I read The Build Master: Microsoft’s Software Configuration Management Best Practices (Addison-Wesley Microsoft Technology) by Vincent Maraia this evening. It provides a nice glimpse into Microsoft’s build process for their NT operating systems from an insider’s perspective. Reviewing these best practices is supposed to help the reader in setting up his/her own company’s build process. While much of the advice does apply to any sized development team, I don’t think the specific process described scales down well to a team the size of ours - under 10 - and the author himself states so. So the MS build process probably won’t be used for JohnDoeStore.com, at least not if Tellus builds it in the near future. However, I did enjoy reading about the inner workings of MS builds. Even if I learned nothing, the entertainment value makes the book worthwhile. It is interesting reading - well, at least for us tech types.
And I did learn something: the build process for software with millions of lines of code and thousands of developers is not much different from my own! Of course it is much larger, but still involves the same steps (generally). It’s all about developing a process and using it - religiously. Sometime you’ll find new and better ways to do things. When you do you modify your build process to incorporate the newness and continue on again. And one other thing that is the same: “Thou shalt not break the build!”