Generating a Gource source commit history visualization for QGIS (Quantum GIS)

A couple of days I found a pretty cool open source project for visualizing the history of version controlled code.  The project is called Gource and can be found here: On the videos wiki page there are a few videos of other projects that have used gource to generate cool videos of their commit history so I thought I should make one for QGIS.

After downloading and building the latest source for Gource and fetching the current trunk of QGIS following these instructions: I ran the following in my terminal on my Ubuntu machine, with my current directory being the download git repo from the above instructions:

  gource --title "Quantum GIS" --logo images\icons\qgis-icon.png \
  --hide filenames --date-format "%d, %B %Y" --seconds-per-day 0.15 \
  --highlight-all-users --auto-skip-seconds 0.5 --file-idle-time 0 --max-files 999999999 \
  --multi-sampling --stop-at-end --elasticity 0.1 -b 000000 \
  --disable-progress --user-friction .2 --output-ppm-stream - | \
  ffmpeg -an -threads 4 -y -b 3000K -vb 8000000 -r 60 -f image2pipe \
  -vcodec ppm -i - -vcodec libx264 -vpre libx264-medium qgis.mp4

Don’t worry I know it looks crazy but it’s really not that bad.  I’ll break it down.

  • –title “Quantum GIS” Well, yeah, adds a title to the project.
  • –logo images/icons/qgis-icon.png Adds a icon watermark
  • –hide filenames This hides the filenames of the files being committed . I hide these because it makes it pretty hard to see.
  • –date-format “%d, %B %Y” Formats the date at the top of the video.
  • –seconds-per-day 0.15 How many seconds represent a day. The lower this is the fast a day goes by, meaning me commits in less time.
  • –highlight-all-users Highlights all the users all the time.
  • –auto-skip-seconds 0.5 If there are no commits for this time it will skip to the next commit.
  • –file-idle-time 0 How long before the file disappears from the video, 0 means never good for seeing the full file tree.
  • –stop-at-end Stops the video at the end of all the commits.
  • -b 000000 The background colour, in this case black.
  • –output-ppm-stream – Tells gource to output the result ppm stream to STDOUT, which is then piped ( | ) into the ffmpeg

That is a quick overview of some of the gource arguments, running grouce -H in your terminal will print out the full list.  I’m not going to go into the ffmpeg arguments because frankly I don’t understand them very well and video isn’t really my thing.  I’m sure there are ffmpeg experts that would be able to do it better then what I have.

After running the above commands in my terminal window and letting it do its thing, I had a resulting mp4 file which I then uploaded to YouTube.

Below is the video that I uploaded to YouTube, which took about 5 hours due to my very very slow (read 138kb/s) upload speed.  The video is about 8 years of QGIS development in just over 9 minutes.

As it’s a bit hard to see in the video due to the quality, each cluster of files is a directory and the branches show the folder hierarchy.

Direct link to video:

Happy new year and happy coding :)

10 thoughts on “Generating a Gource source commit history visualization for QGIS (Quantum GIS)

  1. […] View Results  Loading … Polls ArchiveRecent CommentsGenerating a Gource source commit history visualization for QGIS (Quantum GIS) « Nathans MapIn… on Contributing to QGIS Using GitGary Sherman on Contributing to QGIS Using GitTim Sutton on […]

  2. […] works on fixing bugs and extending the functionality of QGIS.  Nathan W. created an interesting video visualizing the growth of QGIS based on commit history logs.Peer support about using QGIS can be answered by tagging questions […]

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