One way to run a dashboard on Windows

A more nicely formatted version of this blog post is mirrored on blogspot at -the blogspot link is also better if you are viewing this from a phone.

These instructions assume installations of:

  • git bash shell (MSYS git)
  • svn command line tools (CollabNet command line client)
  • CMake (2.8.9 used to test these instructions)
  • Visual Studio 9 2008

Execute the following sequence of commands in a git bash shell, either in your HOME directory, or at the root of one of your drives.

mkdir Dashboards
cd Dashboards
git clone git://
cd EasyDashboardScripts
ctest -S EasyDashboard.cmake,--setup

After running the –setup, you’ll see output directing your next steps, something like this:

ElapsedTime='0' delta='0' context='EasyDashboardVariables-TopOfScript'
ElapsedTime='0' delta='0' context='EasyDashboardVariables-BottomOfScript'
ElapsedTime='0' delta='0' context='EasyDashboard-TopOfScript'
Configuring 'D:/Dashboards/Support/EasyDashboardDefaults.cmake'...
Configuring 'D:/Dashboards/Support/EasyDashboardOverrides.cmake'...
Checking for 'D:/Dashboards/My Tests' directory...
Next steps:
Edit the defaults and overrides files listed above to
customize EasyDashboardScripts for this site. At a minimum,
please set ED_contact and verify that the ED_site value is
acceptable in EasyDashboardDefaults.cmake.
  Open the file 'D:/Dashboards/EasyDashboardScripts/EasyDashboardScripts.htm'
for detailed help.
ElapsedTime='1' delta='1' context='EasyDashboard-BottomOfScript'

Edit the defaults and overrides files to make the recommended “personalization” changes and then you’re ready to try submitting your first dashboard.

To get started with a project that already builds using cmake, and runs its test suite via ctest, you can just checkout a source tree and run the script EasyDashboard.cmake. Here’s a simple sequence of commands to run Debug and Release dashboards of teem:

(Assuming you’re starting in EasyDashboardScripts and “My Tests” is a sibling directory. In the git bash shell, you use “/” as directory separators. In the Windows cmd prompt, you use “\” instead…)

cd "../My Tests"
mkdir Nightly
cd Nightly
svn co Teem
cd Teem
ctest -S ../../../EasyDashboardScripts/EasyDashboard.cmake,vs9-Release-TargetInstall
ctest -S ../../../EasyDashboardScripts/EasyDashboard.cmake,vs9-Debug-TargetInstall

This will run two Experimental dashboard submissions, one for a Release build and one for a Debug build that both use Visual Studio 9, and both result in a fully tested build tree, and a sibling-to-the-build directory install tree.

You can add “-Nightly” to the script arguments to switch from an Experimental to a Nightly build.

To use Visual Studio 8 or 10 rather than 9, just change the “-vs9” to either “-vs8” or “-vs10”.

Once you’ve proven that this works, you can write a batch file that can then be scheduled to execute every night after the Nightly start time for your project. One for the teem project could look like this:

@rem -------------------------------------------------------------------------
@rem Teem scripts:
pushd "D:\Dashboards\My Tests\Nightly\Teem"
set DD_CTEST=D:\Dashboards\Support\CMake-2.8.9\bin\ctest.exe
set DD_LOGS=D:\Dashboards\Logs
set DD_PROJ=Teem
set DD_SCRIPT=D:\Dashboards\EasyDashboardScripts\EasyDashboard.cmake
set DD_ARGS=vs9-Release-Nightly-TargetInstall
"%DD_CTEST%" -S "%DD_SCRIPT%,%DD_ARGS%" >"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.out.log" 2>"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.err.log"
set DD_ARGS=vs9-Debug-Nightly-TargetInstall
"%DD_CTEST%" -S "%DD_SCRIPT%,%DD_ARGS%" >"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.out.log" 2>"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.err.log"
set DD_ARGS=vs8-Release-Nightly-TargetInstall
"%DD_CTEST%" -S "%DD_SCRIPT%,%DD_ARGS%" >"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.out.log" 2>"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.err.log"
set DD_ARGS=vs8-Debug-Nightly-TargetInstall
"%DD_CTEST%" -S "%DD_SCRIPT%,%DD_ARGS%" >"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.out.log" 2>"%DD_LOGS%\%DD_PROJ%,%DD_ARGS%.err.log"

In fact, this script is what is running at Kitware right now on the dash22.kitware Windows dashboard machine.

After you have a batch file running the set of dashboards you want reliably (you should be able to double-click the batch file in Windows Explorer and have them all run and submit properly), then you can add running the batch file as a Scheduled Task so that it happens automatically once each night. Google around for setting up a “Scheduled Task” for whatever version of Windows you’re running. The UI for adding tasks has changed a few times from version to version of Windows. Or, if you need instructions specifically for XP, Vista or 7, I can probably write something up for that, too.

Let me know if you need more advice. I think this should be sufficient information to get you started setting up your own Windows dashboards.

Of course, EasyDashboard also works on Mac and Linux.

One Response to One way to run a dashboard on Windows

  1. Amitha Perera says:


Questions or comments are always welcome!