Archive for May 2013

Build Tools Wrappers

Today I stumbled upon a new project called maven-wrapper.
I haven't tested it myself, but it looks like a very promising effort. Users/Developers will be able to perform builds without an existing Maven installation.

Grails and Gradle already have a way to generate wrappers.
Antw seems similar to gvm in terms of concepts and approach.

Those tools wrappers allow users to build programs without having the software already installed on their local machines.

This is particularly interesting for build servers, and more specifically continuous integration servers:

  • Many projects may require different versions of a build tool.
  • Sometimes the setup of the build tools on a server involves following many processes and getting couple of approvals.
  • There's a risk of human error that will result into a corrupted non-working software installation (i.e. moving few files around to follow corporate conventions -> broken scripts, file permission issues, etc.).

There are often issues related to build tools in terms of software distribution and usage:
  • People got a copy of the source code, but they don't know how to build it.
  • The user knows the build tool to use, but he doesn't know how to set it up (Environment variables, PATH manipulation, etc.)
  • The user knows how to setup the build tool and build the application, but not how to configure the project inside an IDE
  • etc.

I expect more and more build tools (as well as full-stack frameworks) to provide the ability to generate seamless wrappers, as it is a very convenient feature.

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