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Meet Travis CI: Open Source Continuous Integration

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The Travis CI Foundation transitioned to a brand new build system on January 30th, both simplifying and bolstering the capacity of their open source continuous integration testing solution.

As a continuous integration host to a wide range of languages, Travis CI has been growing at an impressive clip among JavaScript projects, with over 8056 JavaScript projects currently using the Travis CI solution, says Travis developer Konstantin Haase. “[Node.js] is the most likely choice for [testing] a JavaScript framework, though any of our language environments can run tools like PhantomJS or Jasmine,” says Haase. Two well known GitHub-hosted JavaScript projects included are ember.js and batman.js.

Travis CI’s transition to its new build system is “going to [make it] a lot easier for us to do on-demand provisioning for new builds instead of booting VirtualBox from a snapshot every time,” says Travis CI developer Mathias Meyer. “Now we have just a single process running that does a more dynamic mapping and chooses the right server image based on the language requested. It simplifies our entire setup significantly, and we can add more capacity easily as well.”

To get started, developers will need a GitHub account and a .travis.yml file bound to the language of their choice. Both gui- and headless-testing options are available to ensure client-side code performs as expected. During the build process, JavaScript developers have a number of build notification options available to them. Of the JavaScript projects currently being hosted, 66% leverage an IRC notification during the build process, while most of the remainder send email notifications, says Haase.

As Travis CI grows, its presence is marked on GitHub project pages through build status images that give immediate feedback of the testing status. “The build status as shown on Travis CI currently takes into account all branches, it just looks at the most recently finished build. The status image can be configured to show only a specific branch, master for instance,” Haase says.

Rollouts of Travis Pro, the company’s privatized continuous integration service, are already underway. “With our new build system in place, which improved overall build stability and reliability significantly, and our new virtualization platform which allows us to grow more dynamically, we only have a few things to iron out before we can open [Travis Pro] up to a public beta audience,” says Meyers. “That said, Travis Pro has been in active use by customers since summer 2012 already, and has improved greatly since then. We can't way to show it to everyone!”

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