Automated build tools

What are automated build tools?

Narrowly, automated build tools are tools that at a single command will compile source code into an executable application. Tools providing this capability have been available for a long time, including popular utilities such as Make and Ant. Today though, automated build tools have assumed a broader role that encompasses monitoring a source code repository for changes, compiling source code into executable form, triggering a test suite to verify the health of the build, and issuing build reports. In this expanded role automated build tools are a key enabler of modern DevOps practices including continuous integration and continuous delivery.

devops functional tester

Automated build tools and continuous integration

Today's fully-featured automated build tools play a pivotal role in the continuous integration (CI) approach to software development, so much so that such tools are often called continuous integration servers (examples include Jenkins, Bamboo, TeamCity, and CruiseControl). The core aspects of CI are:

  • Developers check all code changes into a central source control system, and do so frequently and in small increments.
  • Automated build tools regularly compile the code and deploy the executable to a local test environment where it is subjected to a set of automated verification tests (typically developed with continuous testing tools). For some software makers, executing this build-and-test routine once daily is sufficient; but for makers of web and cloud applications and services it's more common that the build-and-test is triggered by every code check-in. In either case, each build-and-test run results in a build report and also notifications to developers in the event of any test failures.
  • Developers fix broken builds before doing any further feature development. Absent this commitment on the part of the application team to prioritize the repair of any broken builds, CI would lose most of its value. This is one example that shows that DevOps is not just a matter of CI tools but also a matter of culture and of adherence to continuous delivery best practices.
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Using digital performance management to get more value from your automated build tools

Dynatrace helps you get a better return on your automated build tools by integrating application performance quality control into your automated build-and-test process.

First, Dynatrace empowers your developers to supply better quality source code for your automated build tools to build from. Integrating with any of the popular IDEs, Dynatrace enables developers to locally identify unit test performance regressions or inefficient code that may scale poorly – even before checking code into the central repo.

Second, Dynatrace integrates with popular automated build tools and testing frameworks so that the build-and-test routine becomes an opportunity to verify not just the functionality but also the performance quality of the application. When your automated unit and integration tests run, Dynatrace identifies any performance regressions or architectural red flags, alerts the appropriate developers, and provides automated root cause analysis of performance problems. With Dynatrace you can broaden and elevate your team's conception of what constitutes a "good build".

Third, Dynatrace powers application performance management throughout the rest of the DevOps lifecycle. Integrating with popular continuous deployment tools, Dynatrace deploys easily into any on-premise or cloud-based test bed or production environment. For applications in production, Dynatrace continuously monitors 100% of transactions and makes it simple to identify and troubleshoot performance issues, maximize service uptime, and optimize user experience.

Try Dynatrace free for 15 days.

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