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Build automation is the process of automating the creation of a software build and the associated processes including: compiling computer source code into binary code, packaging binary code, and running automated tests.
Historically, build automation was accomplished through makefiles. Today, there are two general categories of tools:
Depending on the level of automation the following classification is possible:
A software list for each can be found in list of build automation software.
Build-automation utilities allow the automation of simple, repeatable tasks. When using the tool, it will calculate how to reach the goal by executing tasks in the correct, specific order and running each task. The two ways build tools differ are task-oriented vs. product-oriented. Task-oriented tools describe the dependency of networks in terms of a specific set task and product-oriented tools describe things in terms of the products they generate.
Although build servers existed long before continuous-integration servers, they are generally synonymous with continuous-integration servers, however a build server may also be incorporated into an ARA tool or ALM tool.
Automation is achieved through the use of a compile farm for either distributed compilation or the execution of the utility step. The distributed build process must have machine intelligence to understand the source-code dependencies to execute the distributed build.
Build automation is considered the first step in moving toward implementing a culture of continuous delivery and DevOps. Build automation combined with continuous integration, deployment, application-release automation, and many other processes help move an organization forward in establishing software-delivery best practices.[how?]
The advantages of build automation to software development projects include
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