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Drawer Code-39 in Font Figure 5-12. The installed VSS Manager Service

Figure 5-12. The installed VSS Manager Service
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CHAPTER 5 PROCESS STANDARDS
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Finally, with the service installed and the remoting interfaces assembly deployed to the shared assembly folder, a developer is free to create a client to test the service. I have included a simple console client to test connectivity to the service. The build and deploy scripts for the client are included as part of the source code; it follows the same process as a regular Windows application. When this application is executed, you should see a screen similar to that shown in Figure 5-13.
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Figure 5-13. The client console running
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Summary
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We now have several applications of different types running from a few build and deploy scripts. We have made the script files more efficient and spotted a few problems that we need to address going forward. Broadly, we have a functioning process across several applications, and the knowledge to carry us forward into more complex scenarios. We have a list of useful standards for the development teams to work with to ensure that the integration of their projects into the process is as smooth as possible. In the next chapter we will look at providing improved processes through the use of continuous integration with CruiseControl.NET and explore the effects that this has on the current process. Subsequent chapters will help us to address some of the remaining issues as we extend NAnt to create new tasks and handle more complex interactions such as configuration and database issues.
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Further Reading
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For more fun with remoting, check out Advanced .NET Remoting by Ingo Rammer (Apress, 2002).
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CHAPTER
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Continuous Integration
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he previous two chapters have seen us construct a satisfactory build process: simple enough to achieve on a large scale involving scores of projects but intricate enough to perform the actions required of the process. In addition, standards have been devised to ensure that new solutions will be able to comply easily with the delivery processes, Design to Deliver. The delivery scripts are loosely organized and are available on demand. Their use relies on the intervention of an operator to ensure that the process is used instead of some other method. In this chapter we will consider continuous integration (CI) and how it may develop the processes further.
What Is Continuous Integration
I have mentioned the original article on CI by Martin Fowler at the beginning of the book as we considered the broad processes available for delivery. Fowler describes several disciplines needed to ensure that automated builds can work, including items such as a single place where all the source code lives, the automation of building and testing, and the publishing of the built material. In fact, as we have discovered, it is a little more involved than that, although this summary is accurate enough. Since we have already implemented these aspects in order to provide a general automated build, how much more effort is there to providing CI The answer is not all that much, at least on one level: the conceptual one. Under CI, the same processes are occurring as in the build scripts and process that we have already defined, but the trigger to kick off the process changes. Additionally, the management of the source control databases is handed to the CI software (at least in the case of CruiseControl.NET and more than likely others as well) because the source code forms a key part of the trigger process. This is shown in Figure 6-1.
CHAPTER 6 CONTINUOUS INTEGRATION
Figure 6-1. Automated build vs. continuous integration
CHAPTER 6 CONTINUOUS INTEGRATION
Translating the process of continuous integration into a system consists of several core features found in most products designed for CI. The clues for these are in the words continuous and integration. Continuous translates to a process that repeats itself constantly against a trigger of some description. With most CI products, this trigger is the monitoring of a source control repository for available changes, though the monitoring may take slightly differing parameters, and the monitored repository may actually be more esoteric than simply source control. Integration involves providing evidence of success of the process. While the onus is on the user to provide actual integration paths for the solutions under CI, the applications are usually designed to offer feedback such as unit test results. Generally, CI applications will have useful logging and feedback mechanisms to ensure that the team is notified as to the success or failure of a build. CI then is provided through the use of a suitable trigger. To be truly continuous, that trigger should occur when any source code is freshly committed to the source control database. We will see that other options are available too less rigid options but they are not actually continuous in the originally intended sense. Technically, achieving CI is more of a challenge. The constructs needed to provide a solution consist of a service with something like the following capabilities: Knowledge of how to trigger the NAnt scripts (or otherwise) to perform the actual build Knowledge of when to trigger the NAnt scripts: monitoring the source control database for changes Reporting and feedback methods Fortunately, CruiseControl.NET (and other CI applications) provide these capabilities more or less out-of-the-box, and so we can use one of these applications rather than creating something from scratch Now that we have considered the process in a holistic sense, let us examine the opportunities and threats involved with using CI. Broadly, CI provides practical benefits and improvements to the defined processes, and these represent its strengths, whereas the threats lie in the form of cultural issues and perhaps the occasional technical issue.
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