What is release management?

Release Management refers to management of the release cycle within a software project, which itself is when the software engineers provide a uniquely identified set of files for others to use. The others may be their department at work, their classmates at university, or The World. The set of files (perhaps a single file) constitute the software release. Managing the release means the software release manager knows:

  • What went into it
  • Where it went
  • Why it went there
  • How to deal with it when bugs are reported

Building software is the generic term applied to the compilation or aggregation of sources into a usable utility or application. Sources needn't be compiled (built) in the classic sense, which relies upon a compiler linking files together; modern systems may consist entirely of interpreted source files (such as those for Perl or PHP). Still, putting everything together in a usable format may be considered "building".

The larger and more complex the software project becomes, the greater the need for an extremely well-managed Build and Release function.

Several features are characteristic of the Build and Release process. The most common are use of overnight builds, normalized build numbering, high degrees of automation, scheduling and reuse, use of notification, metadata capture and storage, and implementation of a project portal or viewer.

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