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Speed up build?

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Posted 19 March 2009 - 21:29

It's been a while since I've worked on our installs and haven't visited this site for a while. Kinda nice to be back.

Our build is fairly large and takes a while to build. As our organization is trying to implement "Agile" programming methods, we're trying to get our build times down from 5 hours for more of a "continuous integration" situation. A large chunk of that time is building the installs.

It's a Basic MSI project. It currently takes around 40-45 minutes to build. I called Acresso support, but the only things they suggested was to turn off .NET scan at build. Nothing we haven't already tried.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how we can reduce build time? Is there any tools or settings that would allow installs to be built in a distributed environment? How about splitting it up on multiple processors?

Thanks for your input!

-- spdygnlz --


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Posted 20 March 2009 - 10:50

At least older versions of InstallShield are single-threaded. Once I even got a dual Xeon system but could not put it to work.
If you want to put money in your development system, put it in the fastest disk access you can buy. Suggestion: a good SCSI raid controller and fast disks. But, you better do some performance monitoring to see where the real bottleneck is.

Other suggestions
- When you only want to replace a custom action in a DLL, use a script that replaces the DLL in an existing build. Microsoft put a couple of WSH scripts in the Platform SDK, one of them updates files. You can rewrite that to update a file in the Binary table. This gets you going in seconds!
- Consider creating MSMs with the installable files, esp. files with COM registration ('extract at build') or requiring .NET scan. When you work on the master install at least some parts on file compression etc. are already done when the MSM was built. When you have a build system with a daily build, you can pick up the latest MSMs every morning.
- Create a second build, that does not compress files. (This hardly works in combination with MSMs mentioned above, since files in MSMs are always compressed and incuded in the MSM. The build will then uncompress these files in the MSM!) Use that build for development and the real build on the build system.

Hope this helps.