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Source control, change tracking, and regular builds

Posted by daniel on February 13, 2004 at 4:42 AM PST

Michael Ivey writes that if you don't yet use source control, change tracking, and regular builds in your process, you should implement them today.

For him, the most important to implement is change tracking. His What I want to know about your process is the latest featured article . In it he writes, " Source control can be added to your development routine in a single day and for no money, assuming that company bureaucracy doesn't get in the way." The benefit is that "Source control gives you the freedom to undertake major refactoring projects or experiment with a potentially risky code change with a safety net. Just think of it as multilevel 'undo' for your source code."

As for the second practice, he writes "The first step to implementing regular builds is to find all of the files needed for a build and make sure that they are under source control. Then automate all of the manual steps with a build tool like make or Ant. The goal here is one command to a shippable build. There should not be any manual steps required to finish a build, because manual steps are opportunities for error."

Finally, he advocates a bug tracking or change tracking system and reminds you that there is a difference between priority and severity for change requests and that your tool should be able to handle both. He recommends Bugzilla as a free and open choice. In any event, use the article's trackback to chime in on the issues that Michael raises.

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Alexander and Olexiy Prohorenko introduce you to Using JUnit with Eclipse IDE. They take you through an introductory example and focus on developer tests. These are the tests that XP developers often refer to as Unit tests. The Prohorenkos point out that in the testing world, Unit testing already has a specific and different meaning.

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In today's Weblogs Chris Adamson asks whether Java applications should look like native apps or should they advertise themselves as Java? In As Your Users Like It , Chris Adamson points to a problem for those people who advocate making Java applications run so smoothly, so much like a native application, that folks don't realize they are using Java. When I was done laughing at the following paragraph, I realized that Chris has outlined a real challenge that can't really be solved by a "Java Inside" campaign.

This is the paradox: if we do a great job of concealing the Java-ness of an application, then we don't really advance the platform (if that's even an important goal... should it be?). But it's a blunt reality that in the here and now, there are users who absolutely will not use a cross-platform look-and-feel application. Heck, I haven't worked anywhere where the management thought the Windows L&F was Windows-y enough (and I'm like, "what, our app is ugly and confusing... how much more like Windows do you want?"). Don't get me started on the Mac zealots. And as much as the multi-device argument makes sense in theory, in practice there are only three J2SE environments that matter (Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X), and it's a rare user that uses more than one.

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