Build & Release – Part Two – more meetings…

Continuing along with the education of future Build and Release engineers, Armen and I were introduced to automation with Robert Helmer. Rob’s leaving Mozilla in a couple of weeks and it’s too bad we won’t get to work with him this summer. He’s really got this all figured out and most of his presentation was way over my head. I said to Ben Hearsum later that it feels like once I’m actually touching the build system it will probably make more sense, but just talking about it? That’s a bit confusing. In any case, Rob presented for about an hour on the automation process from past to present and then there was a lively discussion about what’s coming next.

The next day Ben Hearsum talked about Try server and showed us the current set up. I’m really excited to learn more about Try server, and also to having permissions to use it myself. Considering that my recent patch had to be backed out for breaking buildsymbols on the Mac and Linux platforms the Try server could really help me out. I’ll be talking with Ben about how I can get in on it. I have an LDAP account now…

Following Ben, Nick Thomas showed us the flow of releases from tinderbox to virus scanning to their final resting place on the ftp servers. In his diagram you can see pre Sept 2007, how it is currently and then on the right – what we’re aiming for.

The last presentation of the day was Rob Campbell with his presentation on unit tests. Again we were treated to a thorough explanation of how things were done, how they’re being done now and where things are heading.

The most exciting part of the week was realising that there is still a lot of room in Mozilla to have an impact on how things are done. On Wednesday morning we went for breakfast and Armen and I were lucky enough to be sitting next to Mike Schroepfer – VP of Engineering for Mozilla. He shared a lot of information with us and also pointed out how every single person at the table (the Build, Release and Automation team) has contributed significantly. That Mozilla has been able to grow as quickly as it has without falling down is a testament to all their hard work (and that of many others) and I am inspired to be part of that.

Thanks to Dave and to John for helping organize this opportunity. I think that my transition to interning this summer will be much smoother as I have met many of the people with whom I’ll be working, plus the overviews of each area of Build were invaluable.

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