Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Animal Guide) and over 2 million other books are available for Amazon Kindle . Learn more

Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
Trade in Yours
For a 5.75 Gift Card
Trade in
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

Start reading Mercurial: The Definitive Guide (Animal Guide) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Mercurial: The Definitive Guide [Paperback]

Bryan O'Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 25.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Only 3 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it tomorrow, 14 July? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition 22.65  
Paperback 25.99  
Trade In this Item for up to 5.75
Trade in Mercurial: The Definitive Guide for an Amazon Gift Card of up to 5.75, which you can then spend on millions of items across the site. Trade-in values may vary (terms apply). Learn more

Book Description

4 July 2009 0596800673 978-0596800673 1

This instructive book takes you step by step through ways to track, merge, and manage both open source and commercial software projects with Mercurial, using Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Solaris, and other systems. Mercurial is the easiest system to learn when it comes to distributed revision control. And it's a very flexible tool that's ideal whether you're a lone programmer working on a small project, or part of a huge team dealing with thousands of files.

Mercurial permits a countless variety of development and collaboration methods, and this book offers several concrete suggestions to get you started. This guide will help you:

  • Learn the basics of working with a repository, changesets, and revisions
  • Merge changes from separate repositories
  • Set up Mercurial to work with files on a daily basis, including which ones to track
  • Get examples and tools for setting up various workflow models
  • Manage a project that's making progress on multiple fronts at once
  • Find and fix mistakes by isolating problem sources
  • Use hooks to perform actions automatically in response to repository events
  • Customize the output of Mercurial

Mercurial: The Definitive Guide maintains a strong focus on simplicity to help you learn Mercurial quickly and thoroughly.

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Spend 30 and get Norton 360 21.0 - 3 Computers, 1 Year 2014 for 24.99. Here's how (terms and conditions apply)

Frequently Bought Together

Mercurial: The Definitive Guide + Version Control with Git: Powerful tools and techniques for collaborative software development + Pragmatic Guide to Git (Pragmatic Programmers)
Price For All Three: 63.57

Buy the selected items together

Product details

  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media; 1 edition (4 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0596800673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0596800673
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 17.1 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 521,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description

Book Description

Modern Software for Collaboration

About the Author

Bryan O'Sullivan is an Irish writer and developer who works with distributed systems, open source software, and programming languages. He wrote the award-winning O'Reilly title Real World Haskell. He has made significant contributions to the popular Mercurial revision control system, and to a number of other open source projects. He lives in San Francisco with his family. Whenever he can, he runs off to climb rocks.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

5 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enter the future 27 Nov 2009
By Uberto
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mercurial is one of the two most cool Distributed VS now. Differently from Git it's also very easy to use and user friendly.
This book is very clear and easy to read introduction to Mercurial us
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
24 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good and Useful Book 4 Oct 2009
By Mike Howard - Published on
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.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I look for in a technology book 22 Aug 2009
By Jeremy - Published on
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solid effort 25 July 2010
By Jonathan Lundell - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
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.
11 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Repository vs. repository 23 Dec 2011
By R. TA - Published on
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.
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.
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".
2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly Organized, a Difficult Read 11 Jun 2014
By GameMaker - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've used many of the older version control systems, like sccs, cvs, svn, tfs and so forth. But my current job uses Mercurial, and I've been struggling with it (it's definitely a different sort of beast) so I got this book. I can't say that I'm too impressed by the book. It's poorly organized and the way it is laid out, makes it difficult to pick it up and find answers to problems and questions. It's very "wordy" and that is not what I want in a technical book. My preferred technical books tend to favor examples and demonstrations of functionality over wordy discussions, so this book has been mostly useless to me.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category