Thursday, January 27, 2011

Building from Git

Git was introduced at Eclipse about a year ago. Projects are slowly migrating over to use git as the SCM system instead of CVS or SVN. When IBM made its initial contribution for the new Orion project, we migrated from internal CVS servers to git at This post will give an overview of the changes I had to make to our releng setup to start building from git.

There have been a few PDE/Build bug fixes in 3.7 to support building from Git. I recommend using a recent 3.7 build as your base builder. 3.7M5 is due out this week.

General Setup

The Orion releng build is a relatively standard p2 enabled PDE/Build product build.

There are a few things that need to be done to get the build working with git:
  1. Bootstrapping the builder
  2. Getting map files
  3. Fetching source from Git
The e4 builds consume source code from git repositories, but the releng project and map files are still in CVS. Only the 3rd step here was required for e4. The entire Orion project including releng project and mapfiles is in git so we need all three.

Bootstrapping the Build

The Orion releng builds run via cron job on We need a small shell script that can get the Orion releng project from git and start everything off. We do this using the git archive command:
git archive --format=tar --remote=/gitroot/e4/org.eclipse.orion.server.git master
 releng/org.eclipse.orion.releng | tar -xf -
The build machine has local access to the git repository, if we were running from somewhere else, this would change to something like --remote=ssh://

This will get the releng project into the current working directory, at which point we can invoke ant on it.

Getting map files from Git

PDE/Build uses map files to fetch our code from source repositories. The first step to this is getting the map files themselves.

PDE/Build comes with default support to fetch map files from CVS which is controlled by a few properties (see Fetch phase Control). This obviously doesn't apply here. However, this step is fully customizable using the customTargets.xml file.

All we need to do is copy the file into our builder and modify the getMapFiles target. We can then use the git archive command to get our map files. It would look something like this:
<target name="getMapFiles"  unless="skipMaps">
 <mkdir dir="${buildDirectory}/maps" />
 <exec executable="git" dir="${buildDirectory}/maps"
    <arg line="archive -format=tar" />
    <arg line="--remote=/gitroot/e4/org.eclipse.orion.server.git" />
    <arg line="master releng/org.eclipse.orion.releng/maps" />
 <untar src="${buildDirectory}/maps/maps.tar" dest="${buildDirectory}/maps" />
Because the "| tar -xf -" we used earlier is a redirection done by the shell, that doesn't work when we invoke git from ant. Here we specify a file to hold the output of the archive command, this ends up being a tar file which we can just untar.

Fetching source from Git

PDE/Build has an extension point where fetch script generators for different repositories can be plugged in. The EGit project provides an implementation for this extension point.
The org.eclipse.egit.fetchfactory bundle is available from the p2 repository. Install that bundle into the eclipse install that is used to run your build.

Git Map Files

Once we have the egit fetchfactory, all we need to do is update our map files with entries for GIT. Here is an example map file entry from Orion:
  • tag is the tag to use when fetching the bundle from git
  • repo is the path to the git repository. In order to omit the user from the repository path, the build needs to run as a user who has ssh access to the git repo at
  • path is the path within the git repository to the project we are interested in.

Final Details

  • The EGit fetch factory works by cloning the git repository to a local directory, checking out the tag and then copying the project over to the build Directory. Builders can set the fetchCacheLocation property to specify a local directory where the git clones can be kept. This location may be reused from build to build to avoid having to re-download the entire repository each build.
  • "Nightly" builds are set up to build the latest code from HEAD. For CVS, this is usually accomplished by setting "fetchTag=HEAD" to override the map file entries. For Git you would use "fetchTag=origin/master". If you are using both CVS and GIT you can set both with "fetchTag=CVS=HEAD,GIT=origin/master".
  • The Eclipse Platform team uses the releng tool plugin to manage their map files in CVS, there is not yet an equivalent tool for git. See the Orion Releng and E4/Git wiki pages for instruction on how to manage map files.


Anonymous said...

How do I do the first step when I don't have a user on

Unknown said...

There is anonymous read-only access with

git clone git://
git clone

I haven't been able to get the git archive command to work on these urls, so it looks like you would need to clone the entire repository and copy from the results.

SBirdRanch said...

Found out the hard way that the tag= parameter is required, not because of the code, but because without it the git checkout --force command will not update as expected.
So, even if you are building from the master (head in cvs) make sure you put the tag= parameter in your map entries....

The path= parameter is similar. Although things will act like they are playing nice, if you are pulling your code from the root of the repository, make sure you use path=. Even though that is the default, the build process will NOT work right without it.

Here's an example
plugin@com.sombody.somewhere=GIT,repo=ssh://, path=., tag=origin/master

Christian Campo said...

Just a help for everyone who tried Andrews good post to get the Git FetchFactory to run and didnt succeed, like myself (search for two days really).
The Git FetchFactory requires Java 1.6. If you have your PDE Build running on Java 1.5. you get strange errors where the CVS Fetchfactory is trying to interpret the Git Args in the map file and you wonder why.
But it just because the Git FetchFactory bundle doesnt get installed in Java 1.5, so for some reason the CVS FetchFactory takes over and I found that really hard to debug, but I finally go it to run.

Falco Nikolas said...

This method fails if folder contais binary (jar) files. The tar (or zip) will be corrupted.
I suggest (tested) to add instead "output" attribute of exec element.

PS: in the ant code you should double '-' char before remote (--remote)