Revision IdentifiersΒΆ

A revision identifier refers to a specific state of a branch’s history. It can be expressed in several ways. It can begin with a keyword to unambiguously specify a given lookup type; some examples are ‘last:1’, ‘before:yesterday’ and ‘submit:’.

Alternately, it can be given without a keyword, in which case it will be checked as a revision number, a tag, a revision id, a date specification, or a branch specification, in that order. For example, ‘date:today’ could be written as simply ‘today’, though if you have a tag called ‘today’ that will be found first.

If ‘REV1’ and ‘REV2’ are revision identifiers, then ‘REV1..REV2’ denotes a revision range. Examples: ‘3647..3649’, ‘date:yesterday..-1’ and ‘branch:/path/to/branch1/..branch:/branch2’ (note that there are no quotes or spaces around the ‘..’).

Ranges are interpreted differently by different commands. To the “log” command, a range is a sequence of log messages, but to the “diff” command, the range denotes a change between revisions (and not a sequence of changes). In addition, “log” considers a closed range whereas “diff” and “merge” consider it to be open-ended, that is, they include one end but not the other. For example: “bzr log -r 3647..3649” shows the messages of revisions 3647, 3648 and 3649, while “bzr diff -r 3647..3649” includes the changes done in revisions 3648 and 3649, but not 3647.

The keywords used as revision selection methods are the following:

revid:Selects a revision using the revision id.
submit:Selects a common ancestor with the submit branch.
ancestor:Selects a common ancestor with a second branch.
date:Selects a revision on the basis of a datestamp.
branch:Selects the last revision of a specified branch.
tag:Selects a revision identified by a tag name.
revno:Selects a revision using a number.
before:Selects the parent of the revision specified.
annotate:Select the revision that last modified the specified line.
mainline:Select mainline revision that merged the specified revision.
last:Selects the nth revision from the end.

In addition, plugins can provide other keywords.

A detailed description of each keyword is given below.


Supply a specific revision id, that can be used to specify any revision id in the ancestry of the branch. Including merges, and pending merges. Examples:

revid:aaaa@bbbb-123456789 -> Select revision 'aaaa@bbbb-123456789'

Diffing against this shows all the changes that were made in this branch, and is a good predictor of what merge will do. The submit branch is used by the bundle and merge directive commands. If no submit branch is specified, the parent branch is used instead.

The common ancestor is the last revision that existed in both branches. Usually this is the branch point, but it could also be a revision that was merged.


$ bzr diff -r submit:

Supply the path to a branch to select the common ancestor.

The common ancestor is the last revision that existed in both branches. Usually this is the branch point, but it could also be a revision that was merged.

This is frequently used with ‘diff’ to return all of the changes that your branch introduces, while excluding the changes that you have not merged from the remote branch.


$ bzr diff -r ancestor:../../mainline/branch

Supply a datestamp to select the first revision that matches the date. Date can be ‘yesterday’, ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’ or a YYYY-MM-DD string. Matches the first entry after a given date (either at midnight or at a specified time).

One way to display all the changes since yesterday would be:

bzr log -r date:yesterday..


date:yesterday            -> select the first revision since yesterday
date:2006-08-14,17:10:14  -> select the first revision after
                             August 14th, 2006 at 5:10pm.

Supply the path to a branch to select its last revision.



Tags are stored in the branch and created by the ‘tag’ command.


Use an integer to specify a revision in the history of the branch. Optionally a branch can be specified. A negative number will count from the end of the branch (-1 is the last revision, -2 the previous one). If the negative number is larger than the branch’s history, the first revision is returned. Examples:

revno:1                   -> return the first revision of this branch
revno:3:/path/to/branch   -> return the 3rd revision of
                             the branch '/path/to/branch'
revno:-1                  -> The last revision in a branch.
-2:http://other/branch    -> The second to last revision in the
                             remote branch.
-1000000                  -> Most likely the first revision, unless
                             your history is very long.

Supply any revision spec to return the parent of that revision. This is mostly useful when inspecting revisions that are not in the revision history of a branch.

It is an error to request the parent of the null revision (before:0).


before:1913    -> Return the parent of revno 1913 (revno 1912)
before:revid:aaaa@bbbb-1234567890  -> return the parent of revision
bzr diff -r before:1913..1913
      -> Find the changes between revision 1913 and its parent (1912).
         (What changes did revision 1913 introduce).
         This is equivalent to:  bzr diff -c 1913

Select the revision that last modified the specified line. Line is specified as path:number. Path is a relative path to the file. Numbers start at 1, and are relative to the current version, not the last- committed version of the file.


Select the revision that merged the specified revision into mainline.


Supply a positive number to get the nth revision from the end. This is the same as supplying negative numbers to the ‘revno:’ spec. Examples:

last:1        -> return the last revision
last:3        -> return the revision 2 before the end.

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