Andrew Podner has a new post to his site today introducing you to Phing, a PHP-based build tool (designed after on Apache Ant) that makes automating builds of your applications easy.
One of the things I have been focusing on lately is trying to to a better job of mechanizing and automating the process of building and deploying an application. The reason for this is pretty simple: applications just seem to keep getting more and more complicated and intricate as time goes on. [...] Phing is a “project build system” that helps developers manage repetitive tasks associated with preparation and deployment of applications. Phing uses XML based files to allow you the ability to customize the build process to the individual application.
He walks you through the Phing installation (from PEAR, note that you can install it via Composer now too) and how to set up your first project XML definition. He shows you how to add a "target" or step to the build with the basic example of running your app's PHPUnit tests. He also includes a list of other things Phing can do and work with including CodeSniffer checks, FTP handling, version control interfaces and automated documentation.