Earlier this week I went to the Kansas City .Net User Group meeting where the topic of discussion was UppercuT, a build management framework created by Rob Reynolds. The discussion was pretty good and Rob did a good job at showing a number of demonstrations on how to use the various aspects of UppercuT. All in all, I feel like the presentation got the point across as to the typical why/when/how/etc. questions.
What Is UppercuT?
UppercuT is a build management framework based on NAnt. It was created in order to establish a consistent way to build .Net applications with a minimum amount of configuration while providing areas for extensibility. In addition to just compiling, UppercuT provides a number of options to manage application versioning, automated testing, and code packaging. While it can be extended to include such steps through NAnt, UppercuT doesn't deploy code...it only stages it since every company/project's deployment strategies may be different. One nice thing that UppercuT does do in terms of deployments though is provide you instructions on how to wire it up to CruiseControl.net.
When Should UppercuT Be Used?
UppercuT provides a way for people who have not started to take advantage of automated builds to do so quickly. Because of this, it's best suited for projects that don't have automated build systems integrated into them yet. With some configuration changes, it is possible to integrate with your current scripts; however, changes would need to be made on both side to the point where it would honestly be easier to convert your current scripts to custom steps for UppercuT to take advantage on. If you currently use some build framework like MSBuild or NAnt, I would probably recommend at least checking out UppercuT to see if it's a good fit; however, if you or your company already have some system that works for you in place, it may be better to just keep with what you have.
Where Can I Download and Learn More?
You can find more information on Uppercut by going to it's project website at http://ProjectUppercuT.org. In addition, you can check out Rob's blog over at http://ferventcoder.com/ as well as on Twitter by following @ferventcoder and @ProjectUppercuT.