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Architecture Overview


Repository is a collection of items. By default, such directory is called .sit and is found by the tooling by scanning the working directory and upwards until such directory is found.

Each repository has config.json file which contains its configuration. The convention for this file is to contain all configurable items to avoid potential breakage of behaviour if some defaults are to be changed going forward.

One can initialize a SIT repository in their working directory using sit init command. It will create .sit directory.


Item could be a topic or a problem for debate, discussion and resolution (aka "ticket") and is represented by a uniquely named directory within a repository. While some items might be named manually (might be a great way to establish some conventions), it is generally recommended that a globally unique identifier is generated for every new item (such as UUID, which is the default employed by SIT)

Because of SIT's extensible nature, item can be also be used to represent a wild variety of entities. For example, a Kanban board with its records representing movement of other items into, across and out of the board; as well as accounts, documents with annotations and other types tracked items.

Each item is comprised of zero or more records (although items with zero records aren't very practical).

You can view, create and comment on items by launching sit-web (./target/release/sit-web) and exploring the Web UI.

You can also create a new item using sit item command and you can list IDs of all items using `sit items**.

Listing items

NB: This section is using the "plumbing" command line interface. It helps with understanding how SIT works but ultimately most common interactive workflows should be done using sit-web (such as one for issue tracking)

By default, sit items will list all items by their IDs. However, this is hardly practical if you just want to see a list of items you want to be able to process quickly, or if you want to search for specific kinds of items.

Luckily, sit integrates JMESPath filter and querying. This allows us to achieve a lot.

For example, we can list all items with their ID and summary using processing query (--query/-q):

$ sit items -q "join(' | ', [id, summary])"
a59dfc1e-cf88-4c18-a728-23baab41f7d2 | Problem: no way to discuss items
efc6b084-db52-4d20-80b9-20112f679660 | Problem: sit requires to specify authorship
885a8af0-22ff-455c-89a6-68a13597dd53 | Problem: SIT is not very ergonomic for day-to-day use
6913711b-34ab-471f-9e83-77a719e0697a | Problem: no record authorship preserved
09274126-7d3c-4a32-9338-a5501e1bfb84 | Problem: item state does not account for unauthorized editing

(The above output is just an example so that you can see what it can produce)

If you want to filter out closed items, a filtering query (--filter/-f) will come in handy:

$ sit items -f "state != 'closed'" -q "join(' | ', [id, summary])"

You can list items in their entirety as well:

$ sit items -q @

But of course, this is not ideal as you'd have to remember and re-type specific queries or filters to address your needs. For this, named filters and queries should be used.

They can be defined either per SIT-repository, or in sit config. In repository, filters they are defined with files named .items/filters/NAME, and queries are defined with files named `.items/queries/NAME. Their content should be the expression to be evaluated.

If you want to define filters or queries in your sit config instead (so it is local to you, but not shared with other SIT repository users), you can specify them in items.filters and items.queries properties:

 "items": {
    "queries": {
       "overview": "join(' | ', [id, summary])"
    "filters": {
       "not-closed": "state != 'closed'"

These queries can be used with the --named-query/-Q flag and filters with --named-filter/-F flag.

Open an item

NB: This section is using the "plumbing" command line interface. It helps with understanding how SIT works but ultimately most common interactive workflows should be done using sit-web.

  1. Run sit item, note the ID generated by it
  2. Edit temporary text file to prepare a one-line summary (title) only. It is important to name the file text and not something else. Within SIT project we kindly request to use the "problem statement" summary as in: Problem: something doesn't work whenever possible.
  3. Take ID from the first step and run sit record -t SummaryChanged <id> text
  4. Edit temporary text file to prepare details. Provide detailed information for your item so that others can fully understand it. It is a good etiquette to have one or a few paragraphs.
  5. Take ID from the first step and run sit record -t DetailsChanged <id> text
  6. You can check if everything is correct by running sit reduce <id>. It will show the current state of the item as a JSON.

Comment on an item

NB: This section is using the "plumbing" command line interface. It helps with understanding how SIT works but ultimately most common interactive workflows should be done using sit-web.

  1. Edit a temporary text file to prepare your comment. It is important to name the file text and not something else.
  2. Take ID of your item and run sit record -t Commented <id> text

Send it to upstream

Now, this is something Web UI (at least currently) is not capable of doing as (similarly to sit's core technology) it is made SCM-agnostic.

Now that your item is recorded locally, you can send it to this repository:

  1. Create a branch (as a convention, you can use your item ID as a branch name)
  2. Add new files in .sit and commit them. Commit message can be simply "Added item ISSUE-ID" or, say, "Commented on item ISSUE-ID"
  3. Push it out to the inbox: GIT_SSH_COMMAND="ssh -i sit-inbox" git push <branch>
  4. If the commit only contains new records (nothing else permitted!) the inbox will accept the push and immediately push it out to sit's master repository on GitHub. Otherwise, the push will be rejected.

To further simplify the process of sending records to the upstream, it's highly recommended to add a remote (such as items) for and add this to your ~/.ssh/config:

  IdentityFile /path/to/sit/repo/sit-inbox
  User git

This way, pushing out, will be as nice as git push items <branch>


Record is an immutable collection of files. Record is identified by a deterministic hash of its content (for each file, hash relative file name and then hash its content to get a cumulative hash). A record is typically linked to a previous record via previous record's hash, unless this record is considered to be one of the first records.

Record is used to represent an "event" that is applied to its container. For example, a record might represent changing an item's title, stating a problem or adding an attachment (or just about anything else). By convention, .type/TYPE file within a record is used to describe the type of the record. Multiple types are allowed to describe the same record from different perspectives (could be a generic item description submission, such as .type/DescriptionChanged, and can also be seen as a problem statement, for example, .type/ProblemStated)

A record is represented by a directory named after its deterministic hash (by default, Base32-encoded), with the content hashed inside of this record.

A record is typically linked to a previous record via previous record's hash, unless this record is considered to be one of the first records. A record can be linked to more than one previous record, effectively "joining" them. These links are represented by empty .prev/[previous-record-id] files.

This allows to establish non-exclusive ordering of records and allow records to be prepared independently without having to synchronize their naming (for example, in a fork or over email). By convention, if there is more than one of the last records, when a new record needs to be added, it is appended to all of them.

Below you can see an artificial example that shows ordering of records:


This approach allows us to preserve the totality of the changes occured, without having to rely on SCM capabilities. That's right, even if one is to lose the actual repository, but to keep the source code tree, nothing will be lost on SIT's side. The directory layout described is chosen in favour of plain text append-only files for two reasons:

  1. It's far more merge-friendly (one wouldn't incur merge conflicts)
  2. It's an easier mechanism for managing record's supplemental files (no need to both include files and list them in a file, just including a file is sufficient)

Below is the list of some record files conventions:

Filename Description Notes
.type/TYPE Record type. Open-ended, unknown types must be ignored. Required, more than one entry is allowed. Case-insensitive to allow for case-insensitive filesystems
.prev/ID Link to a previous record ID. Optional, more than one entry is allowed
.timestamp ISO-8601 timestamp, always with zero UTF offset (YYYY-MM-DDTHH:mm:ss.sssZ). Optional but generally encouraged
.authors List of record authors (one per line, John Doe <john@doe> format is recommended, John Doe is also acceptable ) Recommended
.signature ASCII PGP signature of the encoded hash of the record without this file (gpg --sign --armor) Recommended

You can create a record using sit record <item id> [FILE].. command.


Reducer is a very important concept in SIT. By themselves, records are cool but of little practical value as they don't allow us to observe the current state of any item but only its history.

The naming comes from fold, or reduce function

In a nutshell, a reducer takes current state and an item to process and returns an update state:

Reducer(State, Item) -> State1;

In practicular terms, a reducer takes a state of the item (a JSON object), and a record and returns an updated JSON object with the state of the item. In order to produce a meaningful representation of an item, we must iterate records in order to get a valid result. One of the interesting features here is the ability to process records up to a certain point to see how an item looked back then.

Currently, the core dictionary processed by SIT is very small (but it is expected to grow) and can be found in documentation.

One can look at the state of the item with the sit reduce <item id> command.

By default, standard reducers are added to every new SIT repository, and can be updated from new SIT builds by running sit populate-files.

One can write their own reducer by putting an extra file to .sit/reducers/FILENAME.js and implementing this interface:

module.exports = function(state, record) {
  // ...
  return newState;

This function will be invoked with an object bound to this so that the state can be saved across invocations, per item.

Web UI

Status: fresh out of the oven, rough on the edges.

SIT features a sub-project called sit-web which allows to access the items over a web interface. While it is currently quite rudimentary features-wise and has zero styling, it has been built with local customization in mind. It's built using Web Components and Polymer 2.0.

By default, it embeds all necessary files into its own binary from sit-web/src/webapp, however, one can override ANY file by putting a replacement file into .sit/.web/FILE/TO/BE/REPLACED. This file will be automatically served instead of the original one. The original files can be still accessed by using /super/FILE/TO/BE/REPLACED path.

This tool is intended to be used by a local user over an existing repository. There's currently no version of sit-web that can be hosted publicly but that'll likely change in the future.