I'm writing this entry from a delegate work area at TechEd Barcelona. We've been talking to a lot of people over the past two days about FinalBuilder.
Many people have said "Oh, we have Team System. We already have automated builds." The surprising thing is how many people don't realise what they're missing out on, or that FinalBuilder can integrate directly with Team System.
With Team System you can do this in your build:
- Get a fresh copy of your project's source
- Build one or more Visual Studio 2005 solutions
- Run Visual Studio tests & Visual Studio code coverage analysis
- Deploy built applications to a network share
... that's about it.
Not that this is a bad thing - sometimes all you need to do is to build a solution, and you're done. It's still an automated build, and it's a world better than F5 as a build process.
However, with FinalBuilder you can easily extend Team Build to:
- Change the build process without editing XML
- Automatically update and increment version information
- Build solutions with any version of Visual Studio or MSBuild
- Create, edit or remove Work Items based on build outcomes
- Deploy to multiple locations, or via FTP
- Build third party projects
- Build installers
- Run tests using different test frameworks
- Build multiple versions or editions of the same product
- Build legacy code (possibly using different tools)
- Retrieve source code from legacy source repositories
- Generate structured build logs, with the ability to instantly jump to any points of failure.
FinalBuilder slots directly into Team Build as a build engine, in place of (or beside) MSBuild.
At TechEd, many people have recognised that they face one or more of these scenarios. A few have no other build requirements, but a lot of people have said "Oh, we've been doing that manually" or "Yes, we've been doing this with MSBuild but it's hard and it keeps breaking."
These are the cases where FinalBuilder can help create a true end-to-end build and release system, one which saves time and money and helps safeguard build quality and avoid last-minute surprises.
... and no more XML files!