Continuous Integration with Continuum

Posted on Posted in Methodology Center

After setting up Continuum, I find it reasonably good to support continuous integration (for a free/open-source solution).The package for download is ready to run and easy to configure. This supports Agile development, quick-turn around. Initially, I was skeptic setting up this tool considering it may take me 3-5 days to setup. Well, I was wrong… I was able to get it up and running in a few hours and most of the time was actually spent fixing my ant script.

Deploying Continuum is relatively easy, just extract the tar.gz or zip, and execute bin\run… Viola! You now have continuous integration. 🙂 Well of course, this assumes you have the proper ant scripts and JUnit test codes to support it.

Let me outline the steps needed to implement continuous integration:

1.) Create your JUnit test. It is not much useful to setup continuous integration without unit test, part of the process is to ensure stable and working codes at any point in time (more or less) and the easiest way to achieve this is to run automated test scripts. So, create your unit test first.

2.) Setup your build scripts. The scripts will define the rules and parameters to be executed. You can create “build”, “deploy”, “run-test” scripts or whatever goal you desire to achieve. Personally, I find two main goals necessary – “build” and “run-test”. “build” script performs a clean build and creates the war file for deployment. This will be referenced for testing and promotions. “run-test” executes the unit test scripts so that you can schedule this in your CI tool.

3.) Check-in codes to repo. CI tools retrieve the files from some repository. In case of Continuum, it requires specific SCM URL format to retrieve the source codes for synchronization. This should be pretty simple task as most development environment have some form of repository (SVN, CVS, etc).

4.) Install Continuum. Extract the continuum package and execute the run batch file. You can access it at http:\\localhost:8080\continuum. Considering you have accomplished the tasks above appropriately, getting Continuum to run is quite straightforward as this tool already includes build-in web container(jetty) and database(hsql).

You can read more about continuous integration from Martin Fowler to decide whether this process is a good tool for you.

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