Friday, July 01, 2005

Great NAnt & CruiseControl.NET Book

I'm working my way through Expert .NET Delivery using NAnt and CruiseControl .NET from Apress. Holy smokes, what a terrific book! This is real world stuff diving deep into details, not a light fluff overview. What's cool is that the author, Marc Holmes (no relation), approaches the process of designing a good delivery system/methodology just like designing good softare: a few use cases with expected outcomes which are used as guidelines for building up the various scripts needed to get delivery tasks done. Marc also uses refactoring to get the scripts up and working: build something a bit kludgy to test your assertions, then refine it. Marc shows off some pretty cool stuff about the NAnt, including how to wrap in third-party tools (FxCop, before its inclusion as a nant-contrib task, e.g.), plus he walks through some good tutorials on extending NAnt. Right now I'm in the chapter on getting a database into the picture for testing and it looks pretty impressive so far. Marc covers using the Red Gate SQL Bundle, a set of tools which ease integration of database activities into the test and delivery processes. The package isn't chump change ($350), but it's most likely worth it if you're doing at least a moderate amount of SQL work in your projects. An important note: I think this book is really applicable to cross-platform use. Sure the specific tools are NAnt and CruiseControl.NET (plus many other widgets), but the concepts are applicable to folks doing Java development using Ant and CruiseControl. Furthermore, I think this book pairs up terrifically with Steve Loughran's Java Development with Ant. Loughran's book was a terrific eye opener to me for specifics of laying out projects with abstracted build files, plus he hits testing, deployment, and library inclusion too. Both books together really help out folks using Ant/NAnt and CruiseControl/.NET. I'm looking forward to finishing up Marc's book. Everything's been great so far, and I've gotten some terrific ideas so far. <disclaimer>I got this book free as part for giveaways at the Dayton .NET Developers Group. If you think my opinion gets skewed because I got something for free, well then, you haven't gotten a good feel for who I am. Check out the rest of my blog and maybe it will convince you otherwise.</disclaimer>


Anonymous said...

Good book, but the writing is just atrocious.

Jim Holmes said...


You're welcome to your opinion, but I couldn't disagree more. Marc's writing in this book was completely solid, IMO.

Anonymous said...

The content is really good, but the writing is really amateurish.

Jim Holmes said...

What is it with you folks? Marc's book has great content and is solidly written.

"Atrocious" and "amtateurish" aren't labels I'd put anywhere near his work. I'm a picky SOB about folks I work on writing projects with and I was very, VERY happy Marc agreed to be a tech reviewer for my own book.

Dunno if either of you two commenters have hidden agendas or biases, but I'm certainly 180 degrees from y'all's opinions.

Anonymous said...

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