Continuous Integration – Commit Frequently

I thought by 2010 that this would be a standard doctrine, but it’s not (at least with the customer teams I coach). Commit regularly – minimum once per hour. Every minute past one hour should make you very uncomfortable. The hair on the back of your neck should start to stand up at 1.5 hours. A facial tic should begin at 2 hours. At 3 hours a reflex action should kick in to revert local changes and start over in a more incremental way.

Effective continuous integration relies on continuous commits from developers – I commit often, others update (get latest) often, we remain in a perpetual state of integration. Thanks to collective code ownership and a high shared coding standard, I’ll start building on top of (or refactoring) code that you’re committing – while you’re still working on a feature. This is incredibly healthy, and helps us deliver code that is expressive and free from duplication. If we’re accidentally working in the same area, we’ll find out in an hour instead of in two days when the train wreck is unavoidable.

Work in small hops. Red – Green – Refactor – can I commit? If I can’t commit, why not? Make your next priority to get the code back to a state where you can commit.

Deferring commits is like playing ‘chicken’ with the rest of your team.

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