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From "Chappell, Simon P" <>
Subject RE: Looking for a Build Philosophy
Date Thu, 17 Oct 2002 18:17:27 GMT
Good question. Here's what I just did on my last project:

As technical lead and the only person who had used ant and our Source Code Management system
before, I ended up taking on the role of build manager. By the end of the project, when I
had to hand off to the maintenance team, I was quite enjoying it.

I would start each day by bringing in the latest work checked into the SCM (CM Synergy from
Telelogic). I would then compile the entire project using "ant clean build", which would compile
everything and build our output WAR file. We didn't use any EJBs, so we didn't need to go
to the effort of building an EAR file. If the project built successfully (including running
junit tests and XML configuration file validations) then the new work was Integrated and made
available for the development team. I would repeat this process after lunch and on an ad-hoc
basis if required.

One interesting thing we did for fun, was to specify that anyone who broke the build was required
to bring in treats for the team the next day (Bagels and Cream Cheese was the most popular
treat). This is a wonderful motivator ... in fact we had to start buying treats for wacky
and offbeat reasons as I think that we broke the build less than a handful of times in about
four months! (Nice problem to have! :-)

On a philosphical note, to me, any project that cannot be compiled at a moments notice has
a problem. By compile, I mean the integration build. Obviously, developer workareas are unbuildable
during editing sessions.

Testing was big for us, but I think on future projects testing will be BIG BIG BIG! We used
Junit and Jtest! (from my good friends at Parasoft) and these two tools saved us much pain
and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Hope that this helps.


Simon P. Chappell           
Java Programming Specialist            
Lands' End, Inc.                                   (608) 935-4526

>-----Original Message-----
>From: Unchis, Debra []
>Sent: Thursday, October 17, 2002 12:55 PM
>To: ''
>Subject: Looking for a Build Philosophy
>Here's a change of pace question for the group...
>I am the Build Manager for my group.  By "Build Manager" I 
>mean I wrote the
>build.xml for our code, I don't have a full fledged background 
>in what I'm
>calling "build philosophy".
>So I'm no expert here, I'm just trying to get an idea on how other
>organizations do it. Not the technical on internal aspects of 
>the build (not
>the targets and tasks) but the PROCESS, the philosophy behind 
>a build. I
>know there is no right or wrong, but I don't have any examples 
>to follow so
>that's what I'm looking to this large pool of fellow builders for:
>What I'd like to know is how often does your organization build? 
>What events lead up to your builds? 
>How involved are the individual developers? 
>How do you progress from a unit test build to a system test build?
>I mean I'm sure this can be simplified to build when it's 
>necessary or when
>changes are made, but I find on my project that we are 
>building every night
>and I'm finding that I spend half of my day tracking down errors and
>rebuilding. I kind of think that's a waste, but I don't have 
>any facts or
>examples to back me up. Management says "build", so I build, 
>but there has
>to be a better SYSTEM out there. Can you all help me out with 
>some real life
>experiences and advice?
>Thanks so much.
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