CI: Thoughts on CC.Net and Hudson

14 Jul 2009

I have been a fan of CI (Continuous Integration) for a long time now, and ever since I started with CI I have been using CruiseControl.Net. CCNet is incredibly powerful; you can make to do practically anything, and writing plugins for it is a breeze.

However, I do find that the config files get rather messy. I have tried many things and the current best solution seems to be to have one 'master' config file with a set of includes to other files. While this splits it all out nicely I find my config files are all very similar especially for projects which I build in Debug mode and in Release mode. These configs are identical bar Build Location, and the /p:Configuration=Debug flag passed to MSBuild. I have been reading about Dynamic Parameters and I think I can solve the problems with that, however time is a little short at work, so that is defiantly on the back burner.

I have also been reading a lot of good things about Hudson which while being a Java aimed CI Server, can be used with MSBuild through Nant, or plugins to let you use MSBuild directly (a nice guide is at [redsolo's blog]). While I also have not had the time to have a proper play with it, I must say it does look very good.

It may still have messy configs (I don't know yet, haven't really looked), but as everything is done through a nice web interface rather than a CLI, who cares? I was very impressed with how quick it was to get running too: java -DHUDSON_HOME=data -jar hudson.war. It uncompressed itself, and got going straight away. No messing with installers. Very nice.

The only thing I dislike so far is the background picture in the web interface. So I deleted it. Other than that (very) minor niggle, I think I like Hudson a lot, and look forward to playing around with it in the future.

ci

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