17 August 2009

Setting up Integrity for Continuous Integration

Recently I switched the DealBase continuous integration server to use Integrity instead of CruiseControl.rb. This happened because I'd been having some sporadic failures under CC.rb that didn't seem explainable (no code would change, and tests would fail at random), and also due to some changes in Cucumber between versions, it all conspired to switch.

It should be noted that, as you might guess, the "random" failures were not exactly random, but suffice it to say that the root cause re-inforced my notion to switch. My main beef with CC.rb has more to do with it being somewhat in bed with Rake and wanting to run your CI build via a rake task, and some of the issues (or impurities?) that come up with that. But I'm boring you...

Anyway, Integrity... Setup is relatively easy, and is covered fairly well on their setup page/docs. But the following is what I did, which I'm documenting for myself and anyone else who may find it useful.

I setup my server to use with Nginx and Passenger. I tried using Integrity with Nginx and Thin, but wasn't able to get Integrity to work right (similar to the results defunkt had when they tried it at GitHub). We've standardized on Nginx+Passenger, so this was good anyway. I nuked the Nginx I had already and proceeded (all this being done on an Ubuntu Hardy VPS system at Slicehost):

sudo gem install passenger
sudo passenger-install-nginx-module

I let it install Nginx, and picked the default location. I then re-added our HTTP Basic Authentication and a few other Nginx tweaks as I had in the prior Nginx configuration. Next up was to install some prerequisites and Integrity itself:

sudo apt-get sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev
sudo gem install integrity do_sqlite3 thin
integrity install /home/ci/integrity --passenger
cd integrity

Next you'll want to tweak config.yml to customize the domain where you'll access your CI server. I left the rest the same. Then setup Integrity's database:

integrity migrate_db /home/ci/integrity/config.yml

I also added the "integritray" plugin, so that I could continue to use CCMenu to monitor my builds. See the integritray GitHub page for simple install.

Now point Nginx/Passenger at your install, by adding the appropriate server block for a Passenger Rails app, such as:

server {
listen 80;
server_name your.ciserver.com;
root /home/ci/integrity/public;
passenger_enabled on;

auth_basic "Restricted";
auth_basic_user_file /opt/nginx/conf/htpasswd;

Finally, fire up Nginx, and surf to your CI server domain/URL. You should see something like this:

Integrity first startup
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Click the "create your first project" link, and enter details about your app. The "Git repository" field should get your GitHub or other git server URL (e.g. your clone URL). For a build script, the following is what I used:

rake log:clear && RAILS_ENV=test rake db:reset && spec --options spec/spec.opts spec/**/*_spec.rb && RAILS_ENV=cucumber rake db:reset && cucumber --strict -q --format pretty features && rake ci_tag

This is one nice thing about Integrity - it's pretty much any command you can give it. Sure, you might want to wrap that up in a Rake task, or a shell script or however you want to do it. I just entered that raw so it's overly obvious exactly what it's doing. I also found this to work better than doing it as a Rake task, as somehow I wasn't getting the environment to switch properly under Rake. The "ci_tag" rake task is my task for tagging/labeling succesful builds in Git, etc.

Next, you'll want to setup a post-commit service hook on GitHub. You can get your Push URL by clicking the edit link for your project in Integiry:

DealBase | integrity
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Note, that works even with HTTP Basic Auth, just add your user credentials to the Push URL before pasting it in on GitHub.

Finally, fire off a build. And note, one downside of Integrity is that it doesn't indicate (in the web UI) that a build is underway. It just says it hasn't been built yet. The integritray item and thus CCMenu will show you that it's building though.

Lastly... some have asked why not XYZ CI server? A few notes on this:

  • Hudson: this looks awesome, but also somewhat overkill for our needs. I have one project to build, and I'm doing it on a very inexpensive slice that has only 256MB of RAM - I doubt I could even start Hudson in that little RAM, being it's a Java web app, etc. Secondarily, I'd prefer to have the app be Ruby so I can hack on it (I've made at least very minor tweaks to every CI server I've used to date).

  • cruisecontrol.rb - this is what we were using, and it worked well, with minor exception to some random failures and the Rake-oriented build process. I'd really say this is minor though, and would suggest folks try it out. You can of course refer to my previous writeup on setting up CruiseControl.rb :)

  • CI Joe/cijoe - this is actually what I started with when I looked at exploring alternatives. I had problems getting the build working properly, which seems odd. In hindsight that may have wound up being due to some problems during our switch to a newer version of Cucumber. But, one thing I didn't like is that there is no state maintained, so if you stop and start cijoe, it loses track of all its previous builds. This may or may not matter much to you, but I didn't like that. I also didn't want to spend time writing notifiers/CCMenu integration type stuff for our needs. I will ay that cijoe setup/install is pretty cool.

  • Run Code Run doesn't have a viable plan for us yet, plus I've heard having it run custom rake tasks and such doesn't work (wrong?). Furthermore, I didn't really want our private code on their servers and didn't see a need to outsource this.

  • others... either hadn't heard of them, they didn't work well with Rails, or whatever - upshot, Integrity worked, got it up and running fairly fast, and didn't need to spend any more time on this.


_martinS_ said...

Hey Chris,

Nice write up, I've now got Integrity up and running after some initial frustration.



eric marden said...

I tried hudson for a number of months and everytime the java app server had to be restarted (I was using Jetty) it would lose one of my build jobs, forcing me to set it back up again. This didn't happen when hudson itself was restarted (after an update, for example), just when the underlying app server was restarted. This got annoying real quick.

Just wanted to say that your post turned me on to integrity which I'm installing now to give it a test run.

Chris said...

Eric, that's odd it would lose a build job, seems quite strange. I've restarted mine a few times, with no loss, but who knows. I'm not using Jetty though, I'm just using whatever is built in to Hudson, although, knowing that Jetty is good for embedded Java servers, that might be what they use?

My #1 beef with Integrity is that you have no feedback that a build is in progress. The only way I know to determine this is to use the CCMenu integration or similar. And then I found that Integrity would lose track of running builds, and just constantly indicate that the build was still running, yet it was actually done. The control of the builds, and reliability of knowing when a build is running or not is too important for me, so that in the end sealed the deal.