Use the Dell XPS LEDs to Monitor Your Build Status

Nearly two years ago, while I was still working for Microsoft Consulting Services in the field, I posted my article on Automated Continuous Integration and the Ambient Orbâ„¢. It's one of my most popular posts, and I still receive comments and questions about it almost once a week. Since then, I've read about many other creative ways to monitor build status.

Well, two of the guys I worked with years ago, Rob Cecil and Scott Quibell, have taken the build status concept to the next level. They've managed to come up with a way to monitor their builds by manipulating the color LEDs that are included in the Dell XPS laptops. Scott outlines the method and includes some handy source code in Continuous Integration with CC.Net and Dell XPS LED "Ambient" Lights. Their method uses a customized build of CCTray and some LED APIs that were sniffed from Dell's Quickset utility. Scott has included a short video that illustrates how everything works.

If you're not using a system like this, I urge you to give it a try. At least try continuous integration...even if you don't use a clever way to broadcast the build status. For those who are interested in using CI with Team Foundation Server, check out Jeff Atwood's A Kinder, Gentler Continuous Integration service for Team Foundation Server (thanks for the link, Rob). I'd love to hear if someone implements the XPS LED solution with TFS.