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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and Useful Book
Mercurial is a really nice, portable, easy to use [which is saying a lot!] source code control system. This is the only paper book available for it. Fortunately, the book very well written, well organized, and nicely developed. The examples actually work and are simple enough, small enough, and complete enough to be useful to type in and work with while reading the book...
Published on October 4, 2009 by Mike Howard

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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repository vs. repository
I learned how to use Mercurial from this book. My only beef is the confusing use of the term "repository" in this book. Sometimes it's used to mean the .hg metadata directory, sometimes it means the whole directory of your project, which includes the .hg directory. It would have been less confusing to just use the term ".hg directory" when talking about the .hg directory...
Published on December 22, 2011 by R. TA


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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and Useful Book, October 4, 2009
By 
Mike Howard (Golden, CO USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
Mercurial is a really nice, portable, easy to use [which is saying a lot!] source code control system. This is the only paper book available for it. Fortunately, the book very well written, well organized, and nicely developed. The examples actually work and are simple enough, small enough, and complete enough to be useful to type in and work with while reading the book. They make reading the book more of an interactive exercise.

One of the other reviewers gave this book a 2 star rating because there is an incomplete section which sailed past review. He/she doesn't understand the nature of Open Source software development: The book is on line (see below), so if you see something you don't like - don't complain, fix it and share the fix! Ignore that review.

About Mercurial itself: it is the easiest source code control - aka version control, content control, etc - system I've ever used. I started using source code control back with a DOS clone of SCCS, found RCS and switched to that because it was really simple to use [although difficult to organize]. Have also tried CVS and SVN, but kept going back to RCS because of the administrative burden the bigger and better versions impose.

Mercurial makes source code control easy again. Creating and maintaining repositories is inexpensive and easy. Rather than having central repository to maintain and configure, you just type 'hg init; hg add . ; hg ci -m initial-checkin' and you have a brand new repository for whatever project is living in your current directory. To try out something without mangling the basic code, 'cd newdirectory; hg clone repository-directory' and you are now in a clone of the original repository and can hack away. If you like the experiment, you 'hg ci -m like-it; hg push' and it goes back to the main source; if you don't, just delete your trial repository. Rinse and repeat often. It actually makes source code controlled development easy.

So far I haven't found anything in Mercurial I don't like.

Back to the book: the author also maintains the book on line in an editable and comment-able form. See the Mercurial web site at for details about this book and more specialized articles: [...]

It also means that the book is still under continuous development - which is a really good thing for a software reference for an evolving and actively developing system.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I look for in a technology book, August 21, 2009
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
I'm about half-way through this book. So far, this is exactly the sort of thing I look for in a technology book. The author explains the subject with obvious enthusiasm (so it doesn't drag), there are lots of examples as well as explanations of "how" and "why".

I think this is currently the only book on Mercurial, but it likely will be the only one you need.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repository vs. repository, December 22, 2011
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
I learned how to use Mercurial from this book. My only beef is the confusing use of the term "repository" in this book. Sometimes it's used to mean the .hg metadata directory, sometimes it means the whole directory of your project, which includes the .hg directory. It would have been less confusing to just use the term ".hg directory" when talking about the .hg directory! Maybe it's a Mercurial thing.
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Edited Dec. 30, 2011:
I discovered the online document "Understanding Mercurial" that uses the following 3 terms in a consistent manner: the repo, the working directory, and the store. This consistent use of terminology really helps clearing up the picture. I wish this book could have adopted such consistent use of the terms.
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Edited Jun. 2012:
This book is aggravating! It contains lots of detailed information but sloppy writing makes the material, which is already confusing enough and requires meticulous choice of words to describe the concepts, really harder to understand. For example, the author casually says "a revision of the manifest", implying there can be multiple versions of the manifest, instead of "a revision in the manifest" or even "a revision recorded in the manifest".
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort, July 24, 2010
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
One of the strong points about Mercurial is that you don't need a book like this to get started. But you'll want it anyway; there are subtleties to using Mercurial that you're not likely to figure out without some help. The author also makes a compelling argument for distributed source control in general, and Mercurial in particular. If you're trying to make a decision about choosing a source control system, you make well find his argument persuasive; I did.
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3.0 out of 5 stars one wonders if author cares, March 3, 2014
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
If you pay only a little for this book or read the free version, you may get your money's worth.

Pros:
Aside from the errata, this book is relatively readable and useful. If you don't want to read the free version online, then you might find it useful.

Cons:
One wonders if the author cares. There are several problems with the diagrams and text. I could forgive that if the author bothered to provide an authoritative list of errata that I could use to correct my text. The O'Reilly web site provides a list of "UNCONFIRMED ERRATA" as reported by readers. But the author hasn't even bothered to review those. Neither has he corrected the free (pdf) version. That's a bit frustrating.
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4.0 out of 5 stars got me up and running on Mercurial quickly, May 26, 2013
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I was used to using git for a DVCS, but my new job forced me to use Mercurial. What I liked about this book is that in many places, the author points out some of the underlying differentiating features that distinguish other DVCS systems (and SVN) from one another. With this book and TortoiseHg, I am now up and running pretty easily with Mercurial. Personally, I still much prefer git, but that isn't the book's fault.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A reference, not training, September 5, 2012
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
MERCURIAL, THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE, is more a reference book than a book to use to learn Mercurial (or any of its bugs or idiosyncratic features). If you're interested in learning how to use Mercurial for anything but the simplest of tasks, you'd be better served by going to the Internet and searching for answers (google strikes again).

Once you know how to use Mercurial backwards and forewards, this book would serve as a useful refresher on some minor features here and there. All in all, don't waste your money on this book. Spend the time learning off the Net instead - it costs less, and you'll get better answers.
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3 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I wish there was a book on TortoiseHG, February 11, 2011
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This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
I mostly work on MS Windows, and I like Linux. I know there is a tradition of command-line interfaces. But they are more difficult to learn. I found TortoiseHG, which is a GUI for Mercurial. And so far it has been a life saver. I have used the book mostly as reference. And I have not come up with very difficult situations. So in that respect the book has not been as useful as the graphical interface. I do recommend using Mercurial.
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2 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Software engineering collections will want this, October 17, 2009
This review is from: Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Paperback)
Mercurial: The Definitive Guide offers a step-by-step instructional to tracking, merging and managing open source and commercial software projects using Mercurial in conjunction with Windows, Mac, Linux or other systems. Mercurial is a collaborative system and permits a range of development methods: chapters cover all the software configurations necessary to tweak Mercurial to specific needs, telling how to manage projects on multiple fronts and fix mistakes as well as customizing the program. Software engineering collections will want this.
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Mercurial: The Definitive Guide
Mercurial: The Definitive Guide by Bryan O'Sullivan (Paperback - July 1, 2009)
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