Does your rabbit tell you about your build?


A rabbit is for life…

A French company called Violet sells a number of “Things” – internet-enabled devices that interact with you and/or your environment.  (Actually you can buy them from lots of resellers).  They include mirrors, stamps, lamps and strangely rabbits!  The first generation rabbit was called Nabaztag (Nabaztag is Armenian for “rabbit”), whilst the second  generation is called a Nabaztag:tag, and amongst other enhancements, has been blessed with the ability to “sniff” RFID tags and play MP3 files.  You can identify a Nabaztag:tag by it’s belly-button microphone which enables the rabbit to hear a small number of single word commands, e.g. “weather” and respond, e.g. by telling you what the weather will be.  Wikipedia can tell you more about Nabatztags.

I recently got a Nabaztag:tag.  He (or is it a she?) comes in clean pure white, although Violet also sells coloured replacement ears, and many people customise their rabbit’s look.  Of course, the geek in me didn’t care too much about style and rather wanted to fiddle with how it works and get it to do different things…

Cruisecontrol.rb is for peace of mind…

As was alluded to in a previous blog post, we use CruiseControl.rb to do continuous integration of our code.  Within ten minutes of checking some code into Subversion (yes we use that too), our CruiseControl.rb server will automatically

  • check the updated code out
  • update the application’s database using Rails migrations
  • start the application
  • run our unit tests, our integration tests and our performance tests
  • do some profiling of our code
  • shut down the application again
  • build our documentation
  • and finally trawl through our code picking out the TODOs and FIXMEs etc.

This is great, but how do we know whether it worked or not?  Well, we use CCMenu which sits on our menu bars and quietly shows a coloured blob giving the current state of the build.  Some of us integrate it with Growl to actively tell us whether it succeeded or failed when the build completes.  But that wasn’t enough for me!

Tell me, tell me now!

Yep, I had to integrate CruiseControl.rb and my rabbit.  Unfortunately, CruiseControl’s documentation on writing plugins is a little sparse (I couldn’t find any truly complete documentation), and Violet’s documentation isn’t ideal either (and they keep moving it although there is some general consensus between them all).

So, I’ve tried to simplify it for you.  First I wrote a CruiseControl.rb plugin using the sparse documentation and got it working, but it didn’t do much because I’d only learnt about a couple of hooks.  Thinking that there must be more, I trawled the CruiseControl.rb source code to discover all the possible hooks… and there were lots more!  So I added methods for all of the possible CruiseControlRB hooks to my plugin.

Finally, I used that complete template plugin to integrate with my rabbit.  And here’s the code:


require 'net/http'
require 'uri'

class NabaztagNotifier

  # Configure your Nabaztag's details here.
  NABAZTAG_SERIAL_NUMBER = 'xxxxxxxxxxxx'
  NABAZTAG_TOKEN = 'yyyyyyyyyy'

    :black    => "0,0,0",
    :red      => "255,0,0",
    :green    => "0,255,0",
    :blue     => "0,0,255",
    :magenta  => "255,0,255",
    :cyan     => "0,255,255",
    :yellow   => "255,255,0",
    :white    => "255,255,255",

  def initialize(project)
#    puts "initialize"

  def no_new_revisions_detected
#    puts "no_new_revisions_detected"

  def new_revisions_detected(revisions)
#    puts "new_revisions_detected"

  def sleeping
#    puts "sleeping"

  def build_requested
#    puts "build_requested"

  def configuration_modified
#    puts "configuration_modified"

  def build_initiated
#    puts "build_initiated"

  def build_started(build)
#    puts "build_started"
    rabbit(:colour => :yellow, :message => "Build started for #{committer(build)}", :status => :building)

  def build_finished(build)
#    puts "build_finished"
    if build.successful?
      rabbit(:colour => :green, :message => "Build fixed by #{committer(build)}", :status => :success)
    elsif build.failed?
      rabbit(:colour => :red, :message => "Build broken by #{committer(build)}", :status => :failure)
    elsif build.incomplete?
      rabbit(:colour => :yellow, :message => "Build incomplete", :status => :incomplete)
      rabbit(:colour => :yellow, :message => "Build status unknown", :status => :unknown)

  def build_loop_failed(error)
#    puts "Build loop failed: #{error.class}: #{error.message}"
    rabbit(:colour => :red, :message => "Build failed with an error", :status => :failure)

  def build_broken(build, previous_build)
#    puts "build_broken"
#    rabbit(:colour => :red, :message => "Build broken by #{committer(build)}", :status => :failure)

  def build_fixed(build, previous_build)
#    puts "build_fixed"
#    rabbit(:colour => :green, :message => "Build fixed by #{committer(build)}", :status => :success)


  def committer(build)
    match = build.changeset.match(/ committed by (\w+) /)
    if match.nil?
      return "unknown"
    elsif match[1].length > 1
      return "#{match[1][0,1].upcase} #{match[1][1..-1].capitalize}"
      return match[1]

  def rabbit(options)

    # Quarter second tempo
    url += "&chor=4"

    # Ears up => success
    # Ears down => failure
    # Ears askew => unknown
    if options.has_key?(:status)
      angle = case options[:status]
        when :success
          [0, 0]
        when :failure
          [180, 180]
          [90, 90]
      angle.each_index do |ear|
        url += ",0,motor,#{ear},#{angle[ear]},0,#{ear}"

    # Colour:
    #   Symbol => named colour
    #   String => "R,G,B"  (0-255 in each value)
    if options.has_key?(:colour)
      colour = case options[:colour]
      when nil
      when Symbol
      when String

      (0..12).each do |n|
        url += ",#{n    },led,#{n % 4 + 1},#{colour}"
        url += ",#{n + 1},led,#{n % 4 + 1},#{COLOURS[:black]}"
      url += ",14,led,1,#{colour},14,led,2,#{colour},14,led,3,#{colour}"

    # Message
    url += "&tts=#{URI.escape(options[:message])}&ttlive=10" if options[:message]

    puts "Sending Nabaztag: #{url}"
    Net::HTTP.get_print URI.parse(url)


  def test
    puts "testing"
    rabbit(:colour => :blue, :message => "Boo", :status => :abc)


# Uncomment the following line to test:

Project.plugin :nabaztag_notifier

As it stands, it is a drop in CruiseControl.rb/Nabaztag:tag plugin that announces the start of a build and who started it, and the completion of a build and who broke it or fixed it.  However, it is ripe for extension to make it do what you need – make the rabbit more chatty, or rip out the Nabaztag bits and reuse it as the starting place for a standard CruiseControl.rb plugin.

Installing it

There are 3 steps to installing the Nabaztag:tag CruiseControl.rb plugin.

  1. Installing the plugin depends somewhat on your CruiseControl.rb version.  So far we’ve used two different versions:
    • in the first you had to put the above file in builder_plugins/installed directory in CruiseControl.rb, making sure that the file has the right owner and permissions.
    • in our current CruiseControl.rb version, you need to put it in the builder_plugins directory, again making sure that the file has the right owner and permissions.
  2. Then, you’ll need to edit the first few lines to set the
        NABAZTAG_SERIAL_NUMBER = 'xxxxxxxxxxxx'
        NABAZTAG_TOKEN = 'yyyyyyyyyy'

    You can get the serial number from your rabbit – follow the Violet instructions for registering. Once you have registered with Violet and opened your account, then you can configure your rabbit to join the “Violet ecosystem”, i.e. generate the token.  Now you have the serial number and the token, update the appropriate lines in the plugin.

  3. Finally, simply restart CruiseControl.rb to pick up the plugin.

To test that it is working, start a build – if you start one from CruiseControl.rb’s web interface, the rabbit should announce “Build started for unknown” whilst flashing yellow LEDs and cocking his ears forward expectantly.  Later, hopefully your build will succeed and the rabbit will announce “Build fixed by unknown”, flash green LEDs and perk his ears up, but if it fails then the rabbit will announce “Build broken by unknown”, flash red LEDs and put his ears down flat.

How to tweak it to suit you

Out of the box, the plugin will announce the start and completion of the builds, along with the Subversion committer of the latest checkin.  To help the rabbit pronounce our usernames, the plugin splits the first character off the username, e.g. “jsmith” becomes “J Smith”.  This is done in the private committer() method – modify it to suit the pronunciation of your Subversion usernames, or even to cope with a different source code control system.

By default, the plugin uses the very boring, but universal colours of green meaning good, red meaning bad and yellow meaning warning.  Hence, the rabbit flashes yellow when announcing the start of a build, red if the build fails and green if it succeeds.  You can modify the COLOURS constant in the script to define more colours, and then refer to them in calls to the rabbit() method.  The colours are defined as red/green/blue combinations between 0 and 255.

As I just alluded to, the private rabbit() method does the hard work of putting together a message and a choreography (what Violet calls a sequence of ear movements and LED flashes).  So, this is the method you would modify if you want to change the rabbit’s behaviour.  The Violet documentation (or wherever it is today) isn’t particularly clear, but hopefully is a bit easier to follow with this example.  One thing you could do is to use the voice API parameter to use something other than the default voice.

Finally, as I mentioned earlier, the plugin includes methods for all the hooks I could find in CruiseControl.rb.  You could use any of them to make your rabbit more chatty, or to integrate CruiseControl.rb with other services such as sending emails, writing to logs, etc.

Good luck; have fun.


Including developer notes as part of your cruisecontrol.rb task

So we can stay on top of our TODOs, FIXMEs and CHANGEs, we include the “notes” rake task output as one of the custom build artifacts. As I haven’t found a better way to pipe the output of invoked rake tasks, we redirect stdout into a file.

Add to your cruise.rake file:

orig_stdout = $stdout
$stdout ='log/developer_notes.log', 'w+')
$stdout = orig_stdout

And ensure that all .log files within the log/ directory are copied to the custom build artifacts by adding the following into your cruise_config.rb

Project.configure do |project|
  project.log_publisher.globs = ['log/*.log']