1-888-310-4540 (main) / 1-888-707-6150 (support) info@spkaa.com
Select Page

Why Software Builds Fail and Areas for Improvement

Published by SPK Blog Post
on June 29, 2015

In a recently published paper, researchers at Google examined the issue of failed software builds within their organization. Specifically, they wanted to address the separate questions of “How often do builds fail?”, “Why do builds fail”, and “How long does it take to fix broken builds?” To answer these questions, the researchers looked at 26.6 million Java and C++ builds due to the overwhelming usage of these two languages within Google. For the purposes of this article, we will review the results of the question “why do builds fail?”

To determine why builds were failing, the researchers examined the build logs and categorized compiler error messages into different groups. Of the categories defined, the researchers looked at the top 25 most frequent error messages to identify the most common cause of build failure. The results indicated that only 10 percent of the error categories accounted for 90 percent of the broken builds, regardless of the language. Additionally, those errors where most commonly dependency related.

Insofar as these findings are generalizable to organizations outside of Google, the implications of this research suggest that dependency management is one of the most critical areas of concern for decreasing the amount of broken software builds. Potential actions could include reducing the dependencies for a given project, or developing assistive tools to help developers resolve dependency errors. Ideally, the goal should be to help prevent developers from submitting changes that contain dependency errors. In this study, the average resolution time was one to two additional builds. In this scenario, if we assume introducing a dependency-related bug requires two additional builds, the cost of such a bug is 3 times the elapsed build time in addition to the developer’s time required to resolve it.

Next Steps:

David Hubbell
Software Engineer
SPK and Associates

Latest White Papers

Three Trends Are Transforming The Service Desk

Three Trends Are Transforming The Service Desk

Your IT service desk is about to change. Find out what's shaping the future. Three factors — enterprise service management (ESM), collaboration, and intelligent service management — are driving the transformation of the service desk. To better meet customers’ needs...

Related Resources

Extending CloudBees SDA Analytics

Extending CloudBees SDA Analytics

CloudBees SDA Analytics has more power than you think One of the main features of CloudBees SDA is CloudBees Analytics, powered by ElasticSearch. It’s a powerful tool for displaying continuous integration data and there are loads of useful metrics available from...

The Power of CloudBees Procedures

The Power of CloudBees Procedures

What are Procedures in CloudBees SDA? In CloudBees SDA, procedures are the basis for reusable code. Any engineer familiar with setting up CD pipelines knows the irritation of re-coding the same task in a multitude of different ways for different teams. With...

10-Point Checklist for Atlassian Server Migrations

10-Point Checklist for Atlassian Server Migrations

Introduction As applications, such as Jira, become more mainstream for Enterprises, it was inevitable that Atlassian and others would create their own service (SaaS) that provides numerous benefits to users across the globe.  The benefits of having a SaaS...