Making Automated Tests Truly Automatic

[A version of this article appeared on eWeek http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Application-Development/How-to-Make-Your-Automated-Software-Tests-Truly-Automatic/] A recent poll of software development professionals showed that the majority would rather be doing their taxes than dealing with their company's test infrastructure. The reason: automated software tests require tremendous amounts of manual time and energy to configure, run, and...

Bridging the IT – Development Gap

In the last year I have increasingly run into a new character in application development shops - IT. IT is not taking over coding tasks, but they are certainly taking a much more active role regarding where application development tasks get run.   This is no surprise, as software development has...

A second look at SCons performance

UPDATE: In response to comments here and elsewhere, I've done another series of SCons builds using the tips on the SCons 'GoFastButton' wiki page. You can view the results here A few months ago, I took a look at the scalability of SCons, a popular Python-based build tool. The results...

Designing for high performance

Here's the thing about high performance: you can't just bolt it on at the end. It's got to be baked in from day one. No doubt those of you who are experienced developers are now invoking the venerable Donald Knuth, who once said, "Premature optimization is the root of all...

Visualizing Build Processes

The other day I was waiting for my continuous integration build to finish. Think about that a minute. See anything wrong with that statement? I was waiting for a continuous integration build to finish. The whole point of continuous integration is to detect integration errors as quickly as possible. After...

How scalable is SCons?

The marquee feature in ElectricAccelerator 5.0 is Electrify, a new front-end to the Accelerator cluster that allows us to distribute work from a wide variety of processes in addition to the make-based processes that we have always managed. One example is SCons, an alternative build system implemented in Python that...

Automating around scarcity by using virtual resources

[posted on behalf of Usman Muzaffar, who is on a long flight with no WiFi] Here's a sobering truth that shows up often in software automation: people are way better at sharing stuff than computers are. For example: say you have a scarce resource, like a box with special hardware...

How to quickly navigate an unfamiliar makefile

The other day, I was working with an unfamiliar build and I needed to get familiar with it in a hurry. In this case, I was dealing with a makefile generated by the Perl utility h2xs, but the trick I'll show you here works any time you need to find...

Seven lessons from seven years at Electric Cloud

We wrapped up the 2009 Electric Cloud Customer Summit a couple weeks ago. Like last year, I left refreshed and reinvigorated after hearing so many customers' stories. Comments like, "Developer builds are now measured in seconds [with Accelerator]. Nobody does local builds anymore," and, "ElectricAccelerator will give you better performance...

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