Monthly Archives: September 2010

We’re hiring

We’re looking for some help, and we can train up a graduate:

Us: we’re a small UK consultancy who help people get better at delivering software. It’s easy to write software. Getting it into production where it makes money is a lot harder. That’s where we come in. We make sure that there’s a proper process for getting code built and promoted into production, with confidence.

You: you’re probably a computer science graduate. Though you may have a different background. You’re good with computer systems and want to see how the entire process of developing software works, from design to decommission. We’ll help you hone your skills on the appropriate tools before we send you out to clients to help them kick ass.

You’ll need to be able to think on your feet, learn quickly, and want to help people. You’ll also need the right to work in the UK. In return we’ll give you a ground-floor opportunity in a busy market niche and plenty of room to grow your skills and career.

If you’re looking for work or fancy a change of scene, do get in touch:


The Build AssemblyLifePipeLoom

Dave Farley, co-author of Continuous Delivery (I got my copy last month – more on that in another post) commented on a blog post about the origins of the term build pipeline. He might well do, as it was his idea to make the pipeline concept central to the book.

Being a bit of a geek I called it a pipeline not because it is like a real pipeline, transporting a fluid, but because it reminded me of instruction pipelining in CPUs. Effectively the deployment pipeline (aka build pipeline) works, as a process, by doing branch prediction. We assume that later stages will pass, and so can move on to work on new stuff as soon as the commit stage has succeeded. If subsequent, post-commit, pipeline stages pass, we have won our gamble and so have made progress faster, if they break we have a pipeline stall and have to go back and fix the failure.

UrbanCode came up with the idea of Build Lifecycle.

Jason Yip once suggested that the model for Continous Integration has always been the Toyoda Loom.

I prefer the term Build Assembly Line. Think of engines plopping out from one part of the factory, being inspected and sometimes kicked off the line.  Eventually, you might use an engine, or install it in another assembly and use that.

Doesn’t matter which you choose though: What’s important is having a metaphor for the thing you’re building. ¬†Otherwise you’ll build something weird.

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Go with the grain

Go with the grain. When you’re planing wood, you have to follow the grain of the wood. The grain has a direction, which depends on the cut of the wood. (which is the way it grew). Do that and you’ll end up with thin shavings and a smooth finish.. Go against the grain, and you’ll rip out chunks.

I’ve worked with Ant builds that did the same thing. Instead of using the features of the tool the way they grew, people have fought against them. The result is usually expensive and wasteful.

Many of our tools (in my opinion, the best ones) are optimized to do one thing well: that’s their grain. Go with it, or choose another.

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Autumn Conference Fun

  • San Francisco, October 7-8: Puppet Camp. Gutted that I can’t make that one. Though won’t miss the jet lag.
  • Hamburg, October 15-16: DevOpsDays Europe. The first time was great. High expectations for the second, as well.
  • London, November 5-6: Citcon Europe 2010. Prague didn’t give us a warm welcome, but London always does.

Also, I’ll show up at the Agile Comes to You seminar in London, organised by this blogs sponsors, Urbancode.

Do tell if you have any other conferences of note.

Do not adjust your set

The Build Doctor is married, back from honeymoon and straight back onto a project.

It hasn’t escaped my attention that this blog took too long to load pages. Pingdom would taunt me every month with reports of the response time being 2 over 2 seconds. That turned out to be the expensive WordPress theme making a lot of SQL queries as it constructed the page. With Google now making an emphasis on fast, I decided to play along and change my theme.

Things might get … minimal.