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Travis, CI for OSS

Note: This article was originally published at Planet PHP on 14 November 2011.
Planet PHP

Continuous integration is one of these topics that had a slow start, but in recent years has really taken off. The slow start is likely to be attributed to the fact that it was perceived as hard to setup and maintain. But solutions around Jenkins and Sismo are making it easier and easier. But thanks to the new Travis CI service, its now essentially so easy that there is no excuse not to use CI for PHP projects, at least if you are hosting your OSS code on github.com. What makes this service so crazy cool is that you can run your tests against multiple PHP versions, multiples databases (heck even RabbitMQ) and against multiple versions of various libraries. For a prime example of this check out Doctrine2 on Travis. You can configure tons of stuff, like various ways to get notified in case a build fails and you can even include a little status icon that gets updated automatically into your project description. In short this is amazingly awesome and again its free to use for any open source project out there!

Maybe a short back story. Alvaro poked me I think earlier this week about Travis. I was immediately won over and poked Pascal who is working on the CI setup for Symfony2. I added a few Liip Bundles, while Pascal tackled the bigger projects like Symfony2 and Doctrine2. The Travis team, especially of course PHP native Loic, where super helpful in the #travis channel on Freenode IRC. Pascal figured out how to run Doctrine2 against multiple databases. Loic showed me how to run against multiple Symfony2 versions and I proceeded to add several FriendsOfSymfony Bundles. All within a single week!

So here are some things I learned in the process. First up it is a putty that Github doesn't provide oauth tokens for organizations. As a result I ended up creating a dedicated github user for the Liip Bundles that points back to a closed mailing list for the notifications. For FriendsOfSymfony I am simply using my personal token. Please spam the github folks with feature requests for oauth tokens for organizations so that this is no longer necessary. Second of all I learned that google groups are painfully annoying for this use case as its impossible to allow an automated service to post to a moderated list, as there is no way to cannot confirm a mailing list invitation. Oddly enough I can't even set the list to moderated for non members, since I was unable to get google groups to not require moderation again for a once moderated sender. Speaking of notifications, some people *cough* Jordi *cough* complained about me spamming the FriendsOfSymfony mailing list with tons of emails. In general email notifications are only send if a build failed or if I build just switched from failed to success. So ideally once we get a Bundle passing, we should never see another email unless a commit breaks the build.

Anyway, I think they included lots of Bundle configs in the official docs but I just briefly want to touch on the topic of vendors and autoloading. So right now I setup all Bundles to contain a simple vendors.php script inspired by the script contained in the Symfony2 repository. I also added an autoloader.php.dist as the default mechanism for autoloading in the tests. But the user can define an autoloader.php to override the default which is useful to be able to run the tests against a local checkout of the dependencies without having to run the vendors.php. But the future is much brighter as Loic is looking to add composer support. Once that is in place it will no longer be necessary to write separate vendors.php script or autoloaders since composer can handle all of that for you.

Another thing that will come soon hopefully is to define a url to the ".travis.yml" file, like via a gist, so that its no longer necessary to store this file within the repository. Personally I do not mind this file at all, since it also serves as documentation on how to get the test to run, but I am sure some people might feel the this is ugly *cough* Jan *cough*. At the same time these days most of us have a "phpunit.xml.dist" file already and this is no different to me.

Anyway this service is really exciting and I hope that other projects will also adopt this tool quickly. Even if these projects have their own CI setup already, I think it doesn't hurt to add Travis as well since this way its also easy for people that work on a feature branch to

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