This book will save you from hours of work and from many headaches. Mike Clark’s Pragmatic Project Automation will show you how to automate any aspect of your project that you find repetitive.
Clark starts by describing how to automate a build script using Ant. There are entire books on this subject but Pragmatic Project Automation does a great job of distilling the essentials of what you need to know to get started (and for most projects in total). Once you have an automated build, the next step is having it run automatically. Clark describes how to do this with Cruise Control, a tool that will build a system whenever new code gets checked in.
This book goes well beyond just automated builds, however. We next learn how to automate releases, including generating all necessary distribution files. Next up are how to automate the installation and deployment processes. Finally we learn how to monitor both our build process and our deployed applications. The book even goes so far as to tell us how to monitor the build process with a pair of lava lamps.
I highly recommend this book to anyone working with Java applications of any size.