Blogger resulted in terrible resolution & quality in the version below. -  
(In case the video doesn't upload right, it's also on YouTube)

And it's pretty damn simple to use, too. Just running gource from a command line at the top level of a given repo runs it with its default settings, but it has a pretty extensive set of parameters if you want to change things (speed it up, specify date ranges, etc.).

In this example, there's really only one author (me), but I sometimes from a Raspberry Pi as well, which it currently just treats as a second user (named "pi", of course!), thus the second figure floating around.

My only wish is that it could somehow visualize the extent of the changes made to a given file, perhaps by color, or "flashing" that file's dot (varying brightness) temporarily, or maybe the changed file's dot grows in size for a second or something. That would make me feel better for those long hours and manny commits on a few particular files!

Anyway, really cool and free -- what can be better?

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