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ColdFusion Developer's Journal: Intro to Ant - Automate and Improve Your Build and Deploy Process

Feb 12, 2004, 05:30 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Paul Ashenfelter)

"Maybe your build and deploy process for your latest application is fine - you type a single command and your build process automatically retrieves your application from the source control system, configures the application appropriately for the target environment, and copies all the necessary files to the production servers while you head to the coffee shop for your morning cup of caffeine and the newspaper. But I know that the reality for the vast majority of projects I've seen (including many of my own applications!) are built and deployed using a written multistep checklist - some steps automated by simple shell scripts and some done by hand. With time a scarce commodity on most projects, it's not a surprise that anything other than the ColdFusion application itself gets little, if any, attention.

"But how many times have you personally been burned by a bad build or deploy? Maybe forgetting to copy a custom tag to the \CFusionMX\CustomTags directory? Or deploying the wrong version of a ColdFusion template? Maybe you forgot to toggle the data source name from the development server to the production server? Or neglected to disable some debugging code? The list goes on. How much time did you waste finding and fixing the problem? Odds are it was a lot, and that the problem happened at the least opportune time, like during a major production release! If there was a simple, free, cross-platform, extensible tool that would let you write automated build and deploy scripts, wouldn't it make sense to use it...?"

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