September 02, 2004 - Pragmatic Project Automation

Ever since I bought into Martin Fowler's line that "Imperfect tests, run frequently, are much better than perfect tests that are never written at all" I've had the ideas of developer testing and automation inexorably linked in my mind. And of course like any sort of believer I'm always on the lookout for tools to help convince and convert my more reluctant friends. How thankful I am then to Mike Clark for his new book, Pragmatic Project Automation.

Mike's book joins the existing members of the Pragmatic Starter Kit that cover version control and unit testing. But while I've recommended those previous volumes to other people, their "starter kit" nature make them of limited interest to people with experience in those area. In contrast PPA takes my existing knowledge and experience with automation and throws down the gauntlet: "what possible excuse do you have for not pushing your automation attempts further?"

We've written quite a bit on about our use of CruiseControl to automate our build/test cycle and the "extreme feedback" mechanisms we use to report on it. PPA covers how to get up and running with CruiseControl (including a story on our use of lava lamps -- we're famous!) but then extends the concept from there with ideas around automating production releases, deployments, and some fun ideas on monitoring. RSS feeds for application monitoring anyone? Reading the book gave me lots of ideas about stuff that we can and should automate here, and judging from the entries on PPA's companion blog site I'm not the only one.

Go check it out and put those CPU cycles to work!

Posted by Jeffrey Fredrick at September 2, 2004 02:37 PM

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