Thursday, June 29, 2006

Build machine still dragging

(Backstory here.) Came in the next morning; VS2005 is still installing. Curse. The bright side was, as I watched it, it switched from actually installing VS2005 to installing one of the CE framework packages that I really didn't care about. So, I spent some time unsuccessfully trying to get it to cancel out at that point, and eventually was able to get the machine to start shutdown, which allowed me to kill the VS install. How will that affect the machine, I'm not sure. So, around 9AM the machine started shutdown - then, the automatic updates kicked in. Thirty of them. Curse. So here it is, about three hours later, and just about half the updates are complete.

This is not a good circumstance when trying to get a release out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The perils of slow build machines

We had a hard drive die on our build machine. Not to worry; as we learned from the rubber chicken source code should be buildable and shippable anywhere, anytime. But then, I don't have a great deal of trust in that ideal concept, so we decided to take advantage of the situation to create a virtual build machine instead of a real one. Here are roughly the steps I followed:

Install Virtual PC
Grab an existing hard drive image with Windows XP SP2 and copy it.
Install a couple of things on it; then attempt to install Visual Studio 2005.
It blows up with an error. Huh?
Try it again, same error.
Realize that the image is limited to 4 gigs, and VPC doesn't allow modifying the existing size of a virtual disk, as far as I can tell.
Create a brand new image, and install XP SP2 on it. This process takes plenty of rebooting, and "Press Enter to continue" style dialogs; not to mention several hours just to copy all the files.
Install Visual Studio 6; hopefully it will be quicker and we'll need it for some legacy stuff anyway. Many more reboots, but eventually it's installed.
My boss comes by and asks how much longer it will be until the next build.
Attempt to install VS2005 again. Many more reboots.
My boss comes by again and tells me he's arranged for a much faster machine with more memory. Cheer.
It's around 5:00 that day, so I decide to leave the VS2005 install running overnight, then I can transfer the virtual machine to the new machine in the morning.
Come back the next morning. VS2005 is still installing.
It looks like it's nearly done, though. Hopefully it's within an hour or two of finishing and I can move it over to the faster machine.
Wait eight hours. VS2005 is still installing.

I'll leave soon. Hopefully VS2005 won't take 48 hours to install, and I'll be able to get back to it in the morning. We're now at eight days without a new build. Curse.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Death of Agile

Jonathan Kohl writes on the value of pragmatism, as opposed to process zealotry, and asks what we think. Jonathan, I think you should enable comments on your blog :) But I'll do a quick post here instead. I'm not sure whether I agree or disagree. Absolutely you should use whatever works for your project; I have no issue with that. But I have a lot of trouble imagining a project where I would say, "In this situation, writing unit tests would be a very bad idea" or "It's clear that we should not have a daily build for this project. One a month, absolute max."

In other words, the point of agile processes are that they are good processes. You use them because they are unquestionably an advantage to your project. Maybe I'm a zealot. Is there an argument to be made against unit tests? To me, the whole zealotry issue comes across like saying, "Sure, I really like transistors, but hey, if vacuum tubes are what your stereo requires, you go right ahead and use them!"