Continuous Integration on Software Medical Device Projects, Part 7

Build Labelling

A build is labeled with a predetermined version number (e.g., “2.0”) and with a Subversion changeset number. The beauty of this is that we have a build that is associated with a particular changeset and, by association, an entire set of project documents and sources (as long as we put everything in a single version control system). Once again it should be clear how beneficial such a setup is when thinking in terms of a DHF. No longer do we have to assign a particular team member to fumble through documentation, ensuring that the proper documents are copied to some folder. In fact, we have very little overhead; Our CI server did all the heavy lifting of us!

Mixed Revisions are BAD!

The changeset number, placed in a property file at build time (by the ant build task). If the changeset number has the letter M at the end (e.g., 3001M), the currently checked out fileset is a “mixed” revision.

The current working copy changeset number is easily viewable in TortoiseSVN or at the command line with the svnversion command. It is expected that during development and testing a mixed revision will be used at almost all times. However, any final build must not have the letter M in the build number.

If the letter M does appear in the build number of a formal build, it indicates that there are items in that build that are not up-to-date in the repository, and therefore the build cannot be duplicated using only a changeset or tag. To avoid this, the continuous integration server should be used to create formal builds, and it should be configured to use only a current changeset and no locally modified files.

Ant Build Targets

Build.xml is the Ant build file. It is located at the root level of the project source tree. The following build targets are necessary:

  • build – Compile all code, creating .class files
  • dist – Call the build target and package all code and necessary configuration files, creating a .war file (web application archive).
  • test – Execute automated tests
  • clean – Clean an existing build and dist (remove previously build items)
  • javadoc – Generate Javadoc
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