Mercurial hgweb init support.
hgwebinit is a Mercurial extension for hgweb that allows for remote creation of repositories. At this time hgwebinit creates repositories implicitly if the requesting user has permission to do so. This can easily create repositories unintentionally if the user simply misspells a repo or path. The primary use is for creating new repositories within collections but it is not currently limited to that.
Note that there are better tools out there for create repositories. The goal of this extension is to provide an easy-to-use option that gets the basic job done. Feedback is certainly welcome as this is in an early stage.
The intent for future versions is to move to implementing tighter security measures in the permission model and to potentially implement an init command in the wire protocol. This would prevent some confusion on the part of the user and allow for more fine-grained authorization.
Installation and Configuration
hgwebinit is available on bitbucket (primary) and github (mirror):
hgwebinit may be installed from the Python Package Index using:
or, via pip:
pip install hgwebinit
This will download the current version of hgwebinit and get you ready. Next you will want to configure your hgweb installation to also use hgwebinit. Here is an hgweb.ini for example:
[paths] /trunk=/repos/* [web] allow_push = * push_ssl = false allow_create = * implicit_init = true [extensions] hgwebinit=
hgwebinit will allow for creation of new repositories within collections or as sub-repositories. A direct conflict or a path outside of configure paths is denied. In the above configuration, all users are allowed to create new repositories. Set allow_create to a list of users a la allow_push to let those users create new repositories.
Security and Implementation Considerations
Although there are security implications in doing this, they are not the ones that most people think of. When searching for ways to create repositories remotely you are presented a couple options. One is to use hg via ssh. The others basically consist of using bitbucket’s web interface or similar. New comers then often ask “what if I want to create a repository via http?” They are almost always confronted with the answer of “you can’t do that because it would be insecure.”
Please understand that whenever you put a server up on the Internet you must be conscious of security. The mechanisms provided by this extension are useful but not complete. Please take precautions to lock down your server and ensure the right people are doing only things you have allowed them to do.
Security: User identity (authentication)
When using a remote repository it is important to consider that the authenticated user may not be the one identified in the commit log. This is true of mercurial in general and is not specific to hgweb or hgwebinit. Consider that authenticating via SSH gives someone full access to the repository. They can then commit using whatever name and email they wish. If this poses major risk for your project or organization then please consider the extension for mercurial that allows for signing commits using gpg. Alternatively an extension that verifies that the commit identity matches the authenticated user would be quite handy.
In the current state hgwebinit allows for creating new repositories but does so implicitly. When a properly authorized user tries to push to or read from a path that doesn’t match a repository, a new repository is created on the fly. The requested operation is then completed as normal. This means that any properly authorized user who misspells a repository path is going to create a new repository.
This comes back to the topic of destructive edits because removing the problematic repository is now necessary. With direct repository access one can simply delete it. Allowing such destructive access from the Internet is probably not wise and it is not the intent of this extension to allow such actions. Repairing that situation should be handled by someone with sufficient repository access.
The roadmap for this extension includes an addition to the hg protocol in order to support explicit creation of repositories. In other words, we want a user with this extension installed to be able to type hg init https://server.com/remote_repo, get authenticated and authorized and end up with a new repository, just as they asked.
Although this adds to the HTTP protocol it would essentially close a feature gap when compared to the functionality afforded by SSH connections. Consider that a user with sufficient file system permissions is able to initialize a new repository anywhere.
Hg Scope Creep
The issue with adding commands an functionality like this is that it could open a door for new feature requests.
First consider that it would be a great problem to have. Users desiring functionality either provides input to Hg developers or provides ideas for extension authors.
Secondly, that scope creep could be prevented or controlled through the dissemination of information. The goal of hgwebinit is essentialy to gain parity with the SSH implementation while retaining a reasonable level of security. Given that, other crazy-cool authorization mechanisms are outside the scope of this extension and should be considered for development as new projects.
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