The Importance of Software Builds: Building Earnestly


Other Issues
In this article we hoped to motivate the need for a build process that can easily get developers started. We’ll expand on these topics in future articles. Some of the issues that we still need to address are:

    • The requirements of different environments (development, QA, production)
    • Different types of workspaces
    • The role of  IDEs in the build process as compared to build scripts
    • The implications of shared libraries and components (e.g. DLLs on Windows)
    • The variety and role of build tools
    • The Use of virtual machines
    • The value of continuous integration and  the place for build servers for distributed builds
    • The relationship between building, testing and codeline policies

The Build is an essential link in the development process. Improving this link will make your life easier, whatever your role is. Take small steps towards making your process better and your work will be more enjoyable. Even if your build process seems to work, consider how you might improve it further, perhaps keeping in mind the words of Laurie Anderson: “Paradise is exactly like where you are right now, only much, much better.” [Anderson]

You can find more information on the patterns in Brad and Steve's book, Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration published by Addison-Wesley. There is an overview, including a reference card that you can download, at You can find more information on Kirk Knoernschild's work at


About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at or visit and follow his blog at

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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