What Is Mercurial?

Mercurial is a version control software similar to the well known: Git version control. Each side has their upsides and downsides, but it comes down to the preference of the software development team or individual. Mercurial was launched back in 2005, but has since lost it’s popularity. Today it holds about 2% of the market, and Git holds around 80%. Git also released in 2005.

What is different than Git?

Complexity

Mercurial is far simpler than git. The learning curve is much less steep, and it does not have as many different commands to manage. The documentation is much simpler than Git, and you don’t have to worry about looking up too many commands when using it. Git on the other hand, it has more commands and is way more advanced. Git requires more knowledge of it, and can be a pain if one software engineer in the team causes damage.

Branching Methods

Mercurial does not win the branching war between the two however, if made past the steeper curve of learning, Git is far superior in branching and more effective. In Mercurial, you commit directly without staging commits. When also committing directly, branching is more cumbersome than git. Mercurial keeps the branches in the commits, so they are stored forever. This means that branches cannot be removed because it would also alter the history of the repository.

Which one is safer?

Mercurial does not allow you to change the history, however Git allows all contributors to change the versioning history. This means that Git could potentially have a disaster with commit history. With Mercurial, it’s much safer and less disastrous and you can only change your last commit. However, it does come at the cost of the more complex features that Git offers.

Have you used Mercurial?

If you’ve used Mercurial in the past, comment below your experiences with the platform. Both launched in 2005, and Git has gained popularity over the long haul. However, both are still in use and companies like Facebook (at the time of this blog) use Mercurial.