File: overview.txt

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bzr-explorer 1.3.0-2
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#FORMAT rst

************************
Bazaar Explorer Overview
************************

.. contents::

Introduction
************

`Bazaar Explorer`_ is a desktop application providing an easy-to-use
interface to the Bazaar version control system.
It is designed to be simple enough for casual users
of version control, yet powerful enough for experts to be productive.
To see BzrExplorer in action, browse the screenshots__.

.. _Bazaar Explorer: https://launchpad.net/bzr-explorer
__ http://bazaar.canonical.com/BzrExplorer/Screenshots

Unlike many other version control applications, BzrExplorer puts the focus
on *managing branches and changes*, rather than directories and files.
(If you prefer the latter, you may find an extension to the File
Manager provided as part of the operating system more to your liking,
e.g. TortoiseBzr.)

To download, report a bug, ask a question or help develop BzrExplorer,
please visit https://launchpad.net/bzr-explorer.

A brief overview of BzrExplorer's major features is given below.


Major Features
**************

Cross Platform
--------------

Based on Nokia's Qt technology, BzrExplorer runs on all popular
desktops including GNOME, KDE, Windows and Mac OS X. In each
environment, it provides a native look-and-feel and adjusts its
menu to meet the UI design guidelines for that platform.


Application Suites
------------------

BzrExplorer provides most of its functionality by calling out
to mini-applications provided by "application suites", namely the
QBzr and bzr-gtk plugins. QBzr is required while bzr-gtk is
optional. If both are installed, you can choose which application
suite to use.

Note: Different application suites provide different amounts of
coverage of Bazaar's functionality. If you expect an action to be
enabled and it isn't, it's probably because the application suite is
yet to provide that feature.


Location Views
--------------

BzrExplorer supports 4 kinds of Bazaar locations:

* repositories
* branches
* bound branches (also called heavyweight checkouts in Bazaar 1.x)
* checkouts.

The summary view and actions available depend on the location
kind. For example, opening a repository shows the interesting
locations nested within it while opening a branch shows the
working tree "status" summary.

Note: Strictly speaking, "repositories" are actually
called shared repositories and "checkouts" are actually called
lightweight checkouts. Those more-precise terms are avoided
in the BzrExplorer user interface to *Keep It Simple* for casual users.


Change Management
-----------------

Here's the most commonly used recipe by BzrExplorer users:

1. open a branch

2. change some files

3. Select **Refresh** on the toolbar (F5), confirming the overall status

4. Select **Diff** on the toolbar (F3), checking the changes

5. Select **Commit** on the toolbar (F4)

6. Enter a commit message and select **OK**

7. Select **Refresh** on the toolbar (F5), confirming there are no outstanding changes


Remote Locations
----------------

While primarily designed for working on local branches, BzrExplorer lets you
open remote locations, e.g. branches on Launchpad. The set of actions
available is masked accordingly.


Settings Management
-------------------

BzrExplorer provides easy access to all of Bazaar's configuration files. Custom
dialogs are provided by the various application suites for nice editing
of some of these. For others, a (configurable) text editor is launched.


Troubleshooting
---------------

BzrExplorer provides easy access to Bazaar's log file and the Launchpad pages
for reporting bugs and asking questions about BzrExplorer. A diagnostic mode
can also be enabled in which selecting an action simply shows what
Bazaar command would actually be run, together with the options and
parameters that would be passed to it.


Customization
*************

Bookmarks
---------

Locations that you commonly open can be saved as a bookmark.
More generally, bookmarks can be added, edited and refreshed.
Editing allows:

* removal of unwanted bookmarks
 
* organisation into folders

* placement of separators.

Repositories are particularly good to bookmark as it's easy to
navigate to branches/checkouts within them - simply double-click
on the branch/checkout name.

Tools
-----

Bazar commands, local applications and web sites can be defined as tools.
Like bookmarks, tools can be added, edited and refreshed.


Hats
----

In addition to your personal bookmarks and tools, you can optionally
"wear a hat", enabling additional bookmarks and tools applicable to that
role.  This is useful for users who:

* have different needs at home vs work

* contribute to multiple open source communities

* contract for multiple clients

* need pre-canned environments while providing training.

You can switch the hat you're wearing or take it off altogether.


Plug-ins
--------

Bazaar plug-ins can provide new or improved applets for most menu actions.
Via plugin-ins, custom, kind-specific panels can also be added to the
information displayed for each opened location.


Acknowledgements
****************

As explained above, BzrExplorer builds on the *excellent* work done to date by the
QBzr and bzr-gtk development teams. I hope BzrExplorer increases the number of
users of these plugins and that they rapidly mature to meet the needs
of these new users.


Learning More
*************

If you want further information about using BzrExplorer, please ask
on the Bazaar mailing list or IRC channel (#bzr on irc.freenode.net).

A roadmap_ is also available, outlining the changes planned before
BzrExplorer 1.0 is released.

.. _roadmap: http://bazaar.canonical.com/BzrExplorer/Roadmap

Enjoy!