Maven Sites – Reloaded

In recent times, Maven Sites came close to becoming extinct. Maven Plugins were still using them for the wonderful automatic documentation page (named goals), but regular projects were not using them anymore.

However, Maven Sites have some huge benefits such as keeping the documentation close to the code, and automatically providing reports, information and API docs (Javadoc). Being able to release the documentation at the same time as the code was also a great advantage.

So why was this feature not used? Several reasons:

  • The look and feel was terrible.
  • The apt syntax was terrible.
  • The customization was terrible.

Now, though, it’s possible to create much better Maven Sites using Twitter Bootstrap for the skinning and Markdown for the editing. Even better, if you use GitHub, your site can be automatically updated on your project’s GitHub page.

This blog post explains how to use all these new features.
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Deploying applications continuously with SCP

The last blog post (Jumping into continuous delivery with Jenkins and SSH) demonstrated how to build and deploy an application continuously using Jenkins, SSH and Nexus. In that scenario, the application was packaged and deployed on Nexus by Jenkins, and then retrieved from Nexus by the host. However, what about doing it without Nexus? You might have no other need for Nexus or even Maven. Or perhaps you prefer to deploy your application only after you have tested it in several environments. So, how to deploy your application without Nexus?

This post explains how to use the Jenkins SCP plugin to copy the freshly built application to another machine using SCP. This is useful when you need to copy an application to a specific machine or another environment without exposing it publicly.

Although this post is focused on Jenkins, other continuous integration servers have equivalent capabilities.
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Jumping into continuous delivery with Jenkins and SSH

Let’s imagine the following situation. You’re working on an application for a customer. Despite a firm deadline and a roadmap given to your customer, he’d like to check the progress regularly, let’s say weekly or even daily, and actually give you feedback.

So to make everybody happy, you start releasing the application weekly. However, releasing is generally a hard-core process, even for the most automated processes, and requires human actions. As the release date approaches, stress increases. The tension reaches its climax one hour before the deadline when the release process fails, or worse, when the deployment fails. We’ve all been in situations like that, right?

This all-too-common nightmare can be largely avoided. This blog post presents a way to deal with the above situation using Jenkins, Nexus and SSH. The application is deployed continuously and without human intervention on a test environment, which can be checked and tested by the customer. Jenkins, a continuous integration server, is used as the orchestrator of the whole continuous delivery process.

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The akquinet tech@spree Technology Radar is now available

akquinet tech@spree has published a technology radar analyzing the trends of 2011–2012. It provides an overview of the evolution of practice in the Information Technology sector in 2011 as well as a forecast for 2012. It is the result of one year of analysis and synthesis performed by the Innovation department of akquinet tech@spree.

The technology radar captures the output from discussions, experiments, projects, and feedback from customers and developers. It synthesizes the results to inform global technology strategy decisions. It focuses on new technologies and methodologies with a high level of attraction. This document does not aim to provide an in-depth presentation of each technology, focusing instead on conciseness and highlighting the trends and state of the practice.

More information on http://radar.spree.de

Building pipelines by linking Jenkins jobs

Continuous integration servers have become a corner stone of any professional development environment. By letting a machine integrate and build software, developers can focus on their tasks: fixing bugs and developing new features. With the emergence of trends such as continuous deployment and delivery, the continuous integration server is not limited to integrating your products, but has become a central piece of infrastructure.

However, organizing jobs on the CI server is not always easy.

This blog post describes a couple of strategies for creating dependent tasks with Jenkins (or Hudson).

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Provisioning Maven artifacts with Puppet

Our last blog post introduced how Puppet can be used to achieve Infrastructure-As-Code, and how to deploy Play applications following this practice. However, we didn’t address how the applications are actually copied to the host.

Apache Maven is a widely used build tool adopted by more and more companies to support their build process from compilation to deployment. Deploying, in the  Maven world,  means uploading the artifact to a Maven repository. Such Maven repositories are managed using Sonatype Nexus or JFrog Artifactory. However, this sort of deployment does not address the real provisioning of the application, i.e the deployment on the production servers.

This blog post presents a Puppet module to download Maven artifacts from a Nexus repository. This module closes the gap between the development team deploying their artifacts to a Maven repository, and the administration team responsible for installing and configuring the application.

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Deploying Play Framework applications with Puppet

Puppet is a configuration management tool made to ease the management of your infrastructure by making it more traceable and easier to understand. It allows infrastructure-as-code, a major trend today to deal with the complexity of infrastructure management.

On the other side, Play framework is a promoting a new way to build web applications, making this sort of development more efficient and productive. By avoiding the turn over (compilation-packaging-deployment-navigation) after every change, it makes web development fun again.

This blog post explains how you can deploy your Play applications using Puppet. This allows you to develop web apps in a very productive way and deploy them reliably.
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Simplify OSGi application tests with the OSGi Helper library

Testing OSGi applications and services has always been a difficult challenge. Despite the development of several frameworks such as OPS4J Pax Exam, or junit4osgi, writing tests requires a non-negligible amount of code to manage the OSGi aspect of the test. Indeed, waiting and getting the service under test or releasing the service requires dealing directly with the OSGi framework and so the OSGi API. The OSGi Helper library is a small collection of classes to let tests focus on the behavior to verify instead of drowning the code in the depths of the OSGi development model.

The OSGi Helper library was developed by the Innovation department of akquinet, and was contributed to the OW2 Chameleon project.

This post explains the benefits brought by the library in comparison to plain OSGi tests.
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