In the old days, it was enough to check your code into the repository. If you included a few sentences explaining what you did, the boss couldn’t get too upset. It’s all documented, right?
That was then. Now there’s a good chance your code is going to be pushed, prodded, and evaluated by Hudson or Jenkins. These are two versions of the same code tree, a divergence that was created when some folks balked at giving Oracle too much control. We’re not going to take a position on corporate politics and choose one over the other because that might get in the way of recognizing the fundamental genius of the code.
The idea is to wrap some real intelligence around the version control system, intelligence that can be extended with plug-ins. When you check code in, the little gnomes in each of the plug-ins goes through the code, building it and applying all of the possible unit tests. Then it displays these results in a nice website with simple colors that are so easy that anyone in management can follow what’s going on.
This may be painful for programmers who check in bad code and break the build — they won’t be able to hide for long any more — but it’s great for moving the project along. Even solo developers are using the tools because a little discipline makes better code.