A brand new version of Gerrit is out, but the increment of the minor version number to 14 uncovers a set of unique innovations that this release provides.
Gerrit Ver. 2.14 is most likely the last 2.x version before the introduction of Gerrit 3.0, which would change forever the way we look and interact with code-reviews. That means that even though 3.0 isn’t ready yet, some experimental features have already been introduced in Gerrit 2.14. Those will be tagged with the [exp] prefix in this article, but don’t be scared by the wording: all Gerrit features, including the experimental ones, are heavily used on a daily basis by large installations like Google’s and GerritHub.io
For the first time, Java 8 is a mandatory requirement to run Gerrit. It was previously a strongly recommended option, but both Java 7 and 8 were equally supported. The switch to Java 8 comes with the incompatibilities with all the operating systems that do not support its latest version and updates, such as Ubuntu 15.x or CentOS 5.x to name some of them.
PolyGerrit and review by e-mail [exp]
Gerrit includes a richer user experience with two major improvements: new redesigned HTML5 with WebComponents UX (code-named PolyGerrit) and a fully featured bi-directional HTML e-mails. Interacting with Gerrit is becoming easier and more intuitive.
With PolyGerrit the changes diffs are included into the main screen and are as simple as expanding a div section. The page loading is much faster thanks to the browser caching to the core building blocks of the UX. Even though the UX isn’t complete yet, a lot of Google’s teams use it already on a daily basis, including the Chromium and Go-Lang projects.
The redesigned and richer HTML emails are now bidirectional and include all the information you need to perform an off-line review using your e-mail client. If you are on the move, just reply to the e-mail with your comments and Gerrit will pick them up and include in the change review as messages, amazing isn’t it?
It is now possible to use an alternative Indexing engine, ElasticSearch, which allows having a clustered setup of distributed nodes of index data. That is a major stepping stone towards the full implementation of Gerrit multi-master, giving the possibility of multiple Gerrit masters to share the index data with replication over the network.
Out of the box UX and Plugin Manager [exp]
Installing Gerrit with the associated plugins is so much easier: there is no need to clone the code or googling around for a compatible plugin build: everything is included in Gerrit with an intuitive and user-friendly user-experience. Just use the search box to find the plugins compatible with Gerrit v2.14 and install them with a single click.
This new feature is provided by the new native packages (RPMs, Debian and Docker) which benefit from two new plugins (out-of-the-box and plugin-manager) that are included by default and executed as the first action after a new fresh installation.
A lot more is coming, as the NoteDb support become more mature every day. Google has announced to have switched off the ReviewDb in production and is using NoteDb as “unique source of truth” for all its projects. Gerrit 3.0 with 100% NoteDb support is coming very soon and will change the way you think and interoperate with your code review forever.
Stay tuned; more innovation is coming! – Luca Milanesio – GerritForge