qiBuild documentation

Managing git projects with qisrc


The motivation for writing qisrc was :

  • We needed to have a simple way to store the URL of all our git projects
  • Neither git submodule nor repo were good enough for our purposes. (git submodules are tricky to use, repo is nicer but leaves your git worktrees in a strange state)



First make sure that qiBuild is installed correctly. (see Getting Started)

Open a console and type

qibuild --version

Install git

See the github documentation for the details.


Let’s assume you have several git projects This is actually what roughly happens for Aldebaran.

  • An open source project called libqi
  • A closed source library called libnaoqi, containing libraries you want provide a C++ SDK for.
  • A proprietary software called choregraphe

Have a fixed layout in every worktree

  • qisrc lets you have your projects in whatever layout you want. For instance, you may want to always have libraries in lib/ , and the GUIs in gui, so you want to make sure everyone has a layout like this:


Doing so is easy: just write a manifest looking like

   <remote name="origin" url="git@git.aldebaran.lan" />

   <repo project="qi/libqi.git"        remotes="origin" src="lib/libqi" />
   <repo project="lib/libnaoqi.git"    remotes="origin" src="lib/libnaoqi" />
   <repo project="gui/choregraphe.git" remotes="origin" src="gui/choregraphe" />


Obviously, you want to be able to put this file under version control, so you create a git project in git@git.aldebaran.lan:qi/manifest.git and add this file as a manifest.xml file.

And then, running:

qisrc init git@git.aldebaran.lan:qi/manifest.git

Just works and lets you checkout every project you need to compile Choregraphe, in the correct layout.

Handling release branches

qisrc makes it easy to have several projects all tracking different branches.

For instance, when doing a Choregraphe release, you may want to make sure everything is in the release-1.12 branch

So you create a release-1.12 branch on every repository, then a release-1.12 branch in the manifest repository, and you change the manifest.xml file to look like

   <remote name="origin" url="git@git.aldebaran.lan" />
   <repo project="qi/libqi.git" remotes="origin" branch="release-1.12" />

And then, running:

qisrc init git@git.aldebaran.lan:qi/manifest.git -b release-1.12

automatically clones every project you need, with a nice ‘release-1.12’ local branch ready to track the ‘release-1.12’ remote branch.

Of course, since you have created a branch inside the manifest, it is easy to add new repositories just for master.

If you do not want to create a new worktree, you can also use:

qisrc checkout release-1.12

Handling groups

You may then want to build the documentation of libqi and libnaoqi, while making sure the sources of choregraphe never leak.

Also, the people only working on the documentation don’t need to clone everything, so you create an group in the manifest file where you put only the projects you need.

    <group name="doc" />
      <project name="libqi" />
      <project name="libnaoqi" />


And then, you can use:

qisrc init git@git.aldebaran.lan:qi/manifest.git --group doc

to clone the required repositories to build the documentation on master.

Of course, if you need to build the doc for the release, just use:

qisrc init git@git.aldebaran.lan:qi/manifest.git --group doc --branch relase-1.12

You can also list, add and remove the groups used in your worktree by using qisrc list-groups, qisrc add-group, qisrc rm-group

By default, when no group is given, qisrc init clones everything. You can change this behavior by using a group named “default”, like this:

<repo project="a.git" />
<repo project="b.git" />
<repo project="c.git" />

  <group name="default" default="true">
    <project name="a.git" />
    <project name="b.git" />

Here only a.git and b.git will get cloned when no group is specified.

Handling development branches

Let’s say you have two branches for every project in your worktree (and thus two branches in your manifest repo)

master, which is a stable branch, and next, where development occurs. Bug fixes may be submitted on master directly, so you may want to make sure next is always up to date, by rebasing next on top of master.

To do so, in a worktree configured with the next branch of the manifest, use:

qisrc rebase master

If you are happy with the changes, you can also run:

qisrc rebase master --push

(Since this command uses git push --force, use this at your own risk)

Handling code review

If you are using gerrit, you have to do two manual commands before being able to push the results under code review:

  • Add a remote in order to be able to push the changes
git remote add gerrit ssh://john@gerrit:29418/lib/libqi.git
  • Get a hook so that your commits all get a ChangeID:
scp -P 29418 john@gerrit:hooks/commit-msg .git/hooks

And then to upload changes for review you have run something like

git push gerrit master:refs/for/master

You can get qisrc to perform these operations for you, by adding a new gerrit remote to the manifest.xml file:

   <remote name="origin" url="git@git.aldebaran.lan" />
   <remote name="gerrit" url="ssh://gerrit.aldebaran.lan:29418" />
   <repo project="qi/libqi.git" src="lib/libqi" remotes="origin gerrit" />

And then, qisrc sync will setup your project for code review, and using qisrc push will be able to upload your changes for code review.

Editing the manifest

If you have gone through the process of using code review for all your projects, you may want to put the manifest itself under code review.

Even if you don’t, you may want to test your changes to check that nothing is broken, without first pushing them and running qsirc sync.

You may be tempted to edit the manifest repository which is in <worktree>/.qi/manifest/default but this is a bad idea: this repository is automatically updated by qisrc sync, and all your local changes could be lost.

Here is how you can proceed instead.

  • Add a copy of the manifest inside the worktree
    <remote name="origin" url="..." />
    <remote name="gerrit" url="..." />
    <!-- if you choose to not put the manifest under code review -->
    <repo project="manifest.git" src="manifest" remotes="origin"/>

    <!-- if you choose to put the manifest under code review -->
    <repo project="manifest.git" src="manifest" remotes="origin gerrit"/>
  • You can now edit the manifest in <worktree>/manifest and push your changes to the gerrit or origin using qisrc push as usual.
  • To apply your changes to your worktree before submitting them, you can use
qisrc check-manifest manifest/manifest.xml

Once you have check that all is correct, push or submit your changes and then run qisrc sync as usual.

If on the other hand you are not satisfied, you can undo the changes by running qisrc sync.

Handling several remotes

This is useful when you have a fork of an upstream project, and want to keep a reference to the upstream url.

  <remote name="origin" url="git@example.com" />
  <repo project="foo/bar.git" src="lib/bar" remotes="origin">
    <upstream name="my-upstream" url="git@somewhereelse.org" />

This will create a remote called my-upstream with the git@somewhereelse.org url.

Handling snapshots

Sometimes you would like to reset your worktree to a known state.

The solution is to generate a snapshot of your worktree with qisrc snapshot /path/to/snapshot.json and then use qisrc reset --snaphot /path/to/snapshot.json.

The format used by the snapshot looks like this:

  "format" : 2,
  "refs" :
    "foo" : "ab453c"
  "manifest" :
    "url" : "git@example.com:manifest.git",
    "branch" : "master",
    "groups" : ["default"],
    "ref" : "b8c64"

The information about the manifest is mandatory, because the keys in the refs dictionary are the paths to the projects in the worktree, and those paths are allowed to change when the manifest changes.

You should trust the info generated for you by qisrc snapshot.

Also feel free to edit the snapshot by hand, for instance to use tags instead of SHA1s.