Saturday, September 26, 2009

IDEs and Builds Scripts (September Better Software)

I wrote an article for the September/October issue of Better Software Magazine: IDEs and Build Scripts in Harmony where I discuss how to use build tools, and IDEs while minimizing duplicate work and getting the benefits of both tools.

As usual, the editors did a great job selecting metaphorically appropriate art work, and there is lots of other good content in the issue, including an interesting commentary by Lee Copeland on testing, Scrum, and "testing sprints."

I won't repeat anything I say in the article (since I already said it), but I want to add some philosophical comments. The question of working in environments that use IDEs for development and integration builds that are driven by other tools is one that I care about because it involves some of the issues that often cause a lot of angst and discussion on development teams:
  • Standardization and the effects of tools on individual and team productivity, and
  • Repetition: having the same information in two places.
Many of these problems can be solved by tools that separate information appropriately. For example, dependency information in build scripts, formatting information in IDE settings, so you don't need to have duplicate configurations checked in. Or even having some sort of canonical way to describe formatting rules which you keep with the build scripts in a form that IDEs can leverage. This frees developers to use the tool that they are most accustomed to (and productive in), while maintaining the amount of standardization that helps teams be more productive.

I hope that you find the article interesting and thought-provoking.



Note: There was a production error that caused an old bio to show up in the print edition. I work at Humedica, not where the bio says .

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