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Taming the Legacy Beast – Dose It With Some NAnt

Yesterday I griped about legacy code. I carped about VSS, whined about the tight coupling, groused about the arcane configuration setup, and spewed invective about the stupid manual post compilation steps it took just to make the code work. Today it’s time to start cleaning things up and applying some ibuprofen to the legacy headache.

Even though the work we’re doing is supposed to be throwaway in a couple of months, we decided to “NAnt-ify” the development environment. First we’re skimming the VSS project and setting up a new Subversion repository. The next step is to create a bare bones NAnt build to automate the application setup. The last step is a simple CruiseControl.Net configuration to get it into our existing continuous integration server (this is sooooo much easier than it was just a couple of years ago. Hat’s off to the CC.NET guys).

If you can’t easily make a repeatable build and get the application working on your own box in short order, you’re not gonna go anywhere fast. That whole NAnt/CC.NET helps keep the code clean in source control so your coworkers aren’t idle while you go hunt down the new class file you forgot to add. And one last time, VSS is a piece of crap. Using the far superior clients for Subversion (or almost anything else) that are actually intelligent enough to determine what files have been changed, added, or deleted makes for a smoother source control experience. And no, we’re not going to wait until November for the promise of Hatteras in VSTS when Subversion is here now and free.

About Jeremy Miller

Jeremy is the Chief Software Architect at Dovetail Software, the coolest ISV in Austin. Jeremy began his IT career writing "Shadow IT" applications to automate his engineering documentation, then wandered into software development because it looked like more fun. Jeremy is the author of the open source StructureMap tool for Dependency Injection with .Net, StoryTeller for supercharged acceptance testing in .Net, and one of the principal developers behind FubuMVC. Jeremy's thoughts on all things software can be found at The Shade Tree Developer at http://codebetter.com/jeremymiller.
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