Friday 14 November 2008

Continuous Integration with CI Factory

For the project that I'm currently working on I've needed to set up an automated build process, no surprises there. Having worked in environments previously where the development and maintenance of the build occupied a large amount of effort, and required a reasonable amount of specialised knowledge I was keen to ensure that this would not be the case (it wouldn't be sustainable here). That in mind I chose to use CI Factory. There is some excellent documentation on how to install CIFactory on their site, and I will not repeat this here. Rather I will focus on what I had to do to get my application up and running. The application in question is a .NET 3.5 application.

I downloaded CI Factory following the link from the CI Factory website. This is to version and this is the version that I used. I have just noticed that if you click to view the full download list of all versions then the current version is I will be doing my next setup with this and it looks like I'll be following the upgrade instructions from here, which should help me to better understand this tool.

The first thing I did was to get VS2008 Team Suite installed on the Build machine, and VSS 2005 (yes we are still using VSS - TFS should be along in the next couple of weeks but we need our CI in place now).

I opened CIFactory.sln, converting it 2008 along the way using the Wizard, then opened the Arguments.xml file. Editing this file I:
  1. Renamed the project and pointed the projects location to the D drive. This is because, for SAN reasons, we have limited storage space on the C drive but the D drive can grow plenty.
  2. Entered the build master and an initial set of developer details.
  3. Removed the SVN details.
  4. Removed the unwanted packages (for now it is very stripped down, I will look to add more packages in the future when we buy licences for things like NDepend)
  5. Added the VSS package.
  6. Added the VSS arguments.
I opened the Properties.xml file for the MSBuild package and edited it to point to .net 3.5 instead of .net 2.0 (more of this later).

I then opened the Properties.xml file for the Visual Source Safe package and edited:
  1. The VSS.ExePath to point to the correct VSS install location, for me this is Program Files\Microsoft Visual SourceSafe\ss.exe
  2. The VSS.TemplateDB so that it used the D drive
At this point I ran run.bat and it went off and created the build system, the project structure in VSS, the build solution and its' files all by itself and all very nicely.

I still had some extra work to do though.

I got an error that VSS needed to set the ssdir directory. A bit of playing soon discovered that doing this did not help. What I did to resolve this was to open the ccnetproject.xml file and edit it in two places:
  1. Change the cruisecontrol\sourcecontrol\ssdir element so that it points to the correct path for the VSS share.
  2. Change the project\sourcecontrol\sourcecontrolprovider\ssdir element points to the correct path for the VSS share.
The final thing to sort was in response to an error message "External Program Failed: C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\msbuild.exe (return code was 1)]]".

To resolve this I opened the Compile.Target.xml file in the MSBuild package folder and edited it to alter the version of the framework that it refers to from 2.0 to 3.5, so that look like this:
<target name="Compile.CompileSource">
program="${framework::get-framework-directory('net-2.0')}\msbuild.exe" workingdir="${ProductDirectory}"
Having to change this was a bit annoying as I thought that changing this initially would have prevented my needing to repeat this step.

With this change I got a green light from the build, happy days, and a nicely packaged set of files. I still have a bit to do, getting some more packages added in. I also have to get some builds setup for some other projects, and upgrade this install. Additionally once I've upgraded I'll see if any of the issues I've had look like bugs and raise them if they are.

So I guess over the next couple of weeks I may blog more on this.

Blog posts that I found useful to get this far are:

Finally a big thanks to Jay Flowers for putting this all together.

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