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Continuous Integration

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Continuous Integration Authors: Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Mehdi Daoudi

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Continuous Integration: Article

Electric Cloud Releases ElectricCommander Version 3.0

Electric Cloud Delivers Missing Ingredient to Continuous Integration with ElectricCommander Version 3.0

Electric Cloud announced that it is making the agile best practice of "continuous integration" truly scalable and reliable with the newest version of its ElectricCommander SPM automation software, version 3.0, available later this month.

Continuous integration is a well-known agile best practice that promises to speed development and improve quality, but it can actually slow development and hurt quality by introducing frequently broken builds. ElectricCommander 3.0 enables simple, push-button "preflight builds and tests," a capability that makes continuous integration safe and reliable, particularly to enterprises with a high volume of builds, such as game development organizations.

"The problem with continuous integration is that it can quickly turn into ‘continuously broken builds,’" said Mike Maciag, Electric Cloud CEO. "The preflight build and test functionality in ElectricCommander 3.0 enables developers to run builds and tests on production hardware before checking in code to the SCM system, thereby catching errors before they impact the productivity of the rest of the team."

A development team practicing continuous integration integrates their work frequently, and each integration is verified by an automated build and test process to detect errors. In organizations with many developers or high volumes of code check-ins, such as game development organizations, a continuous integration approach means many build cycles per day. However, builds and tests that work on a developer’s machine often fail during integration due to differences in machine configurations, tool versions and platforms. When builds break, the quality and productivity benefits of an agile approach are simply not realized.

Just as a pilot goes through a rigorous preflight check routine to ensure the plane is in top condition prior to takeoff, automated preflight builds and tests put the power to compile and test each change before check-in and across all target environments with the developers themselves. This provides feedback at the earliest possible moment and reduces the impact that an error will have on the rest of the team. Preflight builds enable effective continuous integration in an enterprise environment.

ElectricCommander automates and accelerates the software build-test-deploy process that follows the creation of new code. ElectricCommander version 3.0 makes preflight builds truly push-button and easy for the developer to complete right from their integrated development environment (IDE). It runs a clean source snapshot and overlaying developer changes through production build and test procedures across all targets, allowing developers the opportunity to commit only if they are successful.

ElectricCommander 3.0 also includes new integrations with the Microsoft Visual Studio and Eclipse IDEs to make this process as simple as possible for the developer.

BioWare Relies on ElectricCommander's Preflight Builds for Effective Continuous Integration
BioWare, an electronic entertainment company and subsidiary of Electronic Arts, has been using ElectricCommander for preflight builds for almost a year. The team behind the hot new Dragon Age: Origins fantasy role-playing game was looking for ways to maintain high quality, ensure production goals were met, and coordinate the work of a large development team. They recognized the benefits of continuous integration and had implemented a continuous integration approach.

“We were looking for a solution that would shorten the build process and reduce the number of broken builds,” said Aaryn Flynn, Director of Programming, BioWare. “We recognized that this was costing us a lot both in terms of productivity and employee engagement. Our team is are now using a preflight build and test approach using ElectricCommander along with ElectricAccelerator, giving them the results of their changes across all platforms and dependencies within 12 minutes – a 75 percent reduction. With this robust testing combined with automatic check-ins, our developers have greater confidence when they submit their code for check-in. When their changes do cause an error, the check-in is rejected, they get timely feedback on the error and they have not impacted any other developer in the group.”

For more information on Electric Cloud contact Lisa Sheeran, [email protected] at Sheeran/Jager Communications.

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