You’ve got your continuous integration (CI) server setup so that whenever someone checks in an item (code, asset, configuration file, etc.) to your repository, a build process is started, tests are run, the build passes or fails, and then what? If your build passes or fails, who gets notified? Enter continuous notification.
Continuous notification is not a new concept. It seems logical to me that you send out notifications on the status of the build in your continuous integration server. Here are ways you might want to go about notifying your team.
E-mail: This is the most passive form of notification and any continuous integration server worth a damn will support build notification via e-mail. You’ve probably already got a team e-mail list per project for the various projects being built by your continuous integration server. Make sure the team knows the build failed. You can optionally also send an e-mail to the individual who broke the build, but at that point it’s just insult to injury. Developers may not be checking e-mail on a regular basis, so consider adding additional continuous notifications.
Group chat: If your teams use a group chat like IRC, Campfire, HipChat, Yammer, or whatever, your continuous integration server might support notification for these services. This is a more direct form of continuous notification as opposed to e-mail. You will most likely interrupt developer conversations. Good. If you notify a separate build notification room, developers will never ever join that room. Ever. It also means there’s a formal record of the build status as these services typically support day-to-day transcripts.
Instant message: The build fails and the developer gets an instant message from the continuous integration server letting them know as such. This is one of the most direct forms of continuous notification short of the continuous integration server notifying Johnny 5 who subsequently comes over to your desk and says to you, “Los Locos kick your ass. Los Locos kick your face. Los Locos kick your balls INTO OUTER SPACE!”
Use your continuous integration server to notify your team on the status of your build(s). That is all.
Maybe this should have been the TL;DR?
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