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Practical Development Environments by Matthew B. Doar

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Why Automation Is Vital

There is no separate chapter on automation in this book, because I believe that automation is vital in all aspects of a development environment. If you do something nontrivial twice, then at least document the steps that you followed. If you have to do it again, consider automating it. If a task has two or more steps and is manual, then someday someone will either perform the two steps out of order or forget one of them.

Automation by reducing the repeated parts of a task to a single command is one good idea. Improving tools and other parts of your environment will relieve the short-term points of pain, but automation will raise the whole level of productivity of your project one notch.

While it is easiest to automate an environment when it is first created, automation can be gradually introduced to an existing environment. First choose an automation environment (see the next section, Automation Environments) and then begin by automating how source code is obtained from your SCM tool. Then automate running a build using that source code. Then work out how to run unit tests and capture their results automatically. Finally, make sure you can automatically ...

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