[git/git.git] / Documentation / technical / protocol-capabilities.txt
1 Git Protocol Capabilities
2 =========================
4 Servers SHOULD support all capabilities defined in this document.
6 On the very first line of the initial server response of either
7 receive-pack and upload-pack the first reference is followed by
8 a NUL byte and then a list of space delimited server capabilities.
9 These allow the server to declare what it can and cannot support
10 to the client.
12 Client will then send a space separated list of capabilities it wants
13 to be in effect. The client MUST NOT ask for capabilities the server
14 did not say it supports.
16 Server MUST diagnose and abort if capabilities it does not understand
17 was sent. Server MUST NOT ignore capabilities that client requested
18 and server advertised. As a consequence of these rules, server MUST
19 NOT advertise capabilities it does not understand.
21 The 'report-status' and 'delete-refs' capabilities are sent and
22 recognized by the receive-pack (push to server) process.
24 The 'ofs-delta' capability is sent and recognized by both upload-pack
25 and receive-pack protocols.
27 All other capabilities are only recognized by the upload-pack (fetch
28 from server) process.
30 multi_ack
31 ---------
33 The 'multi_ack' capability allows the server to return "ACK obj-id
34 continue" as soon as it finds a commit that it can use as a common
35 base, between the client's wants and the client's have set.
37 By sending this early, the server can potentially head off the client
38 from walking any further down that particular branch of the client's
39 repository history. The client may still need to walk down other
40 branches, sending have lines for those, until the server has a
41 complete cut across the DAG, or the client has said "done".
43 Without multi_ack, a client sends have lines in --date-order until
44 the server has found a common base. That means the client will send
45 have lines that are already known by the server to be common, because
46 they overlap in time with another branch that the server hasn't found
47 a common base on yet.
49 For example suppose the client has commits in caps that the server
50 doesn't and the server has commits in lower case that the client
51 doesn't, as in the following diagram:
53 +---- u ---------------------- x
54 / +----- y
55 / /
56 a -- b -- c -- d -- E -- F
57 \
58 +--- Q -- R -- S
60 If the client wants x,y and starts out by saying have F,S, the server
61 doesn't know what F,S is. Eventually the client says "have d" and
62 the server sends "ACK d continue" to let the client know to stop
63 walking down that line (so don't send c-b-a), but it's not done yet,
64 it needs a base for x. The client keeps going with S-R-Q, until a
65 gets reached, at which point the server has a clear base and it all
66 ends.
68 Without multi_ack the client would have sent that c-b-a chain anyway,
69 interleaved with S-R-Q.
71 thin-pack
72 ---------
74 This capability means that the server can send a 'thin' pack, a pack
75 which does not contain base objects; if those base objects are available
76 on client side. Client requests 'thin-pack' capability when it
77 understands how to "thicken" it by adding required delta bases making
78 it self-contained.
80 Client MUST NOT request 'thin-pack' capability if it cannot turn a thin
81 pack into a self-contained pack.
84 side-band, side-band-64k
85 ------------------------
87 This capability means that server can send, and client understand multiplexed
88 progress reports and error info interleaved with the packfile itself.
90 These two options are mutually exclusive. A modern client always
91 favors 'side-band-64k'.
93 Either mode indicates that the packfile data will be streamed broken
94 up into packets of up to either 1000 bytes in the case of 'side_band',
95 or 65520 bytes in the case of 'side_band_64k'. Each packet is made up
96 of a leading 4-byte pkt-line length of how much data is in the packet,
97 followed by a 1-byte stream code, followed by the actual data.
99 The stream code can be one of:
101 1 - pack data
102 2 - progress messages
103 3 - fatal error message just before stream aborts
105 The "side-band-64k" capability came about as a way for newer clients
106 that can handle much larger packets to request packets that are
107 actually crammed nearly full, while maintaining backward compatibility
108 for the older clients.
110 Further, with side-band and its up to 1000-byte messages, it's actually
111 999 bytes of payload and 1 byte for the stream code. With side-band-64k,
112 same deal, you have up to 65519 bytes of data and 1 byte for the stream
113 code.
115 The client MUST send only maximum of one of "side-band" and "side-
116 band-64k". Server MUST diagnose it as an error if client requests
117 both.
119 ofs-delta
120 ---------
122 Server can send, and client understand PACKv2 with delta referring to
123 its base by position in pack rather than by an obj-id. That is, they can
124 send/read OBJ_OFS_DELTA (aka type 6) in a packfile.
126 shallow
127 -------
129 This capability adds "deepen", "shallow" and "unshallow" commands to
130 the fetch-pack/upload-pack protocol so clients can request shallow
131 clones.
133 no-progress
134 -----------
136 The client was started with "git clone -q" or something, and doesn't
137 want that side band 2. Basically the client just says "I do not
138 wish to receive stream 2 on sideband, so do not send it to me, and if
139 you did, I will drop it on the floor anyway". However, the sideband
140 channel 3 is still used for error responses.
142 include-tag
143 -----------
145 The 'include-tag' capability is about sending annotated tags if we are
146 sending objects they point to. If we pack an object to the client, and
147 a tag object points exactly at that object, we pack the tag object too.
148 In general this allows a client to get all new annotated tags when it
149 fetches a branch, in a single network connection.
151 Clients MAY always send include-tag, hardcoding it into a request when
152 the server advertises this capability. The decision for a client to
153 request include-tag only has to do with the client's desires for tag
154 data, whether or not a server had advertised objects in the
155 refs/tags/* namespace.
157 Servers MUST pack the tags if their referrant is packed and the client
158 has requested include-tags.
160 Clients MUST be prepared for the case where a server has ignored
161 include-tag and has not actually sent tags in the pack. In such
162 cases the client SHOULD issue a subsequent fetch to acquire the tags
163 that include-tag would have otherwise given the client.
165 The server SHOULD send include-tag, if it supports it, regardless
166 of whether or not there are tags available.
168 report-status
169 -------------
171 The receive-pack process can receive a 'report-status' capability,
172 which tells it that the client wants a report of what happened after
173 a packfile upload and reference update. If the pushing client requests
174 this capability, after unpacking and updating references the server
175 will respond with whether the packfile unpacked successfully and if
176 each reference was updated successfully. If any of those were not
177 successful, it will send back an error message. See pack-protocol.txt
178 for example messages.
180 delete-refs
181 -----------
183 If the server sends back the 'delete-refs' capability, it means that
184 it is capable of accepting a zero-id value as the target
185 value of a reference update. It is not sent back by the client, it
186 simply informs the client that it can be sent zero-id values
187 to delete references.