Sunday, January 14, 2007

Experiments with Continuous Integration

Ok, I've build yet another continuous integration tool. May be it's not as cool as CruiseControl or Continuum etc. but it serves the purpose very well.

We've a working set of around 1 million lines of Java code, scattered around 72 plug ins and features. It generally takes around 15 minutes to do a complete build and CVS fetch takes horrible half an hour, Ketan keeps reminding me to migrate from CVS to SVN and I should do that soon. All in all, It takes around forty minutes to export the BluePrint Foundry (BPF).

Manual build is too painful, which forced me to do something smarter. I'd initially setup a automated build with the help of:
  • Eclipse PDE RCP Build script running as headless ant application.
  • Few utility DOS Batch files (I know, it sucks) for fetching src, moving and rotating build files according to days.
  • Windows Scheduler to run the nightly build.
It took two days of research to set it up and get it running successfully, it made life very easy until we started off with major refactoring to make BPF feature- based.

Some where in the dark corners of the "PDE build code" is the assumption to build features in alphabetical order(see bug for details), we've few features which have non-alphabetical dependencies. However it works perfectly in eclipse workbench because all(installed+workspace) the plug-ins are visible in the host platform, but not in headless PDE Build. I'm still struggling to make it work again.

In the mean time...

A quick look in to product export action tempted me to develop a plug-in which can export product in one shot, which can, then, very well can run as head-less eclipse application.

All it took was two hours of code browsing and extending the job and putting appropriate parameters in FeatureModel VO and executing that Job. Hmm.. it still required me to go on build machine and run that, with code in my hand i can configure very good scheduling framework to build. However, that would have been too much of time-investment at that point, rather i wrote one JMX Service which can be triggered from my workstation, cool and pretty easy.

Now, I've a build utility which can be remote triggered from any tool which understands JMX and can work with existing PDE builds. It will continue to make my life easier until the bug is fixed and I've a patch.

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