On-premise update-server

For a large number of installations, it may be convenient to replicate our way of deployment in your company.

Advantages of this approach:

  • light-weight updates are managed by SmartGit itself:
    • they usually don’t require admin privileges
    • they won’t disturb the user
  • less effort in deploying new versions, once the infrastructure is set up

Disadvantages of this approach:

  • initial effort required to set up the infrastructure
  • some updates (usually the first build of a major version) requires admin privileges for SmartGit’s updater to run
  • very seldom, there may be updates (usually of a major version) which can’t be even run by SmartGit’s updater. In this case, a fresh installation will be necessary. SmartGit provides notification mechanisms to inform your users about such updates (the same way as we would do with our users).

Central updates repository

To provide the updates to your users, a central “repository” has to be set up (the term “repository” is completely unrelated to a Git repository). The repository must be accessible either over HTTP- or file-protocol and must provide endpoints for:

  • an “autoupdate” file
  • several control files and all files which make up the installation
  • a human-readable HTML information page

From now on, let’s assume that the custom update server’s URL is http://updateserver/smartgit (updateserver may contain a port, too) and it offers following endpoints:

  • http://updateserver/smartgit/autoupdate and
  • http://updateserver/smartgit/updates
  • http://updateserver/smartgit/info


If you want to use file://-protocol instead of http://-protocol, for example, the URL for local file d:\update-server\autoupdate would be file://localhost/d:/update-server/autoupdate. The URL for a network share file \\update-server\autoupdate would be file://update-server/autoupdate.

Autoupdate file

The autoupdate file is the entry-point for the entire update procedure. It will be read by SmartGit on every invocation of the check for new version. For a reference autoupdate file, refer to our main autoupdate-file at http://www.syntevo.com/smartgit/autoupdate.

The autoupdate file contains directions for each major version of SmartGit and its top-level structure looks like:

    <product id="syntevo.smartgit.release-X">
    <product id="syntevo.smartgit.release-Y">

A <product>-element will usually contain a <version>-element which gives details on the update target version and has basically following structure:


You will usually want to copy these elements over from our main autoupdate-file and only adjust the <location>-element and the <update-url>-element to your company-internal URLs. An example <version>-element for SmartGit 17.1.2 with adjusted paths might look like:



The important URL is <update-url> which specifies the URL-prefix for the update “control”-files. The <location>-URL is of minor importance and will just be displayed by SmartGit if an automatic upgrade is not possible (which should almost never be the case).

Depending on the operating system, the URL-prefix will be completed to a full URL by appending:

  • -win for Windows
  • -gen for Linux
  • -macos-aarch64 or -macos-x86_64 for MacOS


The complete URL for the Windows update control file will look like:


Control file

The “control” file specifies how the final SmartGit installation must look like after an update. The basic structure of a control file looks like:


You will usually want to copy the control files from our website as is and only adjust the sourceRoolUrl to your company-internal URL. An example Windows update control file for SmartGit 17.1.2 with adjusted URL might look like:


HEADERbuild=11190minRequiredBuild=11170versionName=17.1.2majorName=17.1majorDate=2017-10-12executable32bit=bin/smartgit.exeexecutable64bit=bin/smartgit64.exe sourceRootUrl=http://updateserver/smartgit/updates copyPatterns=bin/*.vmoptions,.settings/*,.updates/*,unins???.dat,unins???.exeskipPatterns=lib/hgext/*.pycCONTENTe6971f3e69c064e0468f13ae02a332b913f8e659 f changelog.txt changelog.txt...

The CONTENT section describes exactly how the installation should look like and consists one line for very file which will be present in the installation:

<sha> <type> <name-on-server> <relative-path-in-installation>

URLs for all files mentioned in the CONTENT section will be composed by concatenating the sourceUrl + / + <name-on-server> + . + <sha>.


The complete URL for changelog.txt from the above example will be:


The file can be obtained from:


Details on control file HEADER fields

  • build specifies the SmartGit build number. It must match the autoupdate’s <build>-element and the hard-coded build number in the SmartGit binaries. Hence, do never change this field.
  • minRequiredBuild specifies the minimum build number which the local installation must be of for a light-weight update (see Installation and Files). If the local build number is lower, an installation update will occur. Usually you will simply copy over control files as we have published them and only adjust the sourceRootUrl. In case you want to change the installation directory (see below) as part of the update, you have to set minRequiredBuild to the same value as build.
  • versionName and majorVersionName will only be used in the UI and should not be changed.
  • majorDate will be used to decide whether an upgrade to a new major version is supported by the license and should not be changed.
  • executable32bit and executable64bit specifies the binaries which will be launched after an installation update. Usually they should not be changed.
  • sourceRootUrl has been discussed already and must always be adjusted.
  • copyPatterns will be applied to all files in the old installation which were not known to be part of the old installation (“unknown files”), i.e. such files are not listed in the control-file of the old installation. Those unknown files which are matched by the pattern will be copied over to the new installation. For example, bin/smartgit.vmoptions is not part of the installation and hence will be copied over from old to new installation.
  • skipPatterns will also be applied to unknown files and directs SmartGit to ignore them when cleaning up the old installation. With regards to the cleanup, an unknown file may have been copied to the new installation, may have been skipped or may have not been handled in which case it will remain in the old installation. If the old installation is not empty after the cleanup, the SmartGit updater will warn about this fact and an -archive directory with the unhandled files will remain on disk.

Populating the updates “repository”

autoupdate and control-files can easily be fetched from our website. To fetch all files listed in the control file, you have two options:

  • write a script which will fetch all these files from our website and put it onto your update server
  • have a temporary SmartGit installation, let it fetch all necessary files using Help|Check for New Version and copy files over from SmartGit’s local update “repository” (see Installation and Files) to your update server.

Required and helpful SmartGit system properties


The following system properties should be added to bin/smartgit.vmoptions, so they will be part of the installation and automatically present for every user.

smartgit.updateCheckUrl (required)

The URL of the autoupdate file which SmartGit will access can be configured by system property smartgit.updateCheckUrl.



smartgit.autoupdate.checkSignature (required)

Every control file ends with a <signature> which secures this file against tampering. By default, SmartGit will reject control files for which the signature does not match. To make SmartGit accept such control files, you have to set system property smartgit.autoupdate.checkSignature=false. Be careful! By switching off this important check, everyone who gains control over the update server can deploy arbitrarily modified and possibly harmful SmartGit binaries.

smartgit.updateCheck.force smartgit.updateCheck.intervalSecs (optional)

By default, the update check will be performed on every SmartGit startup (if at least 23 hours have passed since the last check) and from then on all 23 hours. You may optionally shorten this interval by adding system property smartgit.updateCheck.force=true and specifying the desired interval in seconds using smartgit.updateCheck.intervalSecs.

Customizing the installation

When replicating the control-files as they are and only adjusting the sourceRootUrl, SmartGit updates from your company server will look exactly the same as when done from our main server. But as we have seen above, to use a custom update-server, smartgit.vmoptions has to be adjusted and these changes must be preserved after an update. By default, SmartGit will copy “unknown” files from the old installation over to the new installation, so the file will be preserved automatically. However, it’s better to not rely on this mechanism and instead make these system properties part of your custom installation. This way you will be able to add additional system properties on demand. In a similar way you may add, replace or remove additional files on demand, like the default/license file.


Let’s assume that our customized bin/smartgit.vmoptions looks like:

-Dsmartgit.updateCheckUrl=http://updateserver/smartgit/autoupdate -Dsmartgit.autoupdate.checkSignature=false

SHA-1 of this file is FCF5C579466B184693A1305FD161008203F82CA1.

Let’ assume we want to place following license file into the default directory:

Format=2 Name=Joe Address=Average Email=joe.average@company.com …

SHA-1 of this file is 44737F607645106D5F52C097CE21E69025E8BDBB.

The official control-11190-win file serves as starting point, which looks like:

HEADER build=11190 minRequiredBuild=11170 versionName=17.1.2 majorName=17.1 majorDate=2017-10-12 executable32bit=bin/smartgit.exe executable64bit=bin/smartgit64.exe sourceRootUrl=http://www.syntevo.com/updates/smartgit copyPatterns=bin/.vmoptions,.settings/,.updates/,unins???.dat,unins???.exe skipPatterns=lib/hgext/.pyc CONTENT e6971f3e69c064e0468f13ae02a332b913f8e659 f changelog.txt changelog.txt …

We will apply following modifications (highlighted in bold):

CONTENTfcf5c579466b184693a1305fd161008203f82ca1 f smartgit.vmoptions bin/smartgit.vmoptions44737f607645106d5f52c097ce21e69025e8bdbb f license default/licensee6971f3e69c064e0468f13ae02a332b913f8e659 f changelog.txt changelog.txt


  • We have set minRequiredBuild to the same value as build to make sure SmartGit will perform a “genuine” upgrade of the installation. Only with such a genuine upgrade, we will be able to modify files like bin/smartgit.vmoptions and default/license.
  • The sourceRootUrl is set to the custom server.
  • For copyPatterns, we have removed bin/*.vmoptions, because (1) we are now providing this file as part of the installation and (2) we don’t want SmartGit to copy the file over from the old installation anymore.
  • For skipPatterns, we have added bin/*.vmoptions, because for the first upgrade, bin/smartgit.vmoptions was not yet part of the installation and we didn’t copy it (see above). If we wouldn’t skip it either, SmartGit would consider this file as a leftover and thus not clean up the old installation directory but issue a warning instead
  • For the CONTENT section, we have inserted our new files, including their appropriate SHA.

Debugging SmartGit’s update mechanism

If updates are not working as expected, it can be helpful to debug the update mechanism by adding following system property temporarily to smartgit.properties of your test installation:


After restarting SmartGit, you may grep log.txt.0 for q.application.update.