Nightly builds – see the future
20 February 2008 in Apple, Mindscape, Tools | Comments enabled
Most people that know me are aware that I like to play with new tech. Being that I’m more of a software guy than a hardware guy this usually means the newest versions of tools, frameworks and applications. This is somewhat of a two way street – sometimes you get cool stuff early, sometimes you get buggy crap
I’ve been tinkering with FireFox 3 for about 3 months and had gone back to using FireFox 2 for the time being as there were one or two annoying bugs that prevented me working at a good speed. Recently however I gave FireFox 3.0 another crack on OS X and WOW, it is a million times better than FireFox 2.0. The native theme and widgets are just fantastic and the feel is much more slick all round.
I’d also read that WebKit (the rendering engine behind Safari) is blazingly fast vs. everything else at the moment but you need to use a nightly build. A nightly build is what it sounds like – a build of the software generated on a daily basis from the latest version of the source. It’s usually cutting edge, not guaranteed to work and often buggy. The upside is that you get early access, can help by submitting bug reports and also get to test your software against the newest builds (Xero, take note, FireFox 3.0 beta 3 does not love you very much!)
Tools for nightly builds
It can be useful to automatically update to the latest nightly and on the Mac there is a cool set of tools you can grab here that allow you automate this process for WebKit & FireFox (and several other tools I believe) which is super handy. It can even provide the changelog, maintain a copy of the old version in case the new one is borked and do all sorts of fancy things. Very nice.
We do nightlies too
Since very early on we have provided nightly builds off all our software at Mindscape. This is important because, as stated earlier, it allows people to test against new features, get access to new features we may be working on etc. We’ve enhanced this process for our customers by allowing them to access nightly builds based on what they own. That means that people who have bought the Enterprise edition for example will get the source code with their nightly build. This is something that many other vendors do not provide.