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CruiseControl Build Monitor

April 4th, 2008 at 6:00am — Rating: Firefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox pointFirefox no pointLink

If you are an enterprise developer who builds tiered applications, you'll no doubt run into CruiseControl. When you do, there is a little application provided to you that runs in your system tray called CCTray. CCTray monitors your build and let's you know when a build has been checked in and doesn't compile.

But you know what? Now, you don't need the little system tray application at all.

This week's extension review is the CruiseControl Build Monitor.

Overview

For those new to CruiseControl, CruiseControl is a concurrent building system that once you check your source code into CVS or SubVersion, CruiseControl is kicked off and compiles the entire project. If the project doesn't compile properly, a notification is sent to the users of the system to let them know that something is wrong with the current build (and let the programmers hang the one who checked in bad code).

In a team environment, this can be a real lifesaver.

Since you are developing Internet applications, what better place than the browser to put your notifications if a build doesn't compile properly.

Installation

After installing the extension (15k) and restarting your Firefox, you'll notice a couple of a green zeros in your system tray. At this point, everything is installed and ready for setup.

CruiseControl Build Control-Status Bar

Features

The only option available at this point is to right-click on the green zeros and select Options. A dialog box will appear for you to add your monitored list of CruiseControl servers.

CruiseControl Build Control-Server Configuration

Ask your team lead or administrator what the server name is for CruiseControl and yes, you have to have CruiseControl installed for this to work. Add your server and you should see your build status appear in the Build Monitor.

The control over your builds is quite a nice feature. If you want to build your application, right-click on your Build Monitor, select the application you want to rebuild, and click Rebuild. Simple and easy.

Another nice feature is the status of your builds appear in a tooltip when you hover over the Build Monitor. It's good to see this "at-a-glance" view.

Configuration

The only configuration screen available is the options screen when adding/editing/deleting servers.

I did notice that when adding a server, the only option available was "CruiseControl Java via JMX/HTTP." Will there be a future enhancement for .NET CruiseControl as well? We may need to ask the author. :-)

Conclusion

Even though the extension is in beta, I haven't encountered any problems with it yet. The extension appears to be stable enough for a production environment, but that's just me.

Overall, I like this extension and it provides a valuable service to enterprise team developers. I wouldn't expect the casual user to have a need for this type of extension.

If there is a .NET option coming soon, I would definitely welcome such a feature.

CruiseControl Build Control receives a rating of 4 out of 5.