Andrija's Blog

Functional design

Backup existing project to cloud source control

This artical explains how to backup your existing Visual Studio project to Bitbucket using Mercurial. This may as well apply to any other type of project out there, but I might use some Visual Studio specifics in article.

All you need for this is to download Mercurial.

Create repository#

I use Bitbucket because it has free private repositories. It supports both Mercurial and Git. I prefer to use Mercurial on Bitbucket because I have used it from the beginning and find it more intuitive to use. There is great tutorial on how to use Mercurial by Joel Spolsky on I highly recommend starting there.

First, you need to create repository in Bitbucket. When giving a name to repository, try not to use white space because you might have trouble later on when you use command line. Make sure Mercurial is selected as a “Repository type”. Also, make sure “Access level: This is a private repository” is checked. You could create public repository, but I assume you will be backing up the code that you don’t want public to see.

Clone repository#

Let’s say you have folder structure like this:


You want to backup all code from DevelopBranch.

Go to command prompt and locate cd ~/MyProject

Execute hg clone to create local repository.
This command will create local folder with repository. Note to replace username with your username on Bitbucket and repository-name with your repository name. When I did this, my repository name was MyProject-Develop and I did not want my folder to be named like this, but I wanted it to remain DevelopBranch. You can keep your folder name by adding folder name at the end of command: hg clone foldter-name. You can create as many respositories as you want, so if you make a mistake, just delete the folder and try again.

If you try to create repository in same folder where your code is already you will notice that cloning will not execute but it will say that folder is not empty. Workaround for this is to make a rename existing folder tempraraly, execute clone command, move .hg folder to original folder, delete clone folder and rename back the original folder :) So, I renamed the folder to DevelopBranch2 and executed clone command. Now, command was successful and I had new folder DevelopBranch which contains only one folder inside .hg. I copied the .hg folder to DevelopBranch2, deleted DevelopBranch and renamed DevelopBranch2 back to DevelopBranch. Simple, right? :)

Add files to repository#

Create .hgignore file from and place it in DevelopBranch folder. This will exclude files from eyes of source control that usually are compiled or outputted by build process, very similar like how TFS is ignoring specific files from your source folder (like .dll, .exe, /obj etc.).

In command line, go to cd ~/MyProject/DevelopBranch. All further commands will be executed from this path.

Run the command hg status in your DevelopBranch to see what has Mercurial detected for adding into source control. If the list is too big (it usually is when adding big project), use hg status > output.txt && output.txt to see all the files added. You will see that files have ? status on the left side of file path indicating that files are detected in target folder but are not part of repository yet.

Execute hg add to add all the files to repository.

Now when you run hg status you should get A status on the left side of file name indicating that files is added.

Next, commit the changes in repository:
hg commit -m "initial commit" -u username

Next, execute hg push which will push (upload) repository changes to Bitbucket repository. You will be asked to enter password for authentication. It might take some time to upload all the changes depending on your project size.

Maintaining the future changes#

And you are done. Next time you want to upload new changes in project:

hg status
hg addremove
hg commit -m "commit 2013-12-01" -u username
hg push