Wednesday, October 18, 2006

VOIP over WiFi: very nice

Lesley and I have been lent some Nokia E60 mobile phones to try out. We're making and receiving VOIP calls (via Truphone )over our home wireless router. For me the benefit isn't just the free or cheap calls to landline phones, and free calls to other VOIP phones (once I get this working in the office I'll save a fortune calling home); its the fact that I can actually get coverage in my own house. I get marginal coverage in most of the house, and taking phone calls in the garden is starting to be less appealing now with autumn kicking in.

The service is still in beta; we had some trouble getting the service integrated with the phone - it's an application that installs on the phone with SIP and WiFi configuration, and it was this last part that caused the issue. Our router was also blocking registration to the VOIP service as well. I had to read some FAQ's and re-install a few times.

Your mobile number also gets registered with Truphone so they can forward calls to your GSM number if you don't have WiFi coverage. I think it's well worth looking at if you have a WiFi compatible mobile phone.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

CITCON was awesome

I've been back from San Francisco for a month now. At the weekend I went to CITCON , the Continuous Integration and Testing Conference. And I had a great time.

It started on the Friday night, for registration and the chance to submit session ideas in an open spaces format. Then back in the morning for the conference itself.

I arrived at about 9:30 thanks to weekend engineering work with the train lines, so had a coffee and went to the second slot, and went to a session that was originally called "is ant scalable". The consensus was that Ant was misused as a deployment tool and was just fine for building single projects with no dependencies. Things get more complex when you try to manage dependencies using Ant.

Next I sat in and mainly observed the session on Continuous Code Policing which was interesting: barely anybody had run a build that would fail a given build because of code quality issues - it was seen as something to review and then take up with developers later if they kept reducing the amount of code coverage.

I also caught How to prevent the build from taking over your life, which was interesting. I think we all agreed that CI was still in it's infancy and that tools would improve over time.

We also got to see a preview of Bamboo, Atlassian's new CI server product. Mike Cannon-Brooks wanted feedback on the metrics that the final product would ship with, and there was a very frank discussion about what you could glean from CI metrics anyhow. Jeffrey Frederick (one of the CruiseControl committers) also demonstrated metrics from his product, Agitar Management Dashboard.

Tom and I did a Buildix demo and got some very good feedback on improvements that we could make.

My overall impression was very positive. It was great to meet some of the people from the CruiseControl mailing list, and very nice to find other people who had the same role and concerns. The conference will be held next in Sydney - and it's free!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CruiseControl builds my web site

I'm back in London. San Francisco was fantastic: I got to see the Airplane House.

Since I got back last month I've spent some time migrating from my silly hosting provider to a shiny new one. This time I decided that I would play with some new toys , so I built it with:
  • BuildMaster (because life is too short to format html, or do trivial build automation)
  • Rake (because I wanted to explore alternatives to Ant)
  • CruiseControl (I had made an instance anyway)
It's been fun. Cruise calls rake via the new-ish exec builder, and rake does all the work of calling buildmaster to update the checkout, generate the content, install the new site etc. I still need a way to be pass the label from cruise to rake. I also need to write some actual content for the site.

Initial thoughts on Rake: it is refreshing to use; the syntax is easy to migrate to if you've used ruby and/or Make. Rake also has a feature that I miss from Make: it will generate files only if their dependant source files have changed. Nice.