Table of Contents

Creating Registries

The latest version of this documentation is available on GitHub.

There are two parts to using registries; this documents the creation side of the relationship. In order to learn more about using registries that others have created, please read this documentation.

Table of Contents

Overview

Registries are collections of ports and their versions. There are two major choices of implementation for registries, if you want to create your own - git registries, and filesystem registries.

Git registries are simple git repositories, and can be shared publicly or privately via normal mechanisms for git repositories. The vcpkg repository at https://github.com/microsoft/vcpkg, for example, is a git registry.

Filesystem registries are designed as more of a testing ground. Given that they literally live on your filesystem, the only way to share them is via shared directories. However, filesystem registries can be useful as a way to represent registries held in non-git version control systems, assuming one has some way to get the registry onto the disk.

Note that we expect the set of registry types to grow over time; if you would like support for registries built in your favorite public version control system, don't hesitate to open a PR.

The basic structure of a registry is:

Git Registries

As you're following along with this documentation, it may be helpful to have a working example to refer to. We've written one and put it here: https://github.com/northwindtraders/vcpkg-registry.

All git registries must have a versions/baseline.json file. This file contains the set of "latest versions" at a certain commit. It is laid out as a top-level object containing only the "default" field. This field should contain an object mapping port names to the version which is currently the latest.

Here's an example of a valid baseline.json:

{
  "default": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 2
    }
  }
}

The versions directory contains all the information about which versions of which packages are contained in the registry, along with where those versions are stored. The rest of the registry just acts as a backing store, as far as vcpkg is concerned: only things inside the versions directory will be used to direct how your registry is seen by vcpkg.

Each port in a registry should exist in the versions directory as <first letter of port>-/<name of port>.json; in other words, the information about the kitten port would be located in versions/k-/kitten.json. This should be a top-level object with only a single field: "versions". This field should contain an array of version objects:

Note that the version fields for ports with CONTROL files, is "version-string"; we do not recommend using CONTROL files in new registries, however.

WARNING: One very important part of registries is that versions should never be changed. Updating to a later ref should never remove or change an existing version. It must always be safe to update a registry.

Here's an example of a valid version database for a kitten port with one version:

{
  "versions": [
    {
      "version": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0,
      "git-tree": "67d60699c271b7716279fdea5a5c6543929eb90e"
    }
  ]
}

In general, it's not important where you place port directories. However, the idiom in vcpkg is to follow what the built in vcpkg registry does: your kitten port should be placed in ports/kitten.

WARNING: One other thing to keep in mind is that when you update a registry, all previous versions should also be accessible. Since your user will set their baseline to a commit ID, that commit ID must always exist, and be accessible from your HEAD commit, which is what is actually fetched. This means that your HEAD commit should be a child of all previous HEAD commits.

Adding a New Version

There is some git trickery involved in creating a new version of a port. The first thing to do is make some changes, update the "port-version" and regular version field as you need to, and then test with overlay-ports: vcpkg install kitten --overlay-ports=ports/kitten.

Once you've finished your testing, you'll need to make sure that the directory as it is is under git's purview. You'll do this by creating a temporary commit:

> git add ports/kitten
> git commit -m 'temporary commit'

Then, get the git tree ID of the directory:

> git rev-parse HEAD:ports/kitten
73ad3c823ef701c37421b450a34271d6beaf7b07

Then, you can add this version to the versions database. At the top of your versions/k-/kitten.json, you can add (assuming you're adding version 2.6.3#0):

{
  "versions": [
    {
      "version": "2.6.3",
      "port-version": 0,
      "git-tree": "73ad3c823ef701c37421b450a34271d6beaf7b07"
    },
    {
      "version": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0,
      "git-tree": "67d60699c271b7716279fdea5a5c6543929eb90e"
    }
  ]
}

then, you'll want to modify your versions/baseline.json with your new version as well:

{
  "default": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.3",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 2
    }
  }
}

and amend your current commit:

> git commit --amend

then share away!

Filesystem Registries

As you're following along with this documentation, it may be helpful to have a working example to refer to. We've written one and put it here: https://github.com/vcpkg/example-filesystem-registry.

All filesystem registries must have a versions/baseline.json file. This file contains the set of "latest versions" for a certain version of the registry. It is laid out as a top-level object containing a map from version name to "baseline objects", which map port names to the version which is considered "latest" for that version of the registry.

Filesystem registries need to decide on a versioning scheme. Unlike git registries, which have the implicit versioning scheme of refs, filesystem registries can't rely on the version control system here. One possible option is to do a daily release, and have your "versions" be dates.

WARNING: A baseline must always refer to the same set of versions. If you want to add new versions, you need to create a new version of the registry in the baseline.json file.

Here's an example of a valid baseline.json, for a registry that has decided upon dates for their versions:

{
  "2021-04-16": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 2
    }
  },
  "2021-04-15": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 1
    }
  }
}

The versions directory contains all the information about which versions of which packages are contained in the registry, along with where those versions are stored. The rest of the registry just acts as a backing store, as far as vcpkg is concerned: only things inside the versions directory will be used to direct how your registry is seen by vcpkg.

Each port in a registry should exist in the versions directory as <first letter of port>-/<name of port>.json; in other words, the information about the kitten port would be located in versions/k-/kitten.json. This should be a top-level object with only a single field: "versions". This field should contain an array of version objects:

Note that the version fields for ports with CONTROL files, is "version-string"; we do not recommend using CONTROL files in new registries, however.

In general, it's not important where you place port directories. However, the idiom in vcpkg is to follow somewhat closely to what the built in vcpkg registry does: your kitten port at version x.y.z should be placed in ports/kitten/x.y.z, with port versions appended as you see fit (although since # is not a good character to use for file names, perhaps use _).

WARNING: One very important part of registries is that versions should never be changed. One should never remove or change an existing version. Your changes to your registry shouldn't change behavior to downstream users.

Here's an example of a valid version database for a kitten port with one version:

{
  "versions": [
    {
      "version": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0,
      "path": "$/ports/kitten/2.6.2_0"
    }
  ]
}

Adding a New Version

Unlike git registries, adding a new version to a filesystem registry mostly involves a lot of copying. The first thing to do is to copy the latest version of your port into a new version directory, update the version and "port-version" fields as you need to, and then test with overlay-ports: vcpkg install kitten --overlay-ports=ports/kitten/new-version.

Once you've finished your testing, you can add this new version to the top of your versions/k-/kitten.json:

{
  "versions": [
    {
      "version": "2.6.3",
      "port-version": 0,
      "path": "$/ports/kitten/2.6.3_0"
    },
    {
      "version": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0,
      "path": "$/ports/kitten/2.6.2_0"
    }
  ]
}

then, you'll want to modify your versions/baseline.json with your new version as well (remember not to modify existing baselines):

{
  "2021-04-17": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.3",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 2
    }
  },
  "2021-04-16": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 2
    }
  },
  "2021-04-15": {
    "kitten": {
      "baseline": "2.6.2",
      "port-version": 0
    },
    "port-b": {
      "baseline": "19.00",
      "port-version": 1
    }
  }
}

and you're done!