IDE builds are inherently broken

An internal email list contribution I made today that I thought deserved to be here.

In my opinion software systems that require an Eclipse (or any other IDE) build are inherently broken. If you can't script your system's build - using ant, maven, gradle, python, whatever - without requiring someone to first install an IDE and get that working, then I claim you don't really understand what it is you are building.

IDE's make stuff real easy. I depend on them too for what they are good at. But at the end of the day I want a repeatable process. One that I can come back to months later or in some different environment or hand to someone else. So I want a single 'script', with the fewest external dependencies, that sets up the necessary environment and gives me a working system from scratch. You can fix broken proxy bits in the IDE if you must (if for no other reason so you can update the IDE or add plugins.)  But I believe if your software is worth anything you should spend the time, as you are developing it, to incrementally understand how to add just the necessary pieces: what is the minimum set of libraries, what are their dependencies, what are the environment variables, etc.  Anything less is just hacking.


Planning for a crash

Last, well one of I'd like to think, step in the little computer resurrection project - getting CrashPlan set up and running. You're never done until you've planned for being undone by a disaster.

It was the usual installation of Java, which I always install manually, set up a few symbolic links to make future upgrades easier. That process was slowed down slightly by my forgetting I could not use the server JRE since this machine is not 64 bit. Cross that hurdle, run a couple Java checks. finish the installation of CrashPlan, configure the installation to do the off-site back up of content this Debian installation is serving, and we're off.


Time Machine Redux

The project of the day: getting a vintage Mac Mini, resurrected from its original aging configuration earlier this month with a new CPU and with OS X Snow Leopard replaced with Debian Wheezy, re-configured so that it could become the new home for household Time Machine backups.

This latest episode, helped by other intrepid internet pioneers, was surprisingly simple - made easier by the  growing support for Apple protocols in the Linux world. Thanks helpers!


As the title would indicate, this is just a placeholder. If you want more content you'll have to ask me personally.