updateis a little odd.
You only really need the
branchcommands, but I include others here because they provide aid and comfort.
hg branch Namecreates branch Name, and it becomes active on the next commit.
hg branchshows the current branch (no param).
hg branchesshows the local branches.
hg update Nameswitches to the branch called Name.
hg tipshows you where you are wrt: branches, etc.
hg merge Namemerges the named branch with the current one.
When you do a commit and allow mercurial to call up the editor, the commit message will be populated with the tip information, so you know for sure which branch you are in.
WAIT! these branches are not what you think they are. They are (as darrint said) permanent, and you can't really push to (or pull from) a separate repo into a temp branch. It's a very different concept from svn switch.
So be careful with that axe eugene.