STQE Magazine Reviews Tinderbox 2.0

Thursday September 4th, 2003

Tinderbox 2.0 author Ken Estes wrote in to tell us that he has written an in-depth review of the tool for the September/October 2003 issue of STQE magazine. The publication appears to be subscription-only but there is an online page with some supplementary information available.

Anyone who has ever checked in any Mozilla code will know the importance of visiting the relevant Tinderbox page (such as the one for the main SeaMonkey tree) before proceeding. It states whether the tree is open or closed, shows on which platforms the latest code successfully compiles and provides a list of recent checkins. It can also display important announcements and other information. There are three different versions of Tinderbox in existence: the original Tinderbox 1.0, which powers's Tinderbox pages, Estes' Tinderbox 2.0 rewrite, and John Keiser's Tinderbox 3.

#1 Can anyone explain the 2/3 difference?

by MarkHB

Friday September 5th, 2003 6:33 AM

I've casually looked into deploying Tinderbox, but I'm confused by the presence of both tbox2 and tbox3. I understand that the original is highly Netscape-specific, but why 2 separate rewrites? What are the feature differences, and which is the more llikely to be maintained / stable going forward?

#2 Differences

by Anthracks

Friday September 5th, 2003 9:40 AM

It says right on the Tinderbox 3 page what the significant new features over v2 are:

- Database-backed, http protocol for communication - Tinderboxen upload builds to the server when they finish building - Patches can be uploaded to the server and distributed to all tbox clients for easy, widespread testing of an idea - Builds have much quicker cycle time and pick up changes quicker (thanks to fast-update and not building when there are no changes) - Clients can be controlled from the server: .mozconfig and other configuration, as well as commands ("kick", "clobber", "checkout" and "build" supported currently) - Client setup is brain-dead--as long as compiler and basic unix tools are there, it will check out and build, including setting up .mozconfig and other options specified by the server - Clients auto-upgrade when there is a new tbox client version - Server is entirely adminstered via a web interface - login/password security is enabled for sheriffing and build comments (you can use the login/password for your Bugzilla account).

As far as which is more likely to be maintained, I really couldn't say.

#3 Netscape specific?

by kiko

Sunday September 7th, 2003 11:41 AM

Actually, tbox1 is not netscape-specific; I've installed it on a number of sites with good results. As for the multiplicity of versions, each rewrite seems to have focused on certain aspects of the tool, and I don't think there was a lot of coordination, or we'd really have a single distribution.

It seems not many people have time to hack on the webtools apart from bugzilla, and their non-production-quality status shows in the difficult installation, obscure setup procedure, and general lack of polish. However, once you do get them running, they are amazingly cool.