Perforce cheatsheet

Perforce is a version control system. p4 is its primary commandline tool. p4g is its GUI tool. The reference for all this is the p4 command reference.

  • To get help on any p4 command named foobar:
$ p4 help foobar
  • To list all depots:
$ p4 depots
  • To view info about your workspace:
$ p4 info
  • To view all workspaces of all users:
$ p4 clients
  • To view or change the specification of your current client:
$ p4 client

You typically use this command to add new branches or paths from the depot to your directory view.

  • To sync all the latest branches and paths of your client from the depot:
$ p4 sync
  • To list (and not actually sync) the unsynced files between workspace and depot:
$ p4 sync -n
  • To sync only a specific directory or file use its depot path:
$ p4 sync //dev/foo/some.cpp
  • To sync a specific changelist to your working directory:
$ p4 sync ...@123456

Changelist

A changelist has a number that identifies it, a list of modified files and a description. When you inform Perforce that you have created a file, deleted a file or modified a file, such files are by default added to a default changelist that has no changelist number.

  • To create a changelist with the files in the current default changelist:
$ p4 change

This opens your default editor to a temporary text file showing an empty description and the list of files from the default changelist. You have to use the editor and provide a description. If you do not want some of the files to be in the changelist you are creating, you can delete those lines in the editor. Once you save the file, the changelist is created with a unique number. After a changelist is created, p4 prints out its changelist number, say 123456.

  • To add a new file to an existing changelist 123456:
$ p4 reopen -c 123456 joe/foobar.cpp
  • To edit the description of an existing changelist 123456:
$ p4 change -u 123456
  • To view the description of a changelist:
$ p4 describe 123456
  • To view all the details of an existing changelist 123456:
$ p4 change -o 123456
  • To shelve the files in a changelist:
$ p4 shelve -c 123456
  • To update a shelved changelist 123456 with newly updated files from disk:
$ p4 shelve -f -c 123456
  • To update a shelved file with newly changed file from disk:
$ p4 shelve -f -c 123456 foobar.cpp
  • To unshelve the files that were shelved from a changelist 123456 back to the same changelist:
$ p4 unshelve -s 123456 -c 123456
  • To unshelve the files that were shelved from a changelist 123456 back to a different changelist 789012:
$ p4 unshelve -s 123456 -c 789012
  • To unshelve the files that were shelved from a changelist 123456 back to the default changelist:
$ p4 unshelve -s 123456
  • To delete the shelved files of a changelist:
$ p4 shelve -d -c 123456
  • To submit a changelist 123456 to your branch in the depot:
$ p4 submit -c 123456
  • To create a changelist from the default changelist and submit it to your branch in the depot:
$ p4 submit

Log

  • To view all the changelists from the server:
$ p4 changes

This will list all changelists of everybody, so it is pretty much useless. You want to filter it down using other criteria, like shown below.

  • To view all the changelists of a particular depot:
$ p4 changes //somedepot/
  • To view all the changelists of a particular branch in a depot:
$ p4 changes //somedepot/somebranch/
  • To view the most recent 5 changelists added to the server:
$ p4 changes -m5
  • To view the changelists added by a particular user:
$ p4 changes -u joe
  • By default, a single truncated line of information is shown for each changelist. To view a more detailed description of each changelist:
$ p4 changes -l
  • To view the changelists of a particular status, say pending:
$ p4 changes -s pending
  • To add a new file, either cause you want to create a new file or add an existing file to be tracked by version control:
$ p4 add foobar.txt

If it is a new file, then you will need to create the file yourself after this command. This command just indicates to p4 to start tracking such a file.

  • To delete a file:
$ p4 delete foobar.txt
  • To open a file for editing:
$ p4 edit foobar.txt
  • To revert a specific file or all files in directory with versions from depot:
$ p4 revert foobar.txt
$ p4 revert ...
$ p4 revert src/...

Note that you will lose changed made your files on disk with this operation. This operation can be used after shelving a changelist to revert the files back to their original state.

  • To revert back only unchanged (but opened) files:
$ p4 revert -a
  • To view the currently changed files as seen by p4:
$ p4 opened
$ p4 opened ...
$ p4 opened src/...

File information

  • To view the changelist of a file:
$ p4 changes //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt
  • To view the log of a file:
$ p4 filelog //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt
  • To see a beautiful timelapse view of file history, it is better to view it in p4g by right-clicking the file and choosing Timelapse view. The color of the lines show their age and the slider can be used to move through history.

  • To print all the lines of a file:

$ p4 print //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt
  • To print the revision numbers of every line of a file:
$ p4 annotate //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt
  • To print changelists for every line of a file:
$ p4 annotate -c //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt
  • To print the user who last changed every line of a file:
$ p4 annotate -u //somedepot/somepath/foobar.txt

Diff

  • To view the diff of all currently open files:
$ p4 diff

This prints a text diff at the shell by default. If you set the P4DIFF environment variable to a GUI program, like Meld, it will use that to show the diffs.

  • To view the diff of opened files that are actually changed:
$ p4 diff -sa
  • To diff two files in the depot:
$ p4 diff2 //branch1/some.cpp //branch2/some.cpp

This prints a diff at the shell. Set the P4DIFF2 environment variable to a GUI diff program to view the diff using that.

Branch

To create a new branch from an old branch, there are typically 3 steps:

First, create the branch:

$ p4 integrate //foo/old_branch/... //foo/new_branch/...

Now the branch is created, but you cannot yet view the files in the new branch in your filesystem.

Second, change the client specification add the new branch files to your view and sync:

$ p4 client
$ p4 sync

Finally, submit the new branch to depot:

$ p4 submit //foo/new_branch/...

Merge

  • To merge, resolve automatically and finally only resolve merge conflicts manually:
$ p4 integrate //foo/from_branch/... //foo/my_branch/...
$ p4 resolve -a
$ p4 resolve
  • After an integrate, show what files cannot be resolved automatically:
$ p4 resolve -n
  • Integrate a specific changelist 123456 from one branch to another:
$ p4 integrate from_branch/...@=123456 to_branch/...
$ p4 resolve to_branch/...
$ p4 change
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