Broken Build

We are about to release a new version of our application suite to internal test. All new code is stored in a separate Rational Clearcase view. One of our developers has been on an extended vacation for a couple weeks. Before she left, she checked all her latest code into the view. Found out today that her code does not compile.

Our normal build script gets the code to build from the main Clearcase view. I asked the author of the build scripts to give me a version that would build from the new view. With the new script in hand, I tried to get a build done. Compiler kept complaining about missing files. The way the scripts work is that they label the latest code, update a build view to access all labelled files, then copy the files from this view locally to build.

At first I thought the missing files were not getting labelled. A quick check in Clearcase showed some missing files were checked out by another developer. After a quick team pow wow, I got the developer to unreserve the files. Build still did not work. Then I saw that the label was getting applied correctly. Time to take a closer look at the build scripts. The evidence pointed to the scripts not updating the view to look at the correct branch in Clearcase. Got the script author to fix this and the build was a success.

Part of problem solving is to make hypotheses about observed events. The key is to verify that all assumptions are true before treating the hypotheses as fact. It is all too easy to skip this step. The result is that you travel down wrong paths and don't know where to turn.