A dashboard can show the results of Nightly and Continuous builds of a software package. This includes warnings and errors from the configure and build process as well as the results of the executed tests belonging to the software package. This is not only displayed for one machine, but ideally for all supported operating systems such results are submitted, also with different configurations, e.g. one for a minimal system with most optional features disabled and one for a full featured system.
For KDE CDash-based dashboards are set up at http://my.cdash.org, a service provided by Kitware. CDash only displays the results, the actual building and testing is done decentral on other machines. When failures occur, like build errors or failed tests, notification emails can be sent by CDash. So by building and testing KDE each day on the supported platforms and collecting the results in a central place, we can make sure that KDE stays compiling and also working on all supported platforms.
You can help too to increase the quality by setting up a Nightly build and submitting the results to http://my.cdash.org.
Currently there are dashboards set up for all modules of KDE, and one for kdesupport. There are not yet dashboards for extragear and koffice. If you are interested in setting dashboards up for these too, just go to http://my.cdash.org and do it, or ask on the kde-buildsystem mailing list if you have any questions.
So, here comes the list of currently existing KDE dashboards:
Setting up a Nightly build and this way contributing to keep KDE working is not hard.
This applies to Linux, FreeBSD and other Unixes. It should also apply to Mac OSX, but this hasn't been tested yet. You can figure out how to set up the Nightly builds yourself, but we have also something prepared to make it really easy. Let's assume you want to contribute a Nightly build for the kdeutils modules. That's how you do it:
CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH=/opt/kde-qt:/opt/phonon:/what/ever/else/you/need ctest -V -S /where/you/checked/out/KDE/KDEUtilsNightly.cmake,KDE_CTEST_BUILD_SUFFIX=gcc-4.2.3
That's it basically. The -V option for ctest makes ctest verbose, so you can see what it's doing. The KDE_CTEST_BUILD_SUFFIX will be appended to the buildname displayed at http://my.cdash.org/index.php?project=kdeutils. Setting it to the used compiler is a sensible choice.
$ crontab -e 00 22 * * * /where/is/my/script/run_kdeutils_nightly.sh
That's it. Probably you first want to run the script manually a few times until everything works, but after that you can just have it executed via cron. The next day you should then see your results on http://my.cdash.org.
If you want to contribute Nightly builds for more than one KDE module, it gets a little bit more complicated. You have to make sure that the modules are built in the right order, and that the modules are installed correctly, if other modules depend on them. For examples see kdesdk/cmake/nightly-support/example-scripts/, e.g. Nightlys-2.6.2 is the shell script I use on my machine to build (and install where necessary) all KDE modules on my Linux machine.
Nobody has done this yet for KDE, but it should be quite similar. If you intend to do this, please contact the kde-buildsystem mailing list, we will do our best to get it working quickly.
If you have any questions regarding Nightly or Continuous builds for KDE or about CDash or CTest in general, please ask on the kde-buildsystem or kde-core-devel KDE mailing lists, or also on the CDash mailing list.