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Manual vs. automatic CI

Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Hi,

many people, when thinking of continuous integration, automatically think of an(pun not intended) automated system, like a CI server.

Others, though, voice the opinion that ideally, CI isn't done using a tool, but manually. See for example http://www.jamesshore.com/Blog/Continuous-Integration-is-an-Attitude.html

What is your point of view in the book?


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Andrew Glover
author
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 19, 2002
Posts: 16
Right on-- CI is a process and not a tool. While you can certainly facilitate CI in a manual manner, I tend to prefer automation (especially for assembling software, where the process proscribes compilation, testing, inspection, deployment, etc).


Certified City Slicker
Paul Duvall
author
Greenhorn

Joined: Jul 17, 2007
Posts: 29
Others, though, voice the opinion that ideally, CI isn't done using a tool, but manually.
What is your point of view in the book?


I completely agree with Jim about CI being an attitude. Because of personal preference, I like to use an automated CI server. I suggest that if a team can pull it off, manual CI can be a very effective approach (and how CI was originally implemented). In the book, we say as such and in the text, we give more examples that relate to automated CI since this is how it is implemented most often (and our personal preference).

More often than not, some feel that once they've installed a CI server, they are "doing CI". This is simply not true and I recently blogged about how "Continuous Integration is NOT about the CI server" at http://www.nofluffjuststuff.com/blog/paul_duvall/2007/08/continuous_integration_is_not_about_the_ci_server.html


Co-author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0321336380/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk </a> <br />(Addison-Wesley Martin Fowler Signature Series, 2007). Companion website for the book is <a href="http://www.integratebutton.com/" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">IntegrateButton.com</a>
Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
Paul, interesting blog entry, thanks!

I could resonate very well with this paragraph:


Interestingly, I have found that when teams hear that a CI �server� is being installed, it can help instill or even encourage people to begin employing beneficial development practices that work well in a CI environment, but unless the team culture changes, it�s usually a short-lived gain.


CI in our team actually started when I installed Cruise Control (in a guerilla kind of way). Today, years later, though, I wonder whether we might actually be stuck half way because we rely too much on the server...
 
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