a little madness

A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free -Nikos Kazantzakis


Archive for October, 2008

CITCON Amsterdam 2008 Retrospective

Over the weekend I attended the latest CITCON in Amsterdam. Like the last CITCON I made it to (in Sydney), this was a great event. There is no doubt that the conference formula of:

  • free
  • focused
  • open spaces
  • on the weekend

works well. I attended a bunch of interesting sessions, my favourite probably being Ivan Moore’s on “Flickering Builds”. Our own Selenium-based acceptance tests have brought a world of flickering pain, which we only eliminated with a great deal of effort. Even though we may know how to test an asynchronous UI, mistakes are still made and they are always more difficult to diagnose when they are timing-dependent. The important message from this session was that unexplained failed builds cannot be tolerated: every failure should be investigated, and underlying bugs in the software, tests or environment resolved.

I also gave a short demo of Pulse 2.0 in the “CI Server Smackdown” session. Due to a limited amount of time and a high amount of overlap among the feature sets of all tools, I opted to focus primarily on one of our new killer features: templated configuration. In Pulse 2.0, there is no need to duplicate configuration among similar projects, or for different builds of the same project. Instead, you define a template with all the shared configuration, and inherit concrete projects from that. After all, you don’t tolerate duplication in your codebase — so why tolerate it in your CI server configuration? The demo seemed to go down well from the feedback I got afterwards. In fact I was really humbled by the feedback from people who had tried Pulse at the conference — it was all really positive!

Thanks go out to PJ, JtF and the CITCON volunteers for putting on another great event. Looking forward to CITCON Europe next year…