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Java Power Tools by John Ferguson Smart

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Part III. Continuous Integration

“I don’t see much sense in that,” said Rabbit. “No,” said Pooh humbly, “there isn’t. But there was going to be when I began it. It’s just that something happened to it along the way.”

“Tigger is unbounced,” The House at Pooh Corner, A.A. Milne.

One of the hardest things to do in any development project is keeping on track. Many software projects end up going off in unexpected directions, both from a technical perspective and from a business one. Modules built by different developers can be difficult to integrate. Lack of visibility of the application being coded often leads to an ever-widening gap between what the user expects and what the development team actually builds.

Continuous Integration can help your project in both regards, as it is a powerful technique that can be used to make your development process smoother, more visible, and less risky.

If there is one technique that can revolutionize your development process, it is Continuous Integration.

The underlying principle of Continuous Integration is simple: integrate early, and integrate often. Continuous Integration has been around for at least 10 years, although more recently it has been brought into the spotlight by Agile methodologies.

So what is Continuous Integration anyway? Continuous Integration is based on the observation that the longer you wait to integrate your team’s code, the harder it gets. In many projects, a typical development lifecycle goes something like this. Initially, coding ...

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