OmniThreadLibrary now supports 11 different Delphi versions (2007, 2009, 2010, XE, XE2, XE3, XE4, XE5, XE6, XE7, XE8), some with very special requirements about the supported pascal syntax (2007 and 2009 clearly standing out in that regard) so it takes quite some time to test the compilation of all demos and run unit tests on all supported editions. (And this time will only increase with the addition of support for mobile platforms and OS X. Not that I’m complaining. Sean is doing a terrific job there!)
It does not help that I don’t have all those Delphis installed on my computer. Most of them are only installed in a VM. And it takes a looooong time to start up a VM, run tests, power it down, start up next VM, and so on. And when I fix something, I have to retest it all ….
This kind of testing hurts. So in the manner of the Continuous Integration mantra, I decided to do it more often.
Of course, the only way to do such a painful task more often is to automate it. And to do that, I basically set up a dedicated build server, which sits in a folder on my 2TB drive and is held together with few batch files and a shoestring.
Firstly, I started up all my VMs (one by one) and copied selected parts of eac BDS installation to the big disk. In only copied bin* and lib subfolders as the command-line compiler doesn’t need anything else. (Currently, I’m running dcc32/dcc64 directly. This situation may change when I’ll have to support other platforms.)
Next I had to figure out how to set up environment and run compilation for one specific Delphi version. That looked simple enough until I ran into the infamous “F1027 Unit not found: ‘System.pas’ or binary equivalents (.dcu)”. Google was really not my friend there as all articles that I managed to find suggested to fix environment variables and paths in the IDE. Well, let me tell you – this does not work for the command-line compiler.
The correct solution was actually very simple (and thanks go to Mark Russinovich for the Procmon tool which pointed me in the right direction): You have to edit bin\dcc32.cfg (and bin\dcc64.cfg, if available) and correct paths there. For example, my XE2 dcc32.cfg was looking like this:
-u"C:\Program Files\Embarcadero\RAD Studio\9.0\lib\win32\release"
“C:\Program Files\Embarcadero\…” is the BDS folder inside the VM, but I copied installation files to “D:\Delphi”, so I had to change dcc32.cfg to:
The second part of the solution was to change the PATH so that the correct bin folder is positioned before anything else. My batch file just changes the PATH completely and assigns it that one folder before calling the dcc32 compiler.
My build batch then just does something like this for each Delphi version:
start "XE2" cmd.exe /k doalltests XE2
In step one, PATH is set. Next, otl_ut_root variable is set to point to a unique folder. This variable is used in doalltests script to point to a folder where dcu and exe files are stored. This allows me to run multiple compilations in parallel and indeed start is used next to run the compilation in a new process.
Now I can just run my batch file and I get 11 command line windows (soon to be 12) doing the compilation in parallel.
The CPU utilization is also quite nice.
The whole process finishes in few minutes so now I can definitely do it more often. It also doesn’t hurt as much anymore.