Last Deployment of 2017


Yesterday we completed our last deployment of 2017. Web sites, WCF services, Web Api, Windows Services, and a PowerBuilder app were deployed without major issues. Our sprints run for 2 weeks and we tried to deploy at least once a month.

In this post, I want to share some of the tools we use at MDBuyline to ship high quality software.

Atlassian Jira
Our business analysts meet with our internal users on a regular basis. Sometimes these conversations take place informally during lunch or when they meet at the hall. The conversation goes something like this: “hey Bob, how are you? By the way, I wanted to show you an issue that I’m having with our website.” During these conversations, our analysts will gather enough information to create a user story. Bob will login to Jira and provide a brief description of the issue or feature request. The more information they provide the better. Adding visual aids also helps developers understand these stories better.

These stories will go to a backlog. Every other week we (developers and BA) will meet to go over these stories and also to set priorities for our next sprint. Currently we are in Sprint 47 and it will end next Thursday. Our sprints are 2 weeks long. We also have a scrum master that helps the team manage stories, priorities and deadlines.

Continuous Integration

We currently use subversion for our source control but will be migrating to git soon. Before we start working on a new story, we create a new branch based on the latest change of trunk (master in git). To continuous build our projects, we use Jenkins to handle our .NET builds and also our deployments. All of our projects have a Jenkins job that is set to build against the trunk version. The hassle with working with branches is that we have to ask our team lead to add a new Jenkins job and point it to our new branch. Hopefully with out Git migration, these setup will be handle automatically.

Continuous Deployment

After Jenkins completes building our projects, we use different PowerShell scripts to deploy web sites and web services to the right environment. We have 3 environments: dev, test, and prod. Let me give you an example so this becomes clear. Let’s say that we have a .NET website and it needs to be setup with Jenkins. Our team lead will add a new Jenkins job and set it up with subversion authentication, msbuild arguments, and PowerShell scripts. This job is build against the trunk version. Since we have to create a branch, our team lead will create a new Jenkins job based on the job that points to trunk. After creating the new job, the team lead will modify the url to point to the branch instead of the trunk url. At this point, we should be able to trigger a build and create artifacts. To move these artifacts from our Jenkins server to the correct environment, we use PowerShell scripts to copy files from Jenkins to server dev-win for example.

Summary

This year is coming to an end. For me personally, it has been a great year adding new features to our software products. Our production environment is in great shape since we ship high quality code. Jira helps us create sprints with the right items to work on. Jenkins helps us with our continuous integration. PowerShell scripts deploy our software efficiently and in a timely manner.