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On the Roman Empire, Continuous Integration, and Belgium

Posted by johnsmart on November 26, 2008 at 10:06 AM PST

In some ways, CI practices can be traced back to the time of the Roman Empire. At this time, initials SPQR where once seen on both sides of the Mediterranean, from the mists of Scotland to the deserts of Syria: they stood for Senatus Populusque Romanus, which, I have it on good authority, is Latin for "the Senate and the People of Rome". Now some would have it that these initials also stand for "Small Profits, Quick Returns", and that this is actually the motto of that illustrious establishment the Bank of England.

All true craftsmen need the best tools

In fact, "Small Profits, Quick Returns" is a very apt metaphor for the philosophy behind Continuous Integration. Development work should be done in very small chunks, accompanied by a unit test or two to ensure that everything works as expected. Once the developer is ready, she commits her changes to the version control system. The build server picks up these changes, and makes sure the application is still sound. If there is a problem, then the small number of changes made since the last commit make it easy to isolate and fix the error.

Now it just so happens that SPQR is what's written on the City Hall in Antwerp (though I don't know what it stands for in Dutch). I will have the pleasure of giving two talks in Antwerp in December, for this year's Devoxx conference, which should be a lot of fun. One will be a 3 hour session about build automation, called Java Power Tools, where I will discuss and demonstrate a swathe of build automation tools and techniques. The second will be on Behaviour-Driven Development with Easyb, one of the coolest upcoming testing tools of the moment.

There are heaps of cool speakers and Java rock stars presenting stuff, too, so it should be a great conference. If you're in Belgium at that time, come along! And give a yell if you want to catch up over a Belgium beer over there!

"Best development course I have been on in a very long time...Greatly enjoyed the course...A 'must' course for serious Java developers..." - Read what people are saying about the Java Power Tools Bootcamps.