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Ship it! by William A. Gwaltney, Jared Richardson

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4 Build Automatically

An unattended build is an automatic one. However, before you can implement an automatic build, you must already have a manual build system in place that you can run with a single command. If you don’t have that, back up to 3, Script Your Build . You can’t automate a process that doesn’t exist.

Once you can build your product automatically, how often should you do so? Ideally, you will rebuild every time the code changes. That way you’ll know immediately if any change broke your build. Add a light­weight set of smoke tests to this system, and you also get a basic level of functional insurance as well. This type of system is called Continuous Integration.[5] A Continuous Integration (or CI) tool sits on a clean, nondeveloper ...

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