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APPENDIX A
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A Fistful of Tools
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hroughout the book, we have used (or will use, depending on whether you have jumped to the end of the book to reveal whodunit) a variety of tools for a variety of purposes. Some of these are stand-alone pieces of software such as a text editor or Visual Studio .NET, but others such as NAnt have a number of dependencies. Some of these are introduced as a matter of choice, but others are selected to address versioning issues among the various software packages. In this appendix, we discuss the tools we have used directly (and indirectly) to implement the delivery processes.
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Software Dependencies
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As just mentioned, constructing an environment for automated delivery introduces several dependencies and interactions among software packages. Figure A-1 demonstrates a simplified view of the build server.
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Figure A-1. Simplified view of software dependencies
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APPENDIX A A FISTFUL OF TOOLS
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In the diagram, I have shown only the most relevant, specific features of software used for the delivery process. The implication is that the .NET Framework is also a dependency. Figure A-2 shows a fuller view of the dependencies on all the software used to deliver the specific processes we introduce throughout the book. In particular, you can see the dependencies on, for example, NUnit, the Red Gate SQL Bundle and FxCop; some of these dependencies are introduced through our own extension of NAnt, and others through NAnt itself (such as the NUnit version dependency). I have not marked other dependencies in Figure A-2 if NAnt comes with the relevant assembly, but you should also be aware that your own version may not be the same as the embedded NAnt-based version. For example, I did not show NAnt using NDoc since NAnt comes with the relevant NDoc assembly, but keep in mind that your version of NDoc may not be the same.
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Figure A-2. Expanded view of software dependencies
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Tool Organization
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Given the software dependencies, and the number of tools that we could reasonably apply in the delivery process (we did not touch upon the use of tools for test coverage, or software metrics that could be applied in the analysis stages), it makes sense to follow some kind of organizational strategy for tools.
APPENDIX A A FISTFUL OF TOOLS
My general strategy is to organize my tools under a single folder, using the name of the software as the next folder, and then the version of the software as the next folder. This arrangement allows me to add multiple versions of software and change configuration in an obvious way so that, for example, I can test my existing scripts with a new version of NAnt very easily particularly when configuring EditPlus to handle this (as you will see in a moment). Figure A-3 shows an example of this configuration from my current desktop.
Figure A-3. Organizing tools effectively
Automating the Organization
Bearing in mind the effective organization of tools you are using and the scripts and assets of the delivery processes themselves, and taking into account our newfound expertise with a tool such as NAnt, it may not take long to see the possibilities for the automation of the creation of the entire delivery environment using NAnt. In his book, Open Source .NET Development: Programming with NAnt, NUnit, NDoc, and More, Brian Nantz introduces a series of scripts used to obtain his array of open source tools on a regular basis. You could use his approach as a basis for obtaining your own downloads, and then expand it to the creation or update of an environment automatically. I could have done something similar as part of this book, but instead I have outlined in the following script the steps for configuring a desktop to operate the code examples in this book automatically. Organizing the contents of the package involves a zip file called BuildServer.zip, which contains a batch file for triggering the build script, a folder containing the minimum NAnt assemblies for the script to run, and another zip file called Environment.zip. This second zip file contains the scripts for the build server and the tools that allow the server to function. Figure A-4 shows the BuildServer.zip file contents after unzipping, and Figure A-5 shows the basic layout of the Environment.zip file.
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