John Smart on Hudson and “The Tools You Should Be Using”

This morning at JavaOne I took the opportunity to catch John Smart’s first talk on Advanced Hudson Usage. Not that I’m thinking of switching, of course 🙂 I was keen to compare how he handled several tasks in Hudson to how we’ve been doing similar things with Continuum.

It was an interesting talk for anyone looking at build management in general, highlighting the need for feedback, visibility and delivery; and how to work with different tools all through the development spectrum. Some details from the talk are on the Hudson live blog.

True to his form from Java Power Tools, John spent some time highlighting those other tools that everyone should be using. The responses particularly caught my attention. There were plenty of people in the room using Maven, which wasn’t surprising. However uptake on others was lower. Who is using an enterprise repository manager? Several hands, but not close to being all of the Maven users. Checkstyle, FindBugs? Sonar? Failing the build on quality checks? Only a handful I could see in each case. Automated deployment? Only moderate usage. Distributed builds? Described as the feature all self-respecting build server should have, there were again very few people using it in the room.

John’s response to many of the “are you using… ?” questions was a strong “You should be!”. I certainly agree, and having had many of these in place in varying degrees for several years, I often take for granted that they are the first thing to set up on a new project.

The amount of work and resources needed to get them all up and running, and working together seamlessly, needs to become easier. In our environment, even though we had a well integrated set of tools, we faced challenges with scaling when creating several new projects and managing multiple branches, and going the last mile on very frequent patch releases.

That was the motivation for what has gone into Maestro 3 this year, and the responses at the conference so far give me strong encouragement that we’ve been heading in the right direction. Instantly setting up integrated Maven, Continuum, Archiva, Sonar, Selenium and deploying the application bundle through a single UI was the first step, and we now have the basis for greater consistency and reuse for project set up and configuration through Maestro compositions. We’re now gearing up for more frequent build and test cycles over distributed agents from both our private cloud and Amazon EC2.

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