Saturday, December 29, 2007

BuildBot: Continuous Integration System

I've spent some of this holiday season learning how to set up BuildBot ( which is a Continuous Integration system that is especially aimed at open-source style projects: You set up a central "build master", and one or more "build slaves" - and it is very easy for someone to set up a new build slave, so if you have some new platform you want to test a project on you can add a build slave. The build-master admin has to add your slave on the master side, and the slave needs to be able to access the source code repository (CVS in my case.)

I've got three of my Perl projects from my CVS repo running under BuildBot now, and it's all working, except email notification of build status - no email is getting to the mail server, and i have yet to learn how to debug that.

When I commit a change to my CVS repository for one of these projects that kicks off a build on one or more build slaves, which checks out the latest code, and runs all the unit tests. The build master shows the results in a web page.

I've got about 9.5 hours into it, (out of an initial estimate of 12) include various yak-shaving activities.

For now I have the build status pages for the three projects at:
  • Perl-Metrics-Simple - Building using both MakeMaker and Module::Build. This distro provides modules for a utility program to count lines, packages, subs and complexity of Perl files.
  • DBIx-Wrapper-VerySimple - Simplify use of DBI.
  • Text-TagTemplate - Lightweight flexible template parsing module.
See also my earlier posting with a review of a book on Continuous Integration and a link to a comparison of several CI systems.

2007-12-29 update: Starting to add notes to the Perl-QA Wiki.
2008-01-06 update: The email issue was caused by a typo in my master.cfg file.
subject='%(builder) BUILD STATUS', WRONG
subject='%(builder)s BUILD STATUS', CORRECT
Note the missing 's' after the closing parenthesis - it is part of a  Python extended printf statement.
Also, I have now added a fourth buildmaster which builds the Parrot project. All my buildbot configurations are now at:
2008-01-17 update: The open source webkit project uses buildbot - you can see their build status at

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

Continuous Integration - Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk

Paul Duvall, Steve Matyas, and Andrew Glover have written a fine book describing the value and practice of Continuous Integration or CI for short. If you have heard of CI and want to learn more about it, or if you want to help educate others about it, this book is a very good place to start.

Continuous Integration is a software development practice intended to notify the development team as soon as possible when a defect is introduced. Typically when CI is being used there is an automated system which the builds the entire project many times each day from its source code to its complete form, and all its automated tests and other automated quality assurance tools can be brought to bear.

The authors of "Continuous Integration" repeatedly emphasize the role that CI has in reducing risk in software development and constantly provide examples of specific practices that support and benefit from CI, for example frequent commits to a version control system, automated tests,  automated code analysis (test coverage, code complexity, duplication, etc.)

I think this book would be great for a leader that is trying to convince their team or their management of the value of CI, as well as for a team implementing CI for the first time as an aid to deciding what system to choose and what aspects to implement first.

Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk
by Paul Duvall, Steve Matyas, Andrew Glover
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional (July 9, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0321336380
ISBN-13: 978-0321336385

See also:

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