Keyboard-Friendly TortoiseHg

July 28, 2012

I’ve been using more and more Mercurial these days and I’d say I’m now sold on the idea of Distributed Version Control Systems. The speed is great, rigorous branching is designed in from the beginning (as opposed to Subversion) and websites like GitHub and Bitbucket make collaboration on code dead easy and fun.

There are several annoyances though, one of which is that TortoiseHg, a GUI for Mercurial, lacks proper keyboard support. I find it very odd that this aspect has been so much neglected by developers of this, otherwise very fine, piece of software as I truly believe that we are typists first, programmers second.

One might argue that if I insist on using a keyboard, I can do everything with a Mercurial repository from the command line. However, I postulate that if you want to maximize your efficiency with a computer, you have to put to good use both your keyboard and the mouse. Aside from that, I appreciate the ease of navigating through the repository log and its visualization. In case you’re wondering, I just checked that there is an extension for displaying repository graph in ASCII (hg glog) - isn’t it silly?

Anyway, if you’re also missing some keyboard shortcuts in TortoiseHg, you might want to check out my fork of it on Bitbucket where I hope to contribute some code for other developers who, like me, decided at one time to go commando and put down the mouse.