CVS Attic in DVCS

One handy feature of CVS was the presence of the Attic directory. The primary purpose of the Attic directory was to simplify trunk checkouts, while providing space for both removed and added-only-on-branch files.

As a consequence of this, it was relatively easy to browse all such file names. I often would use this as my “memory” of scripts I had written for specific purposes, but were no longer needed. Often these would form the basis for a future special purpose script.

This isn’t a very commonly needed use case, but I have found myself being a bit reluctant to delete files using DVCS systems, as I wasn’t quite sure how to find things easily in the future.

Well, I finally scratched the itch – here are the tricks I’ve added to my toolkit.

Hg version

A simplistic version, which just shows when file names were deleted, is to add the alias to ~/.hgrc:

attic=log --template '{rev}:{file_dels}\n'

Git version

Very similar for git:

git config --global alias.attic 'log --diff-filter=D --summary'

(Not actually ideal, as not a one liner, but good enough for how often I use this.)