Building Git repositories containing sub modules with Continua CI

Today I wanted to add a repository to the build server that contains submodules. The submodules are required because I prefer to share code via shared projects so they will always be compiled for the right platform as you can read here.

When you add a repository to a project or configuration in Continua CI, you can add authentication. However, the sub modules won’t use the same authentication which means that the submodule can never be retrieved. To solve this issue, use the steps below.

Create separate build server account (optional)

I prefer to create a read-only account for build servers so it can never screw anything up. For private projects I use Bitbucket so I created a new buildserver account and added it to the team with read-only access.

Create _netrc file on the server

The _netrc file can be used to provide default credentials to a server when they aren’t provided on the actual repository. I prefer to keep everything together so I followed the following steps:

  1. Create directory C:\Continua\Auth
  2. Create a %HOME% system variable pointing to this path (I prefer using a shared path for %HOME% so it is accessible to all users)
  3. Create the _netrc file (note that there is no extension) with the following content:

machine [host]
login [buildserveraccount]
password [password]

for example:

login mybuildserveraccount
password mypassword

Now Continua CI will be able to pull the submodules as well.

Introducing ContinuaInit – initialize your build server variables

I am using Continua CI as a continuous integration server. One of the things I always do is to try and mainsteam all the configurations so I know what is happening for each product. However, I always found myself doing a lot of if/else to determine the state of a build:


The advantage of these variables is that I can implement logic inside a configuration based on whether the build is a CI build and whether it is an official build. My goal was to replace this whole tree by a single call to an executable that contains rules to determine variables and init them all.

The result is ContinuaInit. You can replace the whole tree by the Execute Program action and call ContinuaInit.exe. That will result in a much cleaner initialization:


What initialization is supported?

For now, it supports the following rules:


If the branch is master, the PublishType will be set to Official. Otherwise the PublishType will be set to Nightly.


true if the branch master, otherwise false


true if the branch does not equal master, otherwise false


Will be set to the version provided by the command line. Then it will apply one of the following values:

nightly => when nightly build

ci => when CI build

How can you get it?

ContinuaInit is available on both NuGet and Chocolatey.