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Further Reading I vividly remember one of my first sightings of a large software project.
I was taking a summer internship at a large English electronics company. My manager, part of the QA group, gave me a tour of a site and we entered a huge depressing warehouse stacked full with cubes. I was told that this project had been in development for a couple of years and was currently integrating, and had been integrating for several months.
My guide told me that nobody really knew how long it would take to finish integrating. From this I learned a common story of software projects: But this needn't be the way. Most projects done by my colleagues at ThoughtWorks, and by many others around the world, treat integration as a non-event.
Any individual developer's work is only a few hours away from a shared project state and can be integrated back into that state in minutes. Any integration errors are found rapidly and can be fixed rapidly. This contrast isn't the result of an expensive and complex tool.
The essence of it lies in the simple practice of everyone on the team integrating frequently, usually daily, against a controlled source code repository.
The original article on Continuous Integration describes our experiences as Matt helped put together continuous integration on a ThoughtWorks project in When I've described this practice to people, I commonly find two reactions: What people find out as they try it is that it's much easier than it sounds, and that it makes a huge difference to development.
Thus the third common reaction is "yes we do that - how could you live without it? When I started at ThoughtWorks, as a consultant, I encouraged the project I was working with to use the technique.
Matthew Foemmel turned my vague exhortations into solid action and we saw the project go from rare and complex integrations to the non-event I described.
Matthew and I wrote up our experience in the original version of this paper, which has been one of the most popular papers on my site. Although Continuous Integration is a practice that requires no particular tooling to deploy, we've found that it is useful to use a Continuous Integration server.
The best known such server is CruiseControl, an open source tool originally built by several people at ThoughtWorks and now maintained by a wide community. Since then several other CI servers have appeared, both open source and commercial - including Cruise from ThoughtWorks Studios.
Building a Feature with Continuous Integration The easiest way for me to explain what CI is and how it works is to show a quick example of how it works with the development of a small feature.
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