Running Continuous Integration in cloud

Continuous integration (CI) is an essential part of agile software development and gaining acceptance due to increased pressure for getting higher productivity from R&D resources.

Increasingly distributed development teams (due to community sourced development and/or low cost sites of big players) have lead to different kind of productivity problems than just developer downtime due to long build times. Of course short build times are still crucial, but one should be able to see the big picture of improving software development productivity that continuous integration brings.

Like Martin Fowler (martinfowler.com) puts it: “The whole point of working with CI is that you’re always developing on a known stable base”. This is true for development teams of every size, but especially for distributed ones. Every time a commit against the repository is done, the server automatically checks out the sources onto the integration server, initiates a build, and notifies the committer of the result of the build. The committer isn’t done until she gets the notification and in most cases this process takes only few minutes. On that tested new version teams in the next room or all over the world can base their work and use less time for communicating bugs and problems. At all times you know where you are, what works, what doesn’t, the outstanding bugs you have in your system. Anyone involved with a software project should be able to get the latest executable and be able to run it: for demonstrations, exploratory testing, or just to see what changed this week.

The whole value of Continuous Integration comes from instant feedback

Many organizations do regular builds on a timed schedule, for instance every night. This is not the same thing as a continuous build and is not enough for continuous integration. The whole point of continuous integration is to find problems as soon as you can. Nightly builds mean that bugs lie undetected for a whole day before anyone discovers them. Once they are in the system that long, it takes a long time to find and remove them. Also the nightly builds schedule does not work perfectly in the distributed development. Global teams work virtually 24h a day so true continuous integration is the only way to provide instant feedback on the mainline stability.

Justifying Continuous Integration Expenditure

Efforts to improve productivity through continuous integration are wasted, if executing each builds build starts to take hours. Long build times ruin the whole effort of improving the process. But how to justify investment proposal in CI servers to the CFO of a company. One can use “Cup of Coffee Metric for Continuous Integration” (pauljulius.com): hours wasted per developer * number of developers * average hourly rate * 20 working days a month (on average) = monthly cost of not having the right hardware. Team of only 10 developers, who waste 30min a day, 20 days a month at rate of $50/€50/£50/what ever your currency costs $/€/£5000 of not having the right hardware. Of course buying a server is not all of the costs. There still are normal running costs, electricity, cooling, rackspace, administration, firewalls etc. associated with running in-house servers. Our proposal is to use computing resources on-demand, only when you need it, at a flat monthly fee. This approach should, and will, resonate extremely well with those who pay the CI bills, CFO’s and controllers.

How to get most of it?

The best way is to get someone who has done Continuous Integration before to help you as there are numerous process and tool related details that have to be kept in mind. And of course we propose to use on-demand CI to minimize risks and costs, also in the long run. Eventually, you also pay in lost time and productivity if you don’t do it.



New Bitbar website launched

02/10/2010 – Bitbar has launched new website at www.bitbar.com. New website is introducing new visual appearance and emphasizing Bitbar’s focus on Cloud accelerated integration and validation services with the introduction of “Cloud accelerated software development” tagline.

Bitbar offers cloud based continuous integration, build and validation services on fixed monthly fee basis. With these services Bitbar customers can reduce developer downtime, accelerate time to market, improve quality and lower the fixed costs in their software development.


Bitbar joins Symbian Foundation

Cambridge 09/25/2009 Bitbar today announced that it has joined the Symbian Foundation, which, together with its ecosystem, is creating the most proven, open and complete mobile software platform.

The platform is based on Symbian OS and software assets contributed by Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, and Sony Ericsson, including the S60 and MOAP(S) user interfaces. Portions of the source code are already being moved to open source, under the Eclipse Public License. By mid-2010, this process will be complete.

As a member of the Symbian Foundation, Bitbar gains the immediate right to license the Symbian Foundation platform, royalty free and without source code fees; participate in the governance of the foundation; and take part in joint marketing and branding campaigns.

We believe that open sourced Symbian platform will become ever more popular in mobile and consumer electronics industries, than its 250+ million installed base of today. Open source changes the economics of software production, commoditizing intellectual property, accelerating innovation and allowing new kinds of services” said Jouko Kaasila, founder of Bitbar. “We know the Symbian Foundation platform inside out, and now we are building our services on top of this asset to deliver our expertise to our customers in a new way.”


About Bitbar

Bitbar is a mobile open source support and services company established solely to support application and middleware developers, mobile operators, OEMs and hardware vendors to make the most of open source software by providing configuration, build and validation tools, developer support and problem solving services on subscription basis.

For more information please visit https://bitbar.com/testing/


About Symbian

The Symbian Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization whose mission is to enable an open ecosystem that collaborates to create the most complete and richest user experiences for mobile devices. Symbian maintains the code for an open source software platform based on Symbian OS and software assets contributed by Nokia, NTT DOCOMO, and Sony Ericsson, including the S60 and MOAP(S) user interfaces.

The foundation software licensing model and governance structure has been designed to secure transparency, encourage contribution and maintain platform consistency. The foundation promotes collaboration, contributions and active participation and operates as a meritocracy. Portions of the platform’s source code have already been moved to open source, under the Eclipse Public License. By mid-2010 this process will be complete, making the platform code available to all for free.

The Symbian Foundation now occupies offices in the UK (London), US (Foster City), Japan (Tokyo), and Finland (Helsinki) and will soon have regional operations in China (Beijing). For more information please visit www.symbian.org or blog.symbian.org.


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