Review: FinalBuilder 2.0

FinalBuilder 2.0
EUR 299 Developer/EUR 399 Enterprise
Atozed Computer Software Ltd.

There are a bunch of automated build utilities out there, ranging from batch files that drive everything from the command line, through the XML-driven Ant and Nant, to fullblown GUI applications. FinalBuilder is my build utility of choice, and with 2.0 Atozed has added a batch of new features to an already impressive piece of software.

To set up a build script in FinalBuilder, you drop a series of actions into a sequence. An action might be copying a file, or checking something out of source code control, or calling a compiler. Each action has properties to set exactly what it does, and there's a scripting interface to let you customize things even further.

With version 2.0, the IDE has been completely rebuilt from the ground up. New features include the ability to call multiple action lists (sort of like adding subroutines to your build process), variable watches, better logging, and speed improvements.

The number of actions in 2.0 is vastly increased over 1.0. 1.0 supported SourceSafe, Perforce, and CVS for source code control; 2.0 adds StarTeam, Vault, and Team Coherence. You'll also find new actions for getting files from a Web server, sending ICQ messages, registering DLLs and OCXs, asking questions of the user while a build is going on, and more. Of course there are plenty of compilers, help builders, and so on supported. Plus, you can run any command line or Windows application you care to, with the result that pretty much any process can be automated.

With 2.0 there's an Enterprise Edition that adds new high-end actions. These include burning CDs, executing SQL statements or DTS packages on MS SQL Server, working with WMI, running XSLT transformations, and controlling Windows services.

Many people don't like using GUI tools for builds, but I wouldn't be without one. As far as I'm concerned, FinalBuilder is an essential part of my software development process. If you want to see how it might fit into yours, you can download a 30-day trial.

About the Author

Mike Gunderloy has been developing software for a quarter-century now, and writing about it for nearly as long. He walked away from a .NET development career in 2006 and has been a happy Rails user ever since. Mike blogs at A Fresh Cup.


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