NANT and WinProTeam

Today I attended my first WinProTeam users group in Rockville. My colleague Chris Hynes, who has been a participate of the groups monthly meeting group for some time, had invited me to go along because he thought the topics would interest me.

Usually,  so I’m told, the normal format for meetings is to run two talks, an hour a piece with pizza and soda is thrown in gratis in between. This month WinProTeam played host to a special meeting where Jonathan Cogley spoke about NANT – an open source build tool for .NET.

I’d seen NANT in action before but never gotten around to looking into the application in depth. I was surprised to see how concise and mature the product was. I’ll not dwell into the specifics of the talk (visit Jonathan’s blog page and the NANT sourceforge web site for details), but to suffice to say the lecture and accompanied demonstration left me wanting to go home this evening and install the software.

NANT, derived from the original ANT (Another Neat Tool) build application for Apache (way back), is designed to amalgamate the various steps involved in todays complex build, test and deployment scenarios. The application reads all build instructions from one single build script, represented in XML, and is designed to be simple to use.

Johnathan demonstrated NANT building a .NET application (consisting of several projects), testing the built application through NUNIT, producing a “last known good” deployment,  and finally a to-do report of any remaining code issues within the build. Also part of his demonstration, Jonathan entertained the group with an example of how to create custom build tasks for NANT, highlighting the sophistication of the software.

Before drawing a close to his talk Jonathan threw a few teaser questions at the audience and rewarded correct answers with prizes. I left my first WinProTeam meeting a proud owner of a new keyring flash light.

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