So, a client is looking to set up a new continuous integration (CI) environment. For historical reasons the default choice is CruiseControl but there are a bunch more tools around, including the very interesting new Build-o-Matic.
Build-o-Matic exists because it turns out to be quicker and easier to build a CI server that does exactly what you want, from scratch, in Python, than to configure the XML-infested Cruise to do something only quite a lot like what you want.
Still, Cruise is fully enterprisey, which doesn't just mean overly complicated, bloated, opaque, and difficult to use--it also means unlikely to trigger the corporate immune system. Which mainly means that the folks who manage the build machine will tolerate it. There's a whole other discussion to be had about organisations that expect developers to be productive but won't give then control of their environment.
Anyway, It'd be nice to suggest B-o-M to my client, but I have a strong suspicion that it would take longer than the lifetime of the project to get B-o-M approved for use (Ivan knows that this is an issue and is working to make it better) What to do, what to do....
Well, how about this: this is a green-field project, and although there's a web front-end coming down the line all the work being done now is real programming with actual POJO's so we can keep the build short. In fact, the build script is going to be a pretty opinionated thing and quite capable of failing your pre-check-in local build if it takes too long (or exhibits any one of a quite long list of other characteristics). So, what will we lose if we have a cron job that checks out head and builds it every now and again (say, every build-time * 3), and a little web page that watches that job and reports what the cron job is upto?
Is this a complete CI solution? No. But then why would we need one of those?