Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This book will change your deployments

I've been doing build and deployment on Java projects for ThoughtWorks for 3 years. I've seen things. I've asked a lot of people to fix the build. I've dug into build.xml files, shell scripts and worse to deploy code. What I haven't done is read many books that gave much insight into the craft of the buildmaster.

That may change soon. Steve Loughran and Erik Hatcher's new book Ant in Action is available for early access now: the printed edition will be here soon. It's the sequel to their 2003 book Java Development with Ant. Steve kindly let me see the chapter on deployment; they've managed to distill some of the key lessons that you painfully learn about deployment into a single chapter. It's worth buying the book for Chapter 16 alone.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

We did it ...

... and rode over 30 miles in the soaking rain. It was raining when we left the house, it rained while we rode slowly to the starting point, and it rained while we waited to get our control cards stamped and go. The route went south from Woking, down the Surrey Cycleway, and then around a back-roads course past the towns of Ripley and Send. There were three checkpoints along the course which served drinks and doughnuts (snack of champions?).

One of the checkpoints was at HMP Send which is surrounded by beautiful woodlands; most of the route was very scenic, and we got to ride (briefly) past Woking Palace and the ruins of Newark Priory at Pyrford. There seemed to be thousands of riders of all ages and abilities. We had intended to keep a slow and steady pace, but there was a constant need to overtake or be overtaken. Lesley and I did try to ride abreast where we could, but with a fun ride and 2 races on that weekend, there were many bikes on the road.

It was great fun and we raised some money for a worthwhile cause. I'd never done that before, and I think I'm going to bore you with it all again in 2008. Post-ride photo at the justgiving site:

http://www.justgiving.com/lesleymacd

Monday, May 07, 2007

Woking Bikeathon Training

Our training for the Woking Bikeathon has been less than adequate. I cycle a few miles a day to work, and Lesley cycles where she can. In a perfect world we would train several times a week. Last weekend we cycled about 25km from Woking to Virginia Water and back.

On Saturday we drove the route to get acquainted with the course - it's mercifully flat and very pleasant with plenty of shade in the country lanes. Actually seeing the course was a shock; it's longer than it looks. On Sunday I rode less than a third of the course (from Woking to Ripley, and back through Send). I didn't have time to ride much more, but I did learn that I need to make a few more adjustments to my bike so I can comfortably do the ride.

I hope to have my knees intact after the ride, so I will be focussing on keeping a steady pace throughout the course. I'll be very happy if we raise money for the Leukaemia Research charity, enjoy the ride, and can physically ride home afterwards. If you want to sponsor us or see who has already, click here.