Electric Cloud has announced that version 3 of its ElectricCommander software production management software will support "preflight" builds and tests, letting developers run builds and tests on production hardware before they check in their changes. This lets developers catch errors before they impact the productivity of the rest of the team, and makes the agile best practice of continuous integration (building and testing each time a change is checked in to source control) more scalable and reliable.
"The problem with continuous integration is that it can quickly turn into 'continuously broken builds,'" says Electric Cloud's Mike Maciag. "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."
Continuous integration is an 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.
For instance, 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 3.0 makes preflight builds push-button and easy for developers to complete right from their IDE. It runs a clean source snapshot and overlaying developer changes through production build and test procedures across all targets, giving 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 developers.