Comment On Release Management Done Right

I was having lunch with a colleague the other day when his phone rang with the distinctive office ringtone. Rolling his eyes, he excused himself to take the call. It was just a run-of-the mill workplace emergency, but there was one thing he said that I couldn’t help overhearing: “fine! I guess we’ll just do a new release for QA.” [expand full text]
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Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:29 • by dkf
It strikes me that Release Management (or whatever you want to label it with) is a sub-discipline of Software Engineering; you can't call a piece of software correctly engineered if it is not possible to release it into use. Only once the code is truly released can a feature be truly said to be finished, as customers (wisely) don't want to futz around with build internals.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:37 • by Steve The Cynic
349243 in reply to 349242
dkf:
It strikes me that Release Management (or whatever you want to label it with) is a sub-discipline of Software Engineering; you can't call a piece of software correctly engineered if it is not possible to release it into use. Only once the code is truly released can a feature be truly said to be finished, as customers (wisely) don't want to futz around with build internals.

+1

Also note that most descriptions of the classical waterfall model of software engineering include "phases" that are after release, and therefore the process of releasing software, by definition, is part of the discipline (ha!) of software engineering.

Some words I wrote over twenty years ago in a term paper when I was in university, quoted here because they remain as true now as they were then: "Software engineering is hard." Indeed, experience has taught me that these words are a grotesque understatement.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:39 • by Anonymous Cow-Herd (unregistered)
Frist (±2)

Today's post clearly was not in any way a thinly-veiled commercial for BuildMaster, honest!

__
Note from Alex: drat, caught me red-handed! That's right, this whole thing *wasn't* a thinly-veiled opportunity for me to link to Jenga at Amazon. No, no, I don't have a sci-fi bluray habit that's fed by referral links. But seriously, you should check out Jenga, it's a ton of fun for the whole family. And while you're there (visting from this link of course), check out all the other Great Stuff Amazon has to offer! Jenga.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:47 • by Rootbeer

When do they get to the fireworks factory?

Or to rephrase, now that you've explained how build management should work, what was the WTF in your colleague's process and how did it manifest?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:55 • by boog
Good article. After working in IT for a number of years, it all seems like it should be common sense.

Then again, after working in IT for a number of years, it's disturbing how many people still need these concepts repeatedly explained to them.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:57 • by BuildMaster (unregistered)
Instead of a funny story, we get a two-page advertisement for BuildMaster. Yay Tuesday!

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 10:59 • by doctor_of_common_sense (unregistered)
Article in one line: this is the released build of my comment. (Or did I miss anything?)

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:10 • by C-Octothorpe
349252 in reply to 349245
Rootbeer:
what was the WTF in your colleague's process and how did it manifest?

I think his soapbox rant was spurred by his colleague’s misuse of the word "release", although my guess is he uses the terms "build" and "release" interchangeably.

boog:
Then again, after working in IT for a number of years, it's disturbing how many people still need these concepts repeatedly explained to them.

This x100...

I work in a large insurance company, and I still see "promotions" done the "easy" way: Here is a zip with 6 ascx files, 2 dlls and 3 images, and here is a "file list" of where these files go.

I don't know if it's because I'm a moron but I just naturally feel way more comfortable deploying everything as one deployment "unit" rather than fucking around with 3 files here, 2 files here, oh, and in the web.config on line 43 (at least on my machine it is), change this line...

This is compounded by the fact that we have a separate group who handles promoting code between envs. who are NOT developers and have almost no domain knowledge.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:16 • by wheaties (unregistered)
349254 in reply to 349244
Anonymous Cow-Herd:
Frist (±2)

Today's post clearly was not in any way a thinly-veiled commercial for BuildMaster, honest!



My turn next! Feature our product next! I can write a really great WTF for yas...

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:17 • by frits
This sounds like some of the most important parts of a well-controlled configuration management program.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:25 • by anonymous_coward (unregistered)
349256 in reply to 349252
I work in a large insurance company, and I still see "promotions" done the "easy" way: Here is a zip with 6 ascx files, 2 dlls and 3 images, and here is a "file list" of where these files go.
<snip>
we have a separate group who handles promoting code between envs. who are NOT developers and have almost no domain knowledge.


And this is why you need a file list... to tell the non-developer moving the files what to do. This is common. Keep the change as small as possible (minimum number of files) and provide install directions (you can now audit the actual changes against the provided instructions).

The easy way would be to zip the entire filesystem image and dump it onto the production server. You just have to hope someone didn't modify something unrelated in dev or intentionally slip in malware. E.g. When you see the change list at an atomic file level, common sense says changes to the insurance prenmium rate file shouldn't also include a change to the login security library.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:25 • by eVil (unregistered)
Lack of funny left me disappointed.
Also, reliving my own terrible experiences of build management makes me want to cry.

The only positive thing I've come away with from this, is the inexplicable urge to purchase software from Inedo. Anyone else notice that?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:26 • by Alex Papadimoulis
349258 in reply to 349245
Rootbeer:

When do they get to the fireworks factory?

Or to rephrase, now that you've explained how build management should work, what was the WTF in your colleague's process and how did it manifest?


At around 2,500 words, I figured it was long enough already... but, it basicaly was what C-Octothorpe said:

C-Octothorpe:
I still see "promotions" done the "easy" way: Here is a zip with 6 ascx files, 2 dlls and 3 images, and here is a "file list" of where these files go.


The added WTF was that there was some bastardized source control branching strategy they used to "promote" these "packages". When something didn't work (read: all the time), they'd add or remove packages of code to try to fix it. Once it worked in QA, all the packages were moved en mass to production. That also never worked... especially for database changes.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:37 • by StupidTheKid (unregistered)
Process WTF are as much related to software as hot gums are related to bus seats. Processes determine how software is designed, implemented, tested and released. Process WTF will very often result in Software WTF. Here is an example from a project I had to review post-mortem:

1) Process determine that the application will be broken down into components.
2) Process shows that components are developed separately.
3) Process has no defined integration activity.
4) Project is delayed two weeks (from a 12 week schedule) because components are unable to communicate with each others.

While some people will argue that process themselves are useless, they help a lot when trying to find the problem. In this particular case, it was easy enough to find and to fix. And with this simple improvement, more accurate estimates will be provided from now on, which means happier developer, and less WTF.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:44 • by C-Octothorpe
349262 in reply to 349256
anonymous_coward:
And this is why you need a file list... to tell the non-developer moving the files what to do. This is common. Keep the change as small as possible (minimum number of files) and provide install directions (you can now audit the actual changes against the provided instructions).

The easy way would be to zip the entire filesystem image and dump it onto the production server. You just have to hope someone didn't modify something unrelated in dev or intentionally slip in malware. E.g. When you see the change list at an atomic file level, common sense says changes to the insurance prenmium rate file shouldn't also include a change to the login security library.


But you're contradicting yourself here: include a file list of where the files should go, then you say to include a zip of the root folder and dump the whole thing (which is what I would do).

The big problem with the first deployment method is this: we're humans and we screw up... If you include everything, there is no room for error; less moving parts and less chances for us monkeys to futz things up.

This is compounded once you start including more monkeys ("the separation of duty" deployment guys) in the production line who are told to perform quite a complex set of instructions who know nothing about your application nor the framework it was developed on.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:48 • by C-Octothorpe
349263 in reply to 349258
Alex Papadimoulis:
The added WTF was that there was some bastardized source control branching strategy they used to "promote" these "packages". When something didn't work (read: all the time), they'd add or remove packages of code to try to fix it. Once it worked in QA, all the packages were moved en mass to production. That also never worked... especially for database changes.


Sorry, and *how* long, roughly, did this go on for?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:52 • by Brian White (unregistered)
349264 in reply to 349260
StupidTheKid:
Process WTF are as much related to software as hot gums are related to bus seats.


I'm stumped. What are hot gums and what do they have to do with bus seats?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 11:59 • by Alex Papadimoulis
349265 in reply to 349263
C-Octothorpe:
Alex Papadimoulis:
The added WTF was that there was some bastardized source control branching strategy they used to "promote" these "packages". When something didn't work (read: all the time), they'd add or remove packages of code to try to fix it. Once it worked in QA, all the packages were moved en mass to production. That also never worked... especially for database changes.


Sorry, and *how* long, roughly, did this go on for?


The deployments themselves would last hours (or, sometiems a weekend). Like all insane processes, this one evolved over a decade and existed in this form for quite a many years. They're in the process of fixing things, but it's a long journey.

Now that i think about it, there is one TDWTF-worthy WTF -- as part of the process, they will "diff" compiled (.NET) assemblies before deploying just to be extra sure. Every now and then, they catch code that was accidently compiled in.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:04 • by C-Octothorpe
349266 in reply to 349265
Alex Papadimoulis:
they will "diff" compiled (.NET) assemblies before deploying just to be extra sure. Every now and then, they catch code that was accidently compiled in.


I just died a little inside.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:13 • by Machtyn (unregistered)
Perhaps I've been lucky. In the two companies I've worked, this was essentially the process. The developers compiled the code and notified QA that the files were ready for testing. The QA testers grabbed the entire project (all of the released files were versioned the same, whether or not they had changed) and tested them.

For my part, as a QA tester that likes to do a little coding, I banged out a little script that allowed the QA team to snag the latest version, or to grab a previous version in the case that field support is needed. In either case, all files for a specific version were copied.

Essentially, the script made it easier than navigating out to the shared network drive, copying the files, navigating to the install directory, deleting the existing files, then pasting the copied files. The script was select application - enter version number - do the above steps in script.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:25 • by Paul (unregistered)
Thank you for a great article! Can you explain something about the spreadsheet you linked to? The "Overview" tab shows this:


Integration 2.1 5 5/17/2010
Testing 2.1 4 5/16/2010
Staging 2.0A 1 5/1/2011
Production 2.0A 1 5/2/2011


How can Integration ever contain a build that has both a later version than Production and an earlier promotion date? Are the "2010"s supposed to be "2011"s?


Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:30 • by Mason Wheeler
349269 in reply to 349256
anonymous_coward:
I work in a large insurance company, and I still see "promotions" done the "easy" way: Here is a zip with 6 ascx files, 2 dlls and 3 images, and here is a "file list" of where these files go.
<snip>
we have a separate group who handles promoting code between envs. who are NOT developers and have almost no domain knowledge.


And this is why you need a file list... to tell the non-developer moving the files what to do.

...or you could just do what civilized developers do when they need to deploy code to non-developers, and create an installer. InnoSetup, for example, is free and makes it trivial to create an installer for a program. (Or a build, for that matter)

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:32 • by chron3
349270 in reply to 349267
Machtyn:

For my part, as a QA tester that likes to do a little coding...


Patience my pets, patience... soon he will tumble down that slippery slope, and become one with the dark side...

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:33 • by boog
349271 in reply to 349258
Alex Papadimoulis:
When something didn't work (read: all the time), they'd add or remove packages of code to try to fix it. Once it worked in QA, all the packages were moved en mass to production.
Ehh, wha? So you're saying they

1) randomly flipped switches until they got a version that worked,
2) gave QA that version,
3) got QA's official blessing on paper (or whatever), and finally
4) deployed the version they really wanted that wasn't properly tested (or more accurately was tested and failed, hence QA's refusal to sign off on it)?

That's pretty sick, but I'm not surprised; I've had the pleasure of working with people like this in the past too. It taught me that if your coworkers think it's to their own benefit to fool QA just to make changes in production, then "doing Release Management right" will be the least of your worries.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:34 • by Alex Papadimoulis
349272 in reply to 349268
Paul:
Can you explain something about the spreadsheet you linked to? The "Overview" tab shows this:


Integration 2.1 5 5/17/2010
Testing 2.1 4 5/16/2010
Staging 2.0A 1 5/1/2011
Production 2.0A 1 5/2/2011


How can Integration ever contain a build that has both a later version than Production and an earlier promotion date? Are the "2010"s supposed to be "2011"s?


Whoops - a typo. The "2010"s should be "2011"s. I'll fix and re-upload.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:41 • by Alex Papadimoulis
349274 in reply to 349271
boog:
Ehh, wha? So you're saying they

1) randomly flipped switches until they got a version that worked,
2) gave QA that version,
3) got QA's official blessing on paper (or whatever), and finally
4) deployed the version they really wanted that wasn't properly tested (or more accurately was tested and failed, hence QA's refusal to sign off on it)?


Almost. You forgot a critical step.

5) Pray that it actually works

What was strange about this... no one (mangement, net ops, devs, etc) actually liked the process, they just didn't know anything better. And, they were too clouded by the specifics of their situation to generalize the problem.

There's no book that presents the concepts in a "down-to-earth" manner like this (that I know of, at least - everything I've seen is more idealistic than realistic), and it's not very sexy to talk about on the blogs (unlike TDD, BDD, RDD, FAD, QDD, MAD, ADD, ETC).

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:45 • by Brian White (unregistered)
349275 in reply to 349267
Machtyn:
Perhaps I've been lucky. In the two companies I've worked, this was essentially the process. The developers compiled the code and notified QA that the files were ready for testing. The QA testers grabbed the entire project (all of the released files were versioned the same, whether or not they had changed) and tested them.

For my part, as a QA tester that likes to do a little coding, I banged out a little script that allowed the QA team to snag the latest version, or to grab a previous version in the case that field support is needed. In either case, all files for a specific version were copied.

Essentially, the script made it easier than navigating out to the shared network drive, copying the files, navigating to the install directory, deleting the existing files, then pasting the copied files. The script was select application - enter version number - do the above steps in script.


My company even has a homegrown product called buildmaster :)

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 12:55 • by dgvid
349278 in reply to 349264
Brian White:
StupidTheKid:
Process WTF are as much related to software as hot gums are related to bus seats.


I'm stumped. What are hot gums and what do they have to do with bus seats?


Hmm, well, after I've walked my dog on a warm day I suspect he has hot gums because he pants with his mouth so wide open that his gums are exposed to the cooling air. And he is a greyhound, so there's a sort-of bus company connection there. But, no, that just doesn't quite work. Never mind. I guess I can't get a bus seat out of my dog's mouth.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 13:00 • by boog
349280 in reply to 349274
Alex Papadimoulis:
Almost. You forgot a critical step.

5) Pray that it actually works

What was strange about this... no one (mangement, net ops, devs, etc) actually liked the process, they just didn't know anything better. And, they were too clouded by the specifics of their situation to generalize the problem.
So it wasn't intentionally deceitful. I guess that's better. I've actually had colleagues in previous jobs that used various tricks to get around whatever "Release Management" processes were in place.

Alex Papadimoulis:
There's no book that presents the concepts in a "down-to-earth" manner like this (that I know of, at least - everything I've seen is more idealistic than realistic), and it's not very sexy to talk about on the blogs (unlike TDD, BDD, RDD, FAD, QDD, MAD, ADD, ETC).
Perhaps if it had a fancy name with initials, more people would find the subject interesting?

RMDD: Release Management Driven Development.

Wow, I'm already hooked.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 13:06 • by some guy (unregistered)
349281 in reply to 349244
Anonymous Cow-Herd:
Frist (±2)

Today's post clearly was not in any way a thinly-veiled commercial for BuildMaster, honest!

__
Note from Alex: drat, caught me red-handed! That's right, this whole thing *wasn't* a thinly-veiled opportunity for me to link to Jenga at Amazon. No, no, I don't have a sci-fi bluray habit that's fed by referral links. But seriously, you should check out Jenga, it's a ton of fun for the whole family. And while you're there (visting from this link of course), check out all the other Great Stuff Amazon has to offer! Jenga.


Hate to be this guy, but Alex you literally made me laugh out loud with that reply.

Look, I'm about as cynical as it gets, but this article is hardly spamtastic. Of course he's going to mention the product he works on. But it's hardly the typical "advertisement disguised as a technical article" that plagues magazines and the web alike.

Why do I say that? Because Alex's first suggestion is not BuildMaster, it's a spreadsheet. The product is mentioned by name only three times in the entire article. And the article does not try to claim that BuildMaster and only BuildMaster solves these problems and here is why it's unique. Quite the opposite; what commercial have you seen that states you can use other competing solutions because "It really doesn't take much"?

Alex wrote an article on something he knows. He knows about it because he works on it.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 13:34 • by David V. Corbin (unregistered)
Alex, for once, I agree with the vast majority of one of your SoapBox posts.. One quibble:

"and no two versions can be the same"

I thing you meant the opposite, in that there can never be two different "things" that are the same version.

Although extremely rare, you can have the followig scenario:

a) Create version 1.0 - it shipps and works well.
b) Create version 2.0 - has changes, but alwo problems
c) Create version 3.0 BY ROLLING BACK ALL OF THE 2.0 Changes.

As I said, rare, but this is often prefferable than having to deal with "the older version is the better version" scenarios (especially in marketing).

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:01 • by C-Octothorpe
349285 in reply to 349280
boog:
RMDD: Release Management Driven Development.


How do I subscribe to your newsletter/religion?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:06 • by anonymous_coward (unregistered)
349286 in reply to 349262
C-Octothorpe:
anonymous_coward:
And this is why you need a file list... to tell the non-developer moving the files what to do. This is common. Keep the change as small as possible (minimum number of files) and provide install directions (you can now audit the actual changes against the provided instructions).

The easy way would be to zip the entire filesystem image and dump it onto the production server. You just have to hope someone didn't modify something unrelated in dev or intentionally slip in malware. E.g. When you see the change list at an atomic file level, common sense says changes to the insurance prenmium rate file shouldn't also include a change to the login security library.


But you're contradicting yourself here: include a file list of where the files should go, then you say to include a zip of the root folder and dump the whole thing (which is what I would do).

The big problem with the first deployment method is this: we're humans and we screw up... If you include everything, there is no room for error; less moving parts and less chances for us monkeys to futz things up.

This is compounded once you start including more monkeys ("the separation of duty" deployment guys) in the production line who are told to perform quite a complex set of instructions who know nothing about your application nor the framework it was developed on.


No disagreement here. Moving files individually is definitely more work, but doing it the easy way has security implications.

And to the guy who said to make an installer, that may work for desktop software or websites. Once you get into the legacy enterprise systems (think TPF assembler and AS400/mainframes) that tends to fall apart fairly quickly.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:28 • by Brian White (unregistered)
349287 in reply to 349286
anonymous_coward:
C-Octothorpe:
anonymous_coward:
And this is why you need a file list... to tell the non-developer moving the files what to do. This is common. Keep the change as small as possible (minimum number of files) and provide install directions (you can now audit the actual changes against the provided instructions).

The easy way would be to zip the entire filesystem image and dump it onto the production server. You just have to hope someone didn't modify something unrelated in dev or intentionally slip in malware. E.g. When you see the change list at an atomic file level, common sense says changes to the insurance prenmium rate file shouldn't also include a change to the login security library.


But you're contradicting yourself here: include a file list of where the files should go, then you say to include a zip of the root folder and dump the whole thing (which is what I would do).

The big problem with the first deployment method is this: we're humans and we screw up... If you include everything, there is no room for error; less moving parts and less chances for us monkeys to futz things up.

This is compounded once you start including more monkeys ("the separation of duty" deployment guys) in the production line who are told to perform quite a complex set of instructions who know nothing about your application nor the framework it was developed on.


No disagreement here. Moving files individually is definitely more work, but doing it the easy way has security implications.

And to the guy who said to make an installer, that may work for desktop software or websites. Once you get into the legacy enterprise systems (think TPF assembler and AS400/mainframes) that tends to fall apart fairly quickly.



Moving files individually is not only more work, it is orders of magnitude more likely to introduce bugs. You can always watch your version control system checkins to catch unrelated files being committed, like with your example of the login security library. It is much better to monitor CODE CHANGES for security issues than to use an error prone release system to accomplish the same thing. That's awfully late in the process to be looking for this, and is probably not the right group of people. TortoiseSVN + Jira + pre-commit hooks to prevent any commit not tied to a Jira number works beautifully for this purpose, you can have devs, qa, etc. see the file list show up in the Jira itself.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:32 • by C-Octothorpe
349288 in reply to 349286
anonymous_coward:
No disagreement here. Moving files individually is definitely more work, but doing it the easy way has security implications.


I agree to a limited degree: what security implications? Do you mean swapping good assemblies with malicious assemblies? I know in .Net at least, you can strongly name your assembly. I guess he can also change the public token and version in the config file to match his self-signed key.

But then again, a logical extension of that argument is that you shouldn't trust your DBAs because they can smoke production in a flash, or your CEO can be purposely steering your company into the ground to allow a competitor to flourish.

</meandering, pointless rant>

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:32 • by The great Nick (unregistered)
That is why I automated everything. Moving to dev to intr to prod takes 9 clicks.

And no don't tell me that your situation is special and it cannot be automated. No matter what you think it can.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:35 • by C-Octothorpe
349290 in reply to 349289
The great Alex:
That is why I automated everything. Moving to dev to intr to prod takes 9 clicks.

And no don't tell me that your situation is special and it cannot be automated. No matter what you think it can.


Brought to you by BuildMaster!

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:40 • by Chelloveck (unregistered)
349291 in reply to 349266
C-Octothorpe:
Alex Papadimoulis:
they will "diff" compiled (.NET) assemblies before deploying just to be extra sure. Every now and then, they catch code that was accidently compiled in.


I just died a little inside.


I've seen similar things. At a place I worked, firmware testing was a long and arduous process. We'd finished the whole test process and were ready to release when we realized we hadn't incremented the version number. Well, okay, we'll just bump it, recompile, and verify that the new image is binary-identical to the old one, except for the one byte where we changed a "1" to a "2".

We did, and it wasn't. And there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

As was the custom of the time, our version number was stored as a pair of MAJOR, MINOR strings. The old version was 1.1, or "1" and "1". The new one was to be 1.2; "1" and "2". Now, guess what the C compiler likes to do with two identical const strings? It optimizes one of them away, of course. So when we went to 1.2 we went from a single string to two distinct strings, which changed the offset of *everything* farther up in memory. Which was damn near everything, period.

We ended up bumping the version from 1.1 to 2.2, and everyone lived happily ever after. The End.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:49 • by Alex Papadimoulis
349294 in reply to 349284
David V. Corbin:
"and no two versions can be the same"

I thing you meant the opposite, in that there can never be two different "things" that are the same version.


Keep in mind that the term "version" is really just an alias for a specific build, and all of the same rules apply (immutable, etc). From a release management standpoint, it doesn't matter the build contains, more that it's a wholly deployable component.

David V. Corbin:
Although extremely rare, you can have the followig scenario:

a) Create version 1.0 - it shipps and works well.
b) Create version 2.0 - has changes, but alwo problems
c) Create version 3.0 BY ROLLING BACK ALL OF THE 2.0 Changes.


It's actually not that uncommon.

In this case, even if the files within two different builds (say 1.0 and 3.0) are identical down to the byte, the builds are axiomatically different:
* different build numbers
* different created dates
* different promotions
* etc

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 14:52 • by n (unregistered)
349296 in reply to 349286
anonymous_coward:

And to the guy who said to make an installer, that may work for desktop software or websites. Once you get into the legacy enterprise systems (think TPF assembler and AS400/mainframes) that tends to fall apart fairly quickly.


Your saying that these OSs do not have a built-in scripting language that the operator is using to manually install the packages? They don't have an OS package management system that you can create an repository and a package for your software with (a la, apt/dpkg or yum/rpm)?

Also, whats wrong with a tarball with a script that does the checking and moving of files (which is honestly what an "installer" does anyway)?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 15:01 • by C-Octothorpe
349297 in reply to 349296
n:
Also, whats wrong with a tarball with a script that does the checking and moving of files (which is honestly what an "installer" does anyway)?


I've actually resorted to this just because the guy doing the deployment, again, has no domain knowledge and screwed things up repeatedly. Essentially all they now have to do is populate a few key/value pairs in a token file (i.e. prod DB password), and the script handles the rest...

Hmm, I just reinvented the wheel, didn't I?

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 16:11 • by Kiloman (unregistered)
349300 in reply to 349252
Funny, my insurance company does it the same way. Blues Unite!

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 16:13 • by muffin (unregistered)
We make new releases several times a day, and my boss is happy. Why bother testing it, when we have customers to do it for us. If they don't complain, it means it works, and if it works, it means we got happy customers.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 16:53 • by Marvin the Martian (unregistered)
As a biologist, I recommend a Capture-Release approach.

Basically, you release a few versions or instances into the wild, and later you try to recapture them. For software, if the only running ones you come across are not the ones you released, you're in trouble; conversely for animals, if the only ones you can capture are the ones just released then you're also in trouble (as it seems that species is locally not present anymore).

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 17:42 • by ContraCorners
349306 in reply to 349285
C-Octothorpe:
boog:
RMDD: Release Management Driven Development.


How do I subscribe to your newsletter/religion?

Simple. Just get promoted to management.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 17:57 • by boog
349307 in reply to 349306
ContraCorners:
C-Octothorpe:
boog:
RMDD: Release Management Driven Development.

How do I subscribe to your newsletter/religion?

Simple. Just get promoted to management.
I was just going to say "read the Internet," but yeah, you could also get promoted to management.

Those guys get invited to all kinds of parties.

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 18:10 • by Jim (unregistered)
349308 in reply to 349244
Anonymous Cow-Herd:
Frist (±2)

Today's post clearly was not in any way a thinly-veiled commercial for BuildMaster, honest!

__
Note from Alex: drat, caught me red-handed! That's right, this whole thing *wasn't* a thinly-veiled opportunity for me to link to Jenga at Amazon. No, no, I don't have a sci-fi bluray habit that's fed by referral links. But seriously, you should check out Jenga, it's a ton of fun for the whole family. And while you're there (visting from this link of course), check out all the other Great Stuff Amazon has to offer! Jenga.


Does someone have a problem that a site owner advertises their product on their own (FREE) site?

Oh - How did Alex get past Akismet with all those links...

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 19:43 • by Beryllium (unregistered)
You know, it would go along way to removing the confusion of the build/build orange/orange thing if it was possible to change one of the words.

build (binaries)/candidate (changeset attempt)
orange (the colour)/tangerine (the flavour)

But I'm sure someone has a solid argument against this that I haven't considered (as always seems to be the case when anyone posts their opinion to the Internet :) )

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 20:11 • by B. R. Azil (unregistered)
Alex, minor point, but it's 27b/6 (27b stroke 6), not 27b-6 (27b dash 6).

Re: Release Management Done Right

2011-06-07 20:16 • by TheCPUWizard
349313 in reply to 349287
Brian White:
TortoiseSVN + Jira + pre-commit hooks to prevent any commit not tied to a Jira number works beautifully for this purpose, you can have devs, qa, etc. see the file list show up in the Jira itself.


Not really, on the "works beautifully" (although it *might* be better than nothing - except for the false sense of security). I have been involved with many a team using this configuration, and have yet to see an SVN+Jira solution that was robust unless the team spent multiples of $100K (in developer salaries) for customization.

It is far to easy to put the wrong JIRA # in the SVN commit, or to include a file which really belogs to a different change, or a change within a file that does not relate speficially to that JIRA. But people are lulled into a false sense of "security".

A true ALM environment (every from concept through decomissioning and archiving - including build/relese management)can and should have excellent integration across all elements.
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