Matthew D. Laudato writes about software and technology

Archive for January 2010

Continuous Build Automation with Subversion and Meister

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I recently got a chance to work on a project using Collabnet Subversion and OpenMake Meister and put together a short demo on how to get the two tools to work together doing continuous integration. You can view it at

Meister like most CI tools has several ways to kick off a CI build. You can do a scheduled build, or you can poll the SCM system. The third way of doing a CI build is to call the build from a Subversion hook. In the demo I show two of these methods: a scheduled build in Meister, and calling Meister from the Subversion post commit hook.

The setup is pretty simple. I have a repository in Subversion that has working copies for developers, and what I’ll call a ‘hands off’ working copy that only the build process uses (meaning, no developers are ever in that copy making changes. It receives changes strictly through a ‘svn update’ command run by the CI process). In Meister, I have a workflow that knows how to build a small DOS application from some code in the repository.

In the demo, I first show Meister running a build on a schedule. Meister updates the ‘hands off’ working copy and then compiles and links the code. In the second case, I turn off the scheduler, and instead activate the post commit hook in the Subversion repository. The hook code calls the Meister command line, which looks like this:


java -cp c:\openmake-meister\client\bin\omcmdline.jar com.openmake.cmdline.Main


The same workflow runs in both cases. The advantage of running from the hook is that you are always guaranteed that every transaction in Subversion gets built. On the other hand, setting a scheduler to run every hour is easy and might be more appropriate for shops with less frequent code changes. In both cases Meister is driving the build with its dependency analysis engine, so the builds are fast and highly parallelized.

Overall it was pretty easy both to get the Subversion repository configured, and to get the Meister workflow up and running. The Meister command line lets you do things like set environment variables (not shown above), so you can control the workflow at a fine level of detail.

Happy Building!
– Matt

Written by Matthew D. Laudato

January 22, 2010 at 7:59 pm