Monitoring software builds with a traffic light

[JD] at isotope11 was looking for a way to get instant feedback whenever a developer broke a piece of software they were working on. After finding a 48 inch tall traffic light, he knew what he had to do. Now, the entire development team knows the status of their code from a traffic light hanging in the corner.

isotope11 runs a¬†continuous¬†integration server to do the quality assurance on their software projects. It’s a lot more flexible than the ‘compile and pray’ setup we’re used to, but then again C isn’t very well suited to test-driven development. When one of [JD]‘s developers breaks a piece of code, the CI server will send a warning to an Arduino where all the electronic magic happens.

To light the traffic light, [JD] used a few relays to drive the 120 volt bulbs in the traffic light. The traffic light is very easy to read – red means something is broken, green means everything is alright, and yellow means a test suite is being run.

Check out the video of [JD]‘s TDD visualization after the break.

21 thoughts on “Monitoring software builds with a traffic light

  1. well, ok, but shirley something a but smaller would have done. maybe a little train that carries messages on its carriages?

    you could have it automatically order them in a shunting yard to construct sentences? i am sure this could work

    1. And then automatically deliver the message to the guy that broke the build!

      Oh overengineering, is there any problem who’s solution you can’t make more awesome?

  2. well… actually in the original design, there was no “Traffic light” there was a “Taser in your seat”, and anytime a developer broke a build – they would be the first to know it. But we soon realized that we would never have anyone deploy any code, so we went with “Traffic light”

  3. Only adults have to invent a reason to play, and justify it by making it look like the result is going to make things more productive. ;)

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