06 Dec 04
MobBuildingWhen Mike Blake's team used their own mobile application to serve up a fresh build of that same application, they made sure they had something to help wash the dog food down. Brilliant! He writes:
"No more think, time to drink!" shouted Fernando from his seat at a door propped up on plastic sawhorses. This was my favorite thing to hear late on a Thursday at a small start-up company south of San Francisco back at the turn of the century. We developed mobile applications at ViaFone. I worked as the build manager with several talented engineers who constantly introduced me to the latest technologies including Ant and JUnit. So it was no surprise that we had fully automated checkout, build, installation and testing of our core product.
Although the build fired off automatically early every morning, there were times when colleagues needed additional builds to use the latest functionality. Since our company mission was to create applications for mobile devices, I decided to try eating a little of our own dog food. I installed a lightweight telnet application on my Kyocera Palm OS phone, had a friend poke a hole in the firewall, and with a few simple shell scripts it was born: The Mobile Build.
Thursday drink night had grown from an informal gathering of engineers to a company wide tradition. One Thursday evening at an Irish pub in downtown Frisco, I received a call from a project manager requesting a fresh build. This was a golden opportunity to debut The Mobile Build. I pulled out my stylus, logged on to the build server, and ran a shell script. A tail of the log file scrolled gracefully by on the little monochrome screen. The phone made its way around the pub. Happy engineers watched in turn as their components built and tested successfully. The Guinness tasted sweet just then. "Technically, we’re all working right now," said our leader Fernando. Well then, I thought, cheers to automation!