So you’ve written tons of code that you’ve pushed to Kiln using both Mercurial and Git. But what about after that point? What has Kiln done for you lately to make working with code better after you push it?
Revised reviews and rejecting rejection
There’s a lot more in a name than most people realize. Kiln code reviews, one of the oldest pieces of the product, have offered only two real ways to mark your attitude towards a piece of code: “Approved” and “Rejected.” But developers, just like everyone else, hate rejection—especially when the thing getting rejected is our code. It makes us feel bad. Plus, most of the time, the person who marks the review as “Rejected” doesn’t really mean that the code is rejected forever and ever—just that the current version needs some work before it’ll be ready to get merged into the rest of the code base. Surely there should be some way to indicate that the code still needs some love, but that it’s headed generally in the right direction?
We know it’s a small thing, but we created a new status just for all of you: “Needs Work.” When something isn’t quite ready to merge, but isn’t actually all that bad, just press the “Needs Work” button. The reviewee will know you saw the code and formed an opinion, but you won’t sound like you’re being a mean developer and rejecting your colleague’s almost-awesome work.
We also made it easier than ever to get your code out of “Needs Review”: we now flag unread comments, so you can focus just on what’s changed since you last visited, and we allow you to use Kiln’s excellent search to add and remove changesets from a review.
Searching for the impatient
In Kiln 2.9, we introduced an entirely new search architecture based around elasticsearch that gave you instant results on changesets, code, and more. But we made one very annoying design decision: we made you press “enter” before we started showing results. But come on: in this day of rapid-fire Internet news and Google results, you want your searches now, before you’ve even finished figuring out quite what you’re searching for.
We heard you, so beginning in Kiln Harmony, we’ll start looking through changesets, code, and file names, beginning the second you start typing. Not only does this get you the results you want faster; the feedback you get as you type helps you figure out what you’re looking for in the first place. On the Kiln team, we’ve found instant searches so useful that we barely ever go to the “real” results page, and we bet you will, too.
Organizing for the harried
So, finding stuff via search is easier, but what about organizing and navigating your massive amounts of code? Kiln Harmony’s got two new features to help you manage your projects, and we think they add up to make a big difference.
First, we’ve got starred projects. Kiln already figures out which repositories you’ve used recently and adds them to the top of your “Browse Repositories” drop-down, but until now, there was no way to pin repositories you cared about, but didn’t frequently access.
Second, we’ve ditched the old modal project editing interface. Administrators can now edit projects directly. You can create and edit groups, reorganize repositories, restore deleted repositories, and manage project permissions, all without having to dive into any settings windows or activating organization mode.
Read me! Read me! Read all about it!
It’s a little thing, but a little bit of documentation can go a long way. Unfortunately, Kiln doesn’t really have any type of documentation store of its own, but many projects, at the very least, include a
readme file of some variety; wouldn’t it be nice if you could quickly view that inline in Kiln?
Now you can. If you have a file named any variant of
readme.txt, or (for Markdown)
readme.md, we’ll let you browse a formatted version of it, right on a repository’s landing page. Just click the “Read More” link. This can be especially handy for open-source projects mirrored into your Kiln installation, since those generally have very well-written Markdown-based
README files that can be a great introduction to using the code.
Plays well with others
Kiln is the grand fortress where you prepare all of your code, but ultimately, that code needs to interact with lots of other services.
Beginning with Kiln Harmony, we’ve dramatically expanded our integrated services. And remember that because Kiln Harmony makes all repositories available as both Git and Mercurial, that means that you can suddenly integrate your Mercurial repositories with services that do not traditionally allow you to do so, such as Microsoft Azure. We’re excited to rapidly roll out more integration with other services leveraging exactly this functionality in the coming months.
And even more!
Kiln Harmony is a tremendously large release, and while these are some of our favorite stand-out features, there’s even more that we haven’t covered: you can subscribe to repositories, getting emails whenever new changesets are pushed. You can move Git refs and Mercurial bookmarks through drag-and-drop. You can adjust how often code reviews send you email, you can take advantage of Mercurial phases, and you can customize reviews much more flexibly right from the activities page. And we haven’t even had a chance to discuss all the new security improvements; we’ll save that ’til next time.
No matter where you look, Kiln Harmony is a tremendous step forward. We really hope you enjoy it. We know we have.