A while ago Manning Publications contacted me through this blog asking for my thoughts on a book that was about to get published. The title of the book was “Continuous Integration in .NET”. Obviously I was honored and this is my review.
I’ve been a Continuous Integration practitioner and evangelist for about a year and it’s been a fun ride. I’ve implemented the practice in my own team as well as helped other teams getting started with the process. I’ve also held a talk at work before 20+ developers about Continuous Integration, written blog posts, and answered questions on Stack overflow.
Make it happen
Are you a .NET developer who finds yourself in projects where releasing software is painful and takes forever? Then Continuous Integration in .NET is the book for you. I’ve been there over and over and thus started researching Continuous Integration tools for .NET about a year ago and found many of which are covered in great detail in the book by Marcin Kawalerowicz and Craig Berntson. The authors are both developers, bloggers, and have vast knowledge and experience with Continuous Integration.
The book is extremely rich when it comes to tools and in under three hundred pages these are some of the tools that are covered; Version control tools like SVN and TFS, unit testing and mocking tools like NUnit and Rhino Mocks, automation tools like NAnt and MSBuild, CI servers like Team City and TFS 2010, UI testing tools, acceptance testing tools, code analysis tools, document generation tools, deployment and delivery tools, and database automation tools. Flavor samples of all the tools you need to automate anything you can think of, and beyond.
Extend the process
In my experience starting with version control, a CI server and Unit testing goes a long way when you’re first starting out on the journey towards Continuous Integration. This is also the message [Kawalerowicz and Berntson] sends throughout the book. However, there are quite a bit of content for experienced CI teams as well, e.g. how to take the process even further with automated deployment, database rollouts or how to deal with speed and scalability issues in your build.
In my mind Continuous Integration is so much more than just the tooling and process automation, it is a complete development practice that dictates some of the team’s behavior. For instance, to get the rapid and repeated feedback that we strive after all team members need to commit working and tested source code at least daily.
I was a bit disappointed that the book didn’t cover any of this aspect. In the early chapters the CI concept is redefined by the authors for the scope of the book to exclude the development practice parts.
Continuous Integration in .NET is a very good and well-worked book and I can recommend it to anyone wanting to get started with CI in .NET but don’t know how, as well as more experienced CI developers looking to extend and fine tune their process.
If you’re interested in the development practice side of CI I recommend you read Martin Fowler’s article as well as the ground breaking book Continuous Integration: Improving Software Quality and Reducing Risk by Paul Duvall.