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Build Automation Needs Data-Driven Intelligence

UrbanCode describes itself as "the leading provider of DevOps release and deployment tools" in a marketplace where there are arguably many other contenders for this title from Serena, to Joyent, to Puppet Labs and beyond.

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Marketing and public relations fluff lines aside, the firm has announced the release of its uBuild enterprise class build automation solution.

The firm says that uBuild is the first product to provide "true build automation" on a global scale. It ships with a central authoritative build framework (for quality and dependency control) and allows users to codify their best practices into build process templates.

Centralized builds are designed to allow the user to collect metrics around builds such as change tracking, test results, code coverage, and overall analytics. The build process templates are based on UrbanCode's own build automation solution AnthillPro for architectural testing, coding, and quality control.

"Team builds are a solved problem; however, when build management is left at a team level, it serves a very different purpose than the build management that is required at the enterprise level," said Maciej Zawadzki, CEO and cofounder of UrbanCode. "Build automation can now be used as a management tool rather than being primarily a developer productivity tool. Now a manager can ensure best practices are followed, approved tools are used, and project-level quality control is maintained, regardless of locations."

Enterprises are clearly focused on improving the software development process in order to gain quality and predictability in their releases. As teams scale in size and distance from the central location, it becomes very difficult to ensure best practices are followed.

UrbanCode asserts that its uBuild technology provides a solution to the problem of scale with quality indicators and best practice "checks". Unit tests, code coverage, and static analysis are three of uBuild's built-in sensitivity automation indicators that allow such errors to be caught before they turn into a production issue.

"The long-term aggregation of build data also allows managers to make data-driven decisions for the development, test, and release engineering teams. uBuild automatically compiles this build data and provides a view into the process, showing build progress or regression over time. This feature provides a form of visibility that shows at every level where errors are originated, as well as where elements of the code or process excel," said the company.

Jonathan Thorpe, product marketing manager at Serena, spoke to Dr. Dobb's in reaction to this new announcement: "The release management challenge is a big one for companies of all sizes, whether they either develop their own apps or rely on a third-party to develop their software. Getting apps into production in shorter timescales means automating some of the processes and keeping all those releases managed and audited."

"‪I see that there is a lot of education still required within developer teams and production IT units around what release management and automation can deliver. The expansion of DevOps is helping teams to understand and grapple with some of these challenges, but we still have a long way to go. This all helps to expand the market," added Thorpe.‬

Build Automation Needs Data-Driven Intelligence

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