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Manual vs. automatic CI

 
Ilja Preuss
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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?
 
Andrew Glover
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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).
 
Paul Duvall
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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
 
Ilja Preuss
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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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