Friday 1 October 2010

Currently Reading: Continuous Delivery

Misleading name; good stuff

I'm currently ploughing ("plowing" in the US) through Continuous Delivery - Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation by Jez Humble and David Farley. Don't be put off by the name, this is emphatically not about some crackpot scheme of auto-deploying your project into production straight out of the back of your CI server.

Rather, it details the current best practices for getting software reliably passed through a "deployment pipeline" that starts with version-controlled source code and ends in a simple Deploy/Undeploy switch on your production server.

Humble and Farley have a ton of "war stories" that most emphatically prove they are not naïve about the spectacular and not-so-spectacular ways real-life deployments can fail, and their "staged software delivery" approach will definitely improve your processes, even if you only adopt one of their myriad recommendations. It is fairly programing-language-agnostic, but does tend towards giving code examples in Java, with the bulk of low-level advice aimed at Java and C# developers - a fair assumption given their marketshare and ease of comprehension.

This book is a member of the Addison-Wesley / Martin Fowler "Signature Series", a collection that I am rapidly growing to love. They neatly address the slice of the market that fits into the techy-book spectrum here (I'm using made-up titles but you'll recognise the patterns):

  • High-level - conceptual, diagrammy
  • Architecting Stuff - Buzzword, XML, Buzzword, SOA
  • Martin Fowler "Signature Series"
  • Write Code Properly - By someone who really knows what they are talkin' bout
  • Big Enterprisey Thing - Explained, one module per chapter
  • Learn Language X/Library Y - comparing it to others you already know
  • Cram This! - to pass your exam or hack together something for your uncle
  • Low-level - copy-and-paste coding

Highly recommended.

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