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Making Builds Reproducible

Making Builds Reproducible


In order to build non-SDK projects offline -- a requirement of our buildsystem for security purposes -- we must do the following:

  1. Generate a source drop
    1. check out releng plugin
    2. add a fetch target
    3. run the fetch target with the Eclipse antrunner
    4. tar up the results
  2. Run the standard PDE build (ie. java -cp $SDK/startup.jar org.eclipse.core.launcher.Main

Common Pain Points

The last step -- the actual building with PDE -- is often different between projects. Some common variable differences:

  • javacFailOnError - why isn't this always set?
  • mapsLocal
  • skipFetch
  • buildLabel
  • buildAlias
  • baseExists
  • eclipse.builder.fetch
  • baseLocation vs. base.location
  • pde.builder.path
  • mapVersionTag
  • buildDirectory
  • a build.xml that is essentially a shell for PDE's build.xml - why not just use PDE build.xml directly?
  • ant build files that are shells around the "standard" (essentially empty) build.xml that set obscure variables that are necessary but non-standard
  • build scripts (bash, DOS) that set obscure variables that are necessary but non-standard
  • build scripts that assume relative/absolute paths
  • customTargets.xml attempts to fetch dependencies with no flags to override this behaviour
    • ex. getBaseBuilder is in postFetch unconditionally - we have to patch this out
  • build scripts that assume certain usernames/passwords -- as mentioned in Eclipse Build Best Practices, a common cause of this is the lack of separation between fetching, building, and publishing

Solutions to these common gotchas

  • separate fetching of your project's source code from fetching basebuilder/SDK and dependencies
  • wrap fetching of basebuilder/SDK and dependencies with flags that can be overridden (ie. dontFetch)
  • use consistent flags/variables
    • derive values from other variables (ie. from baseLocation
  • do not assume use of basebuilder as it is almost always perfectly fine to use the SDK -- especially for I- or M-buildsand releases -- and we do this :)
  • do not hard-code usernames, paths, etc. that aren't either universal or at the very least overridable

An Ideal Future

In an ideal world, all it would take to build a project on top of the SDK would be something like this:

  1. assume SDK is available and have a standard way of passing its path during the build
  2. download source drop from project -- no generated files (including build.xmls), no binary code
  3. run the PDE build.xml with consistent options
    1. I envision us using: baseLocation, dontUnzip, dontFetch -- everything else should be derived from these values

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