Do you have a repetitive task for example in a programming project? Chances are you could automate the steps with a build tool.
- Put all project files to a zip file: Click each file and each dir, and choose add to zip
- Rename the zip file, and click yes to tell windows I’m sure I want to do that
- Send the zip file to my server with sftp, and click yes to confirm overwriting the file
This isn’t such a complex task, but when I had to do it every time I needed to test a small change, it quickly started to consume more time and got repetitive.
I had earlier set up Apache Ant for some Java stuff I was working on. Ant is a Java-based build automation tool, and quite similar to Phing, which you may be familiar with if you are a PHP programmer.
I wrote a short Ant build file which did the three steps mentioned earlier. Instead of having to do each manually, I could just run the build file which was much faster – even though it took a few seconds because of the sftp file-send, it meant I didn’t have to do it manually, and could use the browser to go to the test URL simultaneously.
Oh, and having a build script is even part of the Joel Test! ;)