Thursday, December 21, 2006

Release procedures

While lurking on the Maven dev mailing I came across a proposal for a release procedure. Given that the proposal is 3 pages long, in the ensuing discussion, the developers most heavily involved in the project, what one might call as the "doers", seemed to reserve a lukewarm welcome to the proposal.

There is a growing need to increase productivity of development teams, an industrialization of sorts. However, this need has to be balanced with the imperatives of creativity. Procedures affecting the day to day lives of developers need to be pragmatic and low cost. The time at the disposal of a productive developer is a scarce and expensive resource. As such, I am surprised to see Apache, an open-source icon, indulge in heavy-handed procedures. Again, it's only a proposal, and hopefully it won't be accepted in its current form.

"Release early, release often" has been one of the core mantras of open-source development. The ability to release frequently brings a level of reactivity highly appreciated by OS users. A multitude of procedures which inexorably hamper reactivity, need to be weighed against the purported benefits.

Of course, not every procedure is bad. Development teams need to be coordinated, with each developer assigned clearly defined tasks. Scrum attempts to deal with this problem. Scrum from the trenches gives an easy to read description of the approach advocated by Scrum aficionados.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Migrate from log4j to logback in seconds

It may sound insignificant but we migrated our most important
applications in production from log4j 1.3 over to logback version 0.7. We have done this without changing a single line of code in our applications but by merely replacing the file log4j.jar with log4j-bridge.jar in the relevant WEB-INF/lib directories.

Log4j-bridge intercepts calls to log4j's Logger class and transparently redirects them to logback.

I am thrilled to see that for our real-world applications previously using log4j, the migration process to logback was quick and painless.