Thursday, March 31, 2005

Automating the QFE creation process

Well, this is my first blog post from my new position on the Sustained Engineering team.  While my office move was done a few weeks ago, and I’ve been doing the job since then as well, it was just made official today (at least, that’s when it finally filtered up through the many various DB layers to show up in our address book).  So today, officially, I am no longer on the Embedded team.

I’ll wait until you can compose yourself.  :-)

What I’ve been doing for the past week or two is trying to get our new automation tool simplified for the non-Embedded folks over here in WinSE.  My colleague in crime and Part-Time Bottle Washer Jay Kremer did a great job with the tool, but even after it was completed and being used, it was a hands-on process that he babysitted through the process.  It is a vast improvement over the old process, but it requires you know the XPE QFE process, XPE architecture, and have the time to do it.  In short, it’s not going to fit into the fully automated hands-off processes WinSE currently uses to put security bulletins together.

So what I’ve been doing to writing some wrapper apps to go around the automation tool that enable:

  • One button push operation – basically, call the wrapper and point it at a folder full of updates.
  • Batch processing – the tool works on one update package at a time.  The wrapper lets us work on all the updates at once.
  • Automatically select the right SP level.
  • Accumulate all the updated components into one rollup SLD – this required some fancy footwork to replace the previously used rollup with the one we just got through creating.

Now, it’s still not ready for the WinSE build lab to take over – some updates can’t be handled this way, there are some other oddities in the automation tool itself that need to be tweaked, and no one here is going to want use code written by a PM (go figure, since the last shipping code I wrote was pre-MS, early 1995 in Clipper) – but it’s better than the previous manual process.  Next steps are to spec out the changes we need for V2 of the tool, get a dev assigned to do the work (tougher than it sounds), and push this baby out the door.

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