Breaking the Build

When a developer adds changes to the source code repository that result in the failure of a subsequent build process, the developer has “broken the build.” Avoiding breaking the build is a commitment generally required by agile software developers and integral to the XP practice continuous integration. The build is broken if the build process cannot successfully completed for any number of reasons including (but not limited to) failure to compile, compiling with unacceptable warnings, or the failure of any number of (usually) automated software tests. The more comprehensive the build process, the higher the threshold for breaking the build. If a code submission does result in breaking the build, the developer should immediately remove the cause. If the build breaks but the immediate cause is not self-evident, a frequent practice of established agile development teams is to take immediate action to fix the build.