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Joel on Software

2002/08/13

by Joel Spolsky
Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Daily Builds

I've been preaching the value of daily builds for a while now. Of course, they prevent any one developer from screwing up the rest of the team by checking in something which breaks the build, which makes them crucial for teams with more than about 1 person. Even on teams of 1, daily builds give you a way to track down weird bugs that seemed to have slipped in a while ago by binary searching through the historical builds. (What the heck?! It never did that before! Did it?) And more crucially, by giving you a canonical way to build "the final bits" from raw checkouts, you can be confident that you never forget some crucial step when you release a new version.

Last week Robert French emailed me to ask if there are any good tools for making daily builds on Windows. We've been using a product called FinalBuilder since last December, and in fact it is so good that in addition to daily builds we've pretty much started using it instead of scripts for routine system administration stuff for us (like moving files around for backup purposes, etc.) I highly recommend it.

Vincent Parrett over at Atozed Software has agreed to sell FinalBuilder exclusively to Joel on Software readers at $100 off (it's $199 instead of $299), but only until August 31st so hurry up and get some.


Have you been wondering about Distributed Version Control? It has been a huge productivity boon for us, so I wrote Hg Init, a Mercurial tutorial—check it out!

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