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A common interface to both git and hg
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tests Template from cookiecutter Nov 1, 2016
wib Update document to clarify what track/untrack does, addressing issue #11 Sep 26, 2017
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A simplified common interface to both git and hg.

About the name wib

The idea is to have a unified interface to two currently popular distributed version control systems (and suggest sensible defaults). The aim is to have a small set of commands that cover the use cases for users who do not use version control extensively, with a set of semantically meaningful commands.

Everybody should be using version control regularly!


$ pip install wib

If you already have wib installed, update by:

$ pip install --upgrade wib

Simplified view of distributed version control

There are three locations to keep in mind:

  • Local file system (no versioning, view as usual using your standard viewer)
  • Local repository (this is often the location that trips up users)
  • Remote repository (we assume this to be somewhere like, which has a nice interface for browsing.)

The key idea behind distributed version control is that the local repository contains everything, and hence in theory you do not need a "server". However, for most new users, since the local repository is hard to view and browse, it is an opaque and confusing mess. We hope to limit the commands to a subset of the functionality to reduce confusion.

Consider the three locations listed above. To synchronise between the local and remote repositories, use the pair of commands up and down. The down command also updates the local file system automatically. up and down are most often used for communicating with your co-authors. The idea behind the local repository is to be able to maintain versions even when you are offline. Consider the situation when you are editing a particular file, and would like to version it, this is when you commit a version it to the repository. If you have made a mistake you can revert back to the previous committed version.


To learn how to use it:

$ wib --help

Summary of commands

up/down - Synchronise local repository to remote repository using upload (and vice versa using download)

$ wib up
$ wib down
$ wib down

track/untrack - Keep track of this file / Forget about tracking this file. Tracking does not create or delete the actual file, it only tells the version control system whether to maintain versions (to keep track) of the file.

$ wib track myfile
$ wib untrack myfile

commit - Commit saved changes to the repository. Use --name to tag.

$ wib commit "why I am saving this version"
$ wib commit --name v0.3 "a release with cool new features"

revert - Revert changed files back to the version in the repository

$ wib revert myfile

status - See which files are changed, checked in, and uploaded.

$ wib status

log - See history

$ wib log

diff - See changes that occurred since last check in.

$ wib diff myfile

Starting a new project/repository

We suggest to initialise a repository on a remote server, for example github, bitbucket or gitlab. Then copy the URL of the repository (not the website) from the server and use down.

For example, to get a local copy of this repository

$ wib down

Developer notes

Need to set up ~/.pypirc, see for example this blog post.

Upload and release:


$ python sdist upload -r testpypi


$ python sdist upload -r pypi


This package is just a wrapper on top of:

  • git
  • hg
  • git lfs (TODO)
  • Mercurial large files extension (TODO)

Longer term, automated (and transparent) detection and handling of binary files will simplify the user experience.

The unified interface is motivated by:

  • gitless, and paper by Santiago Perez De Rosso and Daniel Jackson, Purposes, Concepts, Misfits, and a Redesign of Git, OOPSLA, 2016
  • repo
  • binary handling in subversion
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