as you might have heard, we’re providing nightly builds of the parts of ownCloud, which is ownCloud community server as well as the ownCloud client on its supported platforms Linux, Windows and Mac.

The nightly builds of the client for Windows and Mac and the source balls can be downloaded from the nightly directory on our download server. They are named after the last release, followed by a date time stamp, which is simply a concatentation of the year, month and day the nightly was built on. For linux we maintain a so called nightly repository in the openSUSE Buildservice which builds for various distributions. That can be added to the linux package management system and that way every morning, an update is there for you. The ownCloud server is built only in the nightly repository from this daily source.

What are nightlies for?

To test ownCloud is a very difficult task. ownCloud is a complex system consisting of variuos parts (anybody thought ownCloud is just a “LAMP web app”?) which supports a huge variety of environments. That multiplies to a huge variety that needs to be tested. We had issues with that in the past and as a result, providing easy access to ready-to-run testing versions is one important action we are taking to improve quality as that enables more people to participate on tests.

Of course nightly builds are not released software, nor got they extensive testing. Nightly builds must never be used on production installations, please, really don’t do.

But maybe you have a test server or virtual machine somewhere in spare. So it would be great if you could install a nightly version on that, combine it with a nightly built client, and see if everything runs as you would expect it.

Another great purpose of the nightly builds is to use it for bug verification. In client development we often comment on bugs with sentences like this is fixed now, please verify with the current nightly build. That way bug reporter get a very quick way to verify the fix of their issue and developers can be sure that their fix really is sufficient.

How are nightlies built?

We are doing the nightly builds through an instance of Jenkins, a continous integration server. With a little script we wrote Jenkins feeds the OBS every night, so this is completely automatted. But more on that in a subsequent blog.