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Case Study: Codix and FinalBuilder™


 Nick Bitounis, Chief Technology Officer at Codix talks about how FinalBuilder takes the pain away from doing builds.

[Note: This article is also available for download as a PDF here]

Overview


"The technical teams usually implement complex projects for the banking sector. Resources are typically dedicated to architectural, integration, authoring and testing tasks with little time left to attend to the intricate details of building a complete system. What we were looking for was a way to take the pain away from the build process and even add a bit of fun to it!"

Challenges faced


"Codix usually undertakes medium and large scale projects that target the banking sector. The build process involved in order to successfully create a test or release build, or create a patch is inherently complicated. In essence, we were faced with a list of tasks that should be coordinated in order to produce a build:
  • Integration with our SourceSafe version control system,
  • Compilation of numerous multi-project solutions created with Visual Studio .Net,
  • Generation of help files and setup installers,
  • Seamless integration of software protection tools in the build process,
  • Packaging of disparate files into archive redistributables.
In addition we needed the build process to be easy enough so that it could be initiated by everyone in the technical team. We also wanted a flexible process that could be easily altered and enhanced with new steps as our needs dictated. Finally, we wanted the build process to be automated and keep a detailed log which we could refer to if there was a problem."

Why Codix chose FinalBuilder


"Before selecting FinalBuilder, our technical teams used disparate and often confusing methods for creating builds. These included a mosaic of techniques ranging from the use of batch files to the incorporation of internally developed tools that read XML files with pre-selected build steps. In order to replace all of these with a tool that combined all our needs into a single application, we evaluated several marketed and open-source build tools. The key features that turned the scales in favour of FinalBuilder were the large number of available actions out-of-the-box and, most importantly, the ability to create new ones with FinalBuilder ActionStudio. Part of our build process was the generation of SQL scripts and the inclusion of INSERT statements in them. Originally, we had a command-line tool that handled this but now we’ve created a new action using ActionStudio. This was so easy to do that the newly created action was extended so that it can now provide a lot more flexibility in parameter selection and configuration and it is streamlined beautifully in the build process."

Return on Investment


"After we converted our build process to use FinalBuilder, we started realizing our investment immediately. Running the build process before FinalBuilder necessitated the presence of knowledgeable developers because it was too daunting for the more junior team members. There was also a good chance that one thing or another would need manual intervention and human action. With FinalBuilder, running a build became a simple routine task that anybody can undertake on a virtual build server, without having to sit tight and wait for it to finish. All in all, we estimate that we got our investment in FinalBuilder back at the very first project that it was used."

Other uses of FinalBuilder


 "The versatility and variety of the available FinalBuilder tasks quickly made us realize that we could also use the tool to write and schedule scripts for things other than software builds. We used FinalBuilder to automate source control integrity checks and backups, generate versions of SQL scripts of our development databases and even schedule file backups."

On a Server or on a Laptop


"Normally, build jobs are scheduled or executed interactively on our virtual build server. However, when a project moves from internal development and testing to integration testing that usually takes place on the premises of a client, the developers carry FinalBuilder with them. Once bug fixes and patches are made in the field, the technical team can run the build script to get a build very quickly across to the testing environment. FinalBuilder makes this possible because of the small demands that it makes on the host computer which, in these cases, is usually a laptop."

Ease of use


"One of the most pleasant surprises of working with FinalBuilder was that there was almost no learning curve involved with the product. Almost every feature was naturally digested by our developers. Originally, a single person undertook the task of converting the original build process to a series of FinalBuilder projects but very quickly more people joined simply because the interface is so much fun to work with."

Recommended


"After using FinalBuilder for a year, we would recommend it to any company that truly needs a tool to automate software builds. We consider the necessary investment to acquire a FinalBuilder license disproportionately smaller to the value it provides in terms of saving developer man-hours and providing a reliable and trustworthy tool that changes a build process from a painful exercise to a routine task."

Conclusion


 "After acquiring FinalBuilder, the generation of build scripts for new projects has been an enjoyable experience. Without requiring special skills, the tool has made it possible for us to quickly and effortlessly create new build scripts and it is now considered as one of the most powerful items in our toolkit arsenal."

About Codix


Codix S.A. is a privately owned corporation established in Athens in June 2002. Codix specializes in the field of computer technology (hardware and software), possessing extensive expertise in banking and financial systems, as well as systems integration skills for large and complex projects in the Telecommunications industry.

Codix Products


 Codix offers its products and services in specialized market segments, for example the financial, banking, brokerage, and stock exchange areas. While our services are tailored to the clients’ specific needs, assignments mainly tend to evolve around the following areas:
  • ATM/POS/EFT
  • Credit Card Processing
  • Retail/Wholesale Banking/Dealing Room systems
  • Electronic Banking - Home Banking
  • Network Management
  • Branch Automation
  • Securities Automation
  • Brokerage Firm Automation
  • Settlement and Clearing Systems
  • Disaster Recovery Planning

About VSoft Technologies


 VSoft Technologies have been in business since 1996, and are focused on developing automation software for software developers, software configuration managers, system administrators, network administrators and IT professionals. Both FinalBuilder and Automise save time and money by providing easy to use, flexible and powerful solutions to automation tasks. Visit our website at either http://www.finalbuilder.com/ or http://www.automise.com/ to find out more information and to download fully functional 30 day evaluation editions. FinalBuilder™ is a Trade Mark of VSoft Technologies Pty Ltd. All other product and company names listed are trademarks or trade names of their respective companies.

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