We are just about ready to release the very first beta version of Simple DNS Plus v. 5.0.
That means that a lot of compiling, installer building, and testing is going on at the moment.
All in all, getting from source code to a complete "setup.exe" file involves 30+ steps of doing different things in different programs (compiling, obfuscating, packaging, signing, virus scanning, etc.) - all of which has to be repeated over and over as we correct bugs and fine tune everything.
Until yesterday this was a manual and painfully slow process.
Today I discovered "Visual Build Professional" from http://www.kinook.com
After playing with the trial version for only a few hours, I had our whole build process completely automated.
I just placed an order for the full version - this software program will save us so much time in the next critical beta testing period that it will pay for itself ($300) many many times over!
I know there are other automated build tools out there, but what really sold me on this one is that it has direct support for exactly the tools we use to build Simple DNS Plus v. 5.0:
- Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 (http://www.microsoft.com/vstudio)
- Dotfuscator Professional Edition (http://www.preemptive.com)
- Advanced Installer (http://www.caphyon.com)
- Help & Manual (http://www.helpandmanual.com)
I was even able to include an automated a virus scan of each compiled .exe file and the final setup.exe via the command line tool that comes with Kaspersky Anti-Virus (http://www.kaspersky.com).
So now when we make a small change to the source code, we can then compile and package a new setup.exe file, and upload it to the web-server in just one step!!
The build process is of course only the final step - a number of other tools also play significant roles in creating Simple DNS Plus:
- SandDock (http://www.divelements.co.uk) - dockable/tabbed windows.
- dotTrace Profiler (http://www.jetbrains.com) - for profiling/optimizing.
- FogBugz (http://www.fogcreek.com) - for tracking bugs/ideas/suggestions.
- Axialis IconWorkshop (http://www.axialis.com) - for converting/creating Vista ready icons.
- Hexago / go6 client (http://www.go6.net) - for testing IPv6 features.
- SyncBackSE (http://www.2brightsparks.com) - for synchronizing folders and uploading websites.
- Mozy (http://www.mozy.com) - continuous remote backup of irreplaceable source files.
- Paint Shop Pro (http://www.corel.com) - my favorite imaging program.
- VMware Workstation (http://www.vmware.com) - for testing on different platforms.
- Reflector (http://www.aisto.com/roeder/dotnet) - for fine tuning .NET code.
We have tried many different tools in all these categories over the years, and I can highly recommend all of the above over any competitors that I know of.
For more on Simple DNS Plus v. 5.0 see http://www.simpledns.com/v50beta.aspx