Perforce 2006.1 System Administrator's Guide
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Chapter 5
Customizing Perforce:
Job Specifications

Perforce's jobs feature enables users to link changelists to enhancement requests, problem reports, and other user-defined tasks. Perforce also offers P4DTI (Perforce Defect Tracking Integration) as a way to integrate third-party defect tracking tools with Perforce. See "Working with third-party defect tracking systems" on page 93 for details.

The Perforce user's use of p4 job is discussed in the P4 User's Guide. This chapter covers administrator modification of the jobs system.

Perforce's default jobs template has five fields for tracking jobs. These fields are sufficient for small-scale operations, but as projects managed by Perforce grow, the information stored in these fields might be insufficient. To modify the job template, use the p4 jobspec command. You must be a Perforce administrator to use p4 jobspec.

This chapter discusses the mechanics of altering the Perforce job template.

Warning!

Improper modifications to the Perforce job template can lead to corruption of your server's database. Recommendations, caveats, and warnings about changes to job templates are summarized at the end of this chapter.

The default Perforce job template

To understand how Perforce jobs are specified, consider the default Perforce job template. The examples that follow in this chapter are based on modifications to the this template.

A job created with the default Perforce job template has this format:

# A Perforce Job Specification.
#
#  Job:         The job name.  'new' generates a sequenced job number.
#  Status:      Either 'open', 'closed', or 'suspended'. Can be changed.
#  User:        The user who created the job. Can be changed.
#  Date:        The date this specification was last modified.
#  Description: Comments about the job.  Required.
Job:    new
Status: open
User:   edk
Date:   1998/06/03 23:16:43
Description:
        <enter description here>

The template from which this job was created can be viewed and edited with p4 jobspec. The default job specification template looks like this:

# A Perforce Job Specification.
#
#  Updating this form can be dangerous!
#  See 'p4 help jobspec' for proper directions.
Fields:
        101 Job word 32 required
        102 Status select 10 required
        103 User word 32 required
        104 Date date 20 always
        105 Description text 0 required
Values:
        Status open/suspended/closed
Presets:
        Status open
        User $user
        Date $now
        Description $blank
Comments:
        # A Perforce Job Specification.
        #
        # Job: The job name. 'new' generates a sequenced job number.
        # Status: Either 'open', 'closed', or 'suspended'. Can be changed.
        # User: The user who created the job. Can be changed.
        # Date: The date this specification was last modified.
        # Description: Comments about the job. Required.

The job template's fields

There are four fields in the p4 jobspec form. These fields define the template for all Perforce jobs stored on your server. The following table shows the fields and field types.

Field / Field Type
Meaning

Fields:

A list of fields to be included in each job.

Each field consists of an ID#, a name, a datatype, a length, and a setting.

Values:

A list of fields whose datatype is select.

For each select field, you must add a line containing the field's name, a space, and its list of acceptable values, separated by slashes.

Presets:

A list of fields and their default values.

Values can be either literal strings or variables supported by Perforce.

Comments:

The comments that appear at the top of the p4 job form.

These comments are also used by P4Win, the Perforce Windows Client.

The Fields: field

The p4 jobspec field Fields: lists the fields to be tracked by your jobs and specifies the order in which they appear on the p4 job form.

The default Fields: field includes these fields:

Fields:
        101 Job word 32 required
        102 Status select 10 required
        103 User word 32 required
        104 Date date 20 always
        105 Description text 0 required

Warning

Do not attempt to change, rename, or redefine fields 101 through 105. Fields 101 through 105 are used by Perforce and should not be deleted or changed. Use p4 jobspec only to add new fields (106 and above) to your jobs.

  • Field 101 is required by Perforce and cannot be renamed nor deleted.
  • Fields 102 through 105 are reserved for use by Perforce client programs. Although it is possible to rename or delete these fields, it is highly undesirable to do so. Perforce client programs might continue to set the value of field 102 (the Status: field) to closed upon changelist submission, even if the administrator has redefined field 102 for use as a field that does not contain closed as a permissible value, leading to unpredictable and confusing results.

Each field must be listed on a separate line. A field comprises the following five separate descriptors.

Field
descriptor

Meaning

ID#

A unique integer identifier by which this field is indexed. After a field has been created and jobs entered into the system, the name of this field can change, but the data becomes inaccessible if the ID number changes.

ID numbers must be between 106 and 199.

Name

The name of the field as it should appear on the p4 job form.

Data Type

One of five datatypes (word, text, line, select, or date), as described in the next table.

Length

The recommended size of the field's text box as displayed in P4Win, the Perforce Windows Client. To display a text box with room for multiple lines of input, use a length of 0; to display a single line, enter the Length as the maximum number of characters in the line.

The value of this field has no effect on jobs edited from the Perforce command line, and it is not related to the actual length of the values stored by the server.

Persistence

Determines whether a field is read-only, contains default values, is required, and so on. The valid values for this field are:

  • optional: the field can take any value or can be deleted.
  • default: a default value is provided, but it can be changed or erased.
  • required: a default is given; it can be changed but the field can't be left empty.
  • once: read-only; the field is set once to a default value and is never changed.
  • always: read-only; the field value is reset to the default value when the job is saved. Useful only with the $now variable to change job modification dates, and with the $user variable to change the name of the user who last modified the job.

    In version 98.2 of Perforce, a field's persistence was specified in a very different way. If you have upgraded from 98.2, no conversion need be done; the old persistences will appear in the p4 jobspec form in the new template.

Fields have the following five datatypes.

Field Type
Explanation
Example

word

A single word.

A userid: edk

text

A block of text that can span multiple lines

A job's description

line

One line of text

A user's real name: Ed K.

select

One of a set of values

Each field with datatype select must have a corresponding line in the Values: field entered into the job specification.

A job's status. One of:
open/suspended/closed

date

A date value

The date and time of job creation:
1998/07/15:13:21:46

The Values: fields

You specify the set of possible values for any field of datatype select by entering lines in the Values: field. Each line should contain the name of the field, a space, and the list of possible values, separated by slashes.

In the default Perforce job specification, the Status: field is the only select field, and its possible values are defined as follows:

Values:
        Status open/suspended/closed

Note

Prior to version 2000.1 of Perforce, the Values: and Presets: fields were specified differently.

If you have scripts that rely on the old style of jobspecs, you might have to modify them. (Scripts that manipulate jobs, but not jobspecs, do not require modification.)

The Presets: field

All fields with a persistence of anything other than optional require default values. To assign a default value to a field, create a line in the jobspec form under Presets, consisting of the field name to which you're assigning the default value. Any single-line string can be used as a default value.

The following variables are available for use as default values.

Variable
Value

$user

The Perforce user creating the job, as specified by the P4USER environment or registry variable, or as overridden with p4 -u username job

$now

The date and time at the moment the job is saved

$blank

The text <enter description here>

When users enter jobs, any fields in your jobspec with a preset of $blank must be filled in by the user before the job is added to the system.

The lines in the Presets: field for the standard jobs template are:

Presets:
        Status open
        User $user
        Date $now
        Description $blank

The Comments: field

The Comments: field supplies the comments that appear at the top of the p4 job form. Because p4 job does not automatically tell your users the valid values of select fields, which fields are required, and so on, your comments must tell your users everything they need to know about each field.

Each line of the Comments: field must be indented by at least one tab stop from the left margin, and must begin with the comment character #.

The comments for the default p4 job template appear as:

Comments:
        # A Perforce Job Specification.
        # Job: The job name. 'new' generates a sequenced job number.
        # Status: Either 'open', 'closed', or 'suspended'. Can be changed
        # User: The user who created the job. Can be changed.
        # Date: The date this specification was last modified.
        # Description: Comments about the job. Required.

If you administer a Perforce server and your users use P4Win, the Perforce Windows Client, you must take extra care when writing your comments.

P4Win displays these comments in two ways:

For instance, the ToolTip for the Status: field in the preceding jobspec reads:

Caveats, warnings, and recommendations

Although the material in this section has already been presented elsewhere in this chapter, it is important enough to bear repeating. Please follow the guidelines presented here when editing job specifications with p4 jobspec.

Warning!

Please read and understand the material in this section before you attempt to edit a job specification.

Field 101 is required by Perforce and cannot be renamed nor deleted.

Fields 102 through 105 are reserved for use by Perforce client programs. Although it is possible to rename or delete these fields, it is highly undesirable to do so. Perforce client programs might continue to set the value of field 102 (the Status: field) to closed upon changelist submission, even if the administrator has redefined field 102 for use as a field that does not contain closed as a permissible value, leading to unpredictable and confusing results.

Example: a custom template

The following example shows a more complicated jobspec and the resulting job form:

# A Custom Job Specification.
#
#  Updating this form can be dangerous!
#  See 'p4 help jobspec' for proper directions.
Fields:
        101 Job word 32 required
        102 Status select 10 required
        103 User word 32 required
        104 Date date 20 always
        111 Type select 10 required
        112 Priority select 10 required
        113 Subsystem select 10 required
        114 Owned_by word 32 required
        105 Description text 0 required
Values:
        Status open/closed/suspended
        Type bug/sir/problem/unknown
        Priority A/B/C/unknown
        Subsystem server/gui/doc/mac/misc/unknown
Presets:
        Status open
        User setme
        Date $now
        Type setme
        Priority unknown
        Subsystem setme
        Owned_by $user
        Description $blank
Comments:
        # Custom Job fields:
        # Job:    The job name. 'new' generates a sequenced job number.
        # Status: Either 'open', 'closed', or 'suspended'. Can be changed
        # User:   The user who created the job. Can be changed.
        # Date:   The date this specification was last modified.
        # Type:          The type of the job. Acceptable values are
        #                'bug', 'sir', 'problem' or 'unknown'
        # Priority:      How soon should this job be fixed?
        #                Values are 'a', 'b', 'c', or 'unknown'
        # Subsystem:     One of server/gui/doc/mac/misc/unknown
        # Owned_by:      Who's fixing the bug
        # Description: Comments about the job. Required.

The order of the listing under Fields: in the p4 jobspec form determines the order in which the fields appear to users in job forms; fields need not be ordered by numeric identifier.

Running p4 job against the example custom jobspec displays the following job form:

# Custom Job fields:
# Job:    The job name. 'new' generates a sequenced job number.
# Status: Either 'open', 'closed', or 'suspended'. Can be changed
# User:   The user who created the job. Can be changed.
# Date:   The date this specification was last modified.
# Type:          The type of the job. Acceptable values are
#                'bug', 'sir', 'problem' or 'unknown'
# Priority:      How soon should this job be fixed?
#                Values are 'a', 'b', 'c', or 'unknown'
# Subsystem:     One of server/gui/doc/mac/misc/unknown
# Owned_by:      Who's fixing the bug
# Description: Comments about the job. Required.

Job:    new
Status: open
User:   setme
Type:   setme
Priority:       unknown
Subsystem:      setme
Owned_by:       edk
Description:
        <enter description here>

Working with third-party defect tracking systems

With P4DTI, you can integrate Perforce with any third-party defect tracking or process management software.

P4DTI can automatically enter activity in your Perforce depot (enhancements, bug fixes, propagation of changes into release branches, and so forth) into your defect tracking system. Conversely, issues and status entered into your defect tracking system (such as bug reports, change orders, work assignments) can be converted automatically to Perforce metadata for access by Perforce users.

P4DTI can be easily extended to other products; TeamShare and Bugzilla are the first two integrations published.

P4DTI is open source and available under a FreeBSD-like license.

Using P4DTI - Perforce Defect Tracking Integration

If you want to integrate Perforce with your in-house defect tracking system, or develop an integration with a third-party defect tracking system, P4DTI is probably the best place to start.

To get started with P4DTI, see the P4DTI product information page at:

Available from this page are the TeamShare and Bugzilla implementations, an overview of P4DTI's capabilities, and a kit (including source code and developer documentation) for building integrations with other products or in-house systems.

Building your own integration

Even if you don't use the P4DTI kit as a starting point, you can still use Perforce's job system as the interface between Perforce and your defect tracker. Depending on the application, the interface you set up will consist of one or more of the following:

The third-party system should generate the data and pass it to a script that reformats the data to resemble the form used by a manual (interactive) invocation of p4 job. The script can then pipe the generated form to the standard input of a p4 job -i command.

(The -i flag to p4 job is used when you want p4 job to read a job form directly from the standard input, rather than using the interactive "form-and-editor" approach typical of user operations. Further information on automating Perforce with the -i option is available in the Perforce Command Reference.)

For more about triggers and review daemons, including examples, see "Scripting Perforce: Triggers and Daemons" on page 95.

Getting more information

In addition to the P4DTI-based TeamShare and Bugzilla integrations, Perforce customers currently integrate Perforce with their own home-grown defect tracking systems and with third-party systems such as Remedy, Scopus, and ClearTrack.

If you are interested in seeing what other Perforce users have done, visit the Perforce web site and examine the perforce-user mailing list archives, which are available under our Documentation page.

You might also want to consider posting to perforce-user to ask if anyone has integrated Perforce with the third-party tool you're interested in, because someone might have already done all the setup work required to work with your system.


Perforce 2006.1 System Administrator's Guide
<< Previous Chapter
Administering Perforce:
Protections

Table of Contents
Index
Perforce on the Web
Next Chapter >>
Scripting Perforce:
Triggers and Daemons

Please send comments and questions about this manual to manual@perforce.com.
Copyright 1999-2006 Perforce Software. All rights reserved.
Last updated: 06/23/06