Continuous delivery and integration (CI and CD, respectively) embody a culture, principles, and practices that enable application developers to deliver code changes more frequently and reliably.
What is CI/CD?
When people speak about modern development practices, CI and CD are two acronyms that are frequently listed. CI is easy and stands for ongoing integration, concentrating on making it easier to schedule a release. But either continuous delivery or ongoing deployment can mean CD. Although there is a lot in common between these two practices, they also have a major difference that can have vital implications.
When should I consider CI / CD?
More and more organizations benefit from adopting continuous integration and continuous delivery, known as CI / CD, as a key element in bringing agility, speed, and higher quality to the software that transforms companies.
To develop apps quicker, more often, and with fewer errors, we follow CI / CD.
Some of the main advantages of adopting CI / CD practices include the following:
- Deliver or release code immediately, without waiting to accumulate many functionalities, tickets, or independent developments.
- Less effort and more confidence when deploying code to production.
- Teamwork and communication between software developers are facilitated.
- The code that is being created has greater visibility.
- Errors can be identified before publishing the code.
In some cases, older members of the work team may resist the adoption of CI / CD in the workflow since the need to reorganize some roles, use new tools and expose technical weaknesses that lead to change perceived as a threat.
For this reason, it is essential to define from the beginning of the project how the CI / CD methodology can benefit the team, being clear about what the actions, responsibilities, and functions of each of the team members will be.
The team has full control of the development and production process, checking and implementing improvements through the CI / CD approach to ensure that it works correctly.
How much effort does it take to deploy code?
The effort required to integrate and deploy code highlights the maturity of the technical processes of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI / CD).
In our consulting work, we find habits that arise from the limitations of the existing processes. Doing a single code integration at the end of the development process, accumulating code to deploy every week or every fortnight, or in general, a high failure rate in deployments are an important indicator of an opportunity for improvement.
Continuous Integration ( CI) is a practice that improves the efficacy and efficiency of the software development team’s outcomes. It involves combining, periodically, and in a central repository, the changes made to the code of a project, and then running tests, detecting and repairing errors as soon as possible.
This methodology allows you to improve the quality of the code, deliver advances to the client more frequently, and work agilely with new development team participants, even if they do not know the complete project in depth.
“Detecting code problems is much easier with CI, preventing these errors from reaching customers.”
Many organizations that seek to implement these methodologies fail because they do not have people within the team with the necessary knowledge to design the appropriate CI / CD solution.
Implementing this process is difficult if you do not have a guide that contains the appropriate information. Reading on the subject can help a lot; however, it is much better and more efficient to seek advice from an expert on the subject.
One of the most frequent errors in implementing these methodologies is the trial period’s correct automation. One of the most common questions that arise is: “How can I integrate automated tests into my CI / CD solution?” Automating code testing is complex. It requires having adequate tools for the team and the type of project, automating repetitive tasks, reviewing, planning, and reevaluating each methodology step.
Continuous Integration CI
With continuous integration, developers also incorporate their code into a common repository’s main branch. Instead of designing and implementing parts of the code in isolation at the end of the development cycle, a developer will improve a section of the repository several times a day.
The idea here is to reduce the cost of integration by making developers incorporate integrations more rapidly and regularly. In practice, at the time of integration, a developer will always discover conflicts between new and existing code. The hope is that dispute resolution would be faster and less costly if done early and frequently.
Continuous Delivery CD
In reality, Continuous Delivery is a Continuous Integration extension in which the software delivery process is automated to facilitate rapid and reliable implementation at any time in development.
A well-integrated Continuous Delivery (CD) system requires a codebase that can be deployed at any time. New modification launches occur regularly and consistently with Continuous Delivery. Without complex implementation and without following manual measures conducted by an expert, teams proceed with day-to-day development activities with the assurance that they can submit a quality release to production, whenever they want.
Continuous delivery is seen as attractive primarily because it automates all steps from integrating the code into the base repository to releasing fully tested and functionally appropriate changes.
The process consists of complex automation of the compilation processes (if necessary), testing, updating production servers, and tuning code used in new machines. At all times, the business’s autonomy to decide what modifications are published and when they should be made is maintained.
This is a more advanced form of Continuous Delivery to the extent that deployments to production do not go through human validation but are fully automated.
The only way to stop new product development is through a test that fails and identifies the bugs. Implementation is a way to speed up feedback, making teamwork more efficient.
Thanks to this type of deployment, developers can see their work in production shortly after doing it, but it requires the greatest effort in good practices and automated processes.
What are the benefits of each practice?
Each of the practices described requires certain conditions while offering benefits in its adoption. We expose these below:
Requirements for Continuous Integration
- The team should create automated tests to detect inconsistencies in new developments.
- You will need a continuous integration server that allows automatic monitoring and execution of tests for each new commit that is achieved.
- Developers must merge changes quickly and continuously, at least once a day.
Continuous Integration Benefits
- There are not so many errors, and these are prevented from being sent to production. Automated tests catch regressions very quickly.
- Developing versions is easier. Problems that occur in integration are solved much faster.
- Testing is no longer a great cost to equipment, as the IC allows many tests to be done in seconds.
- The quality control is much better.
- Solid base of Continuous Integration. Your sandbox should cover a large amount of code base.
- The implementations that are required must be automated. Although it is activated manually, once it starts, it does not need a human presence.
- Greater speed and less complexity in the development process.
- The better the quality of the evidence, the better the quality of each release.
- The documentation process must be kept up to date, coordinating communication with other departments such as “support” or “marketing.”
- Everything is activated automatically for each change.
- Each new version has fewer risks because as changes occur, problems that arise are identified and solved more easily.
- The flow is continuous and of high quality.
What do I need to adopt CI / CD?
Implementing the CI / CD process could be a difficult and sometimes even daunting project. More than a technological project, it is about organizational change. Many tools facilitate the performance of the process, and there are even online accessories that can be purchased.
If your organization is interested in implementing modern DevOps practices to deliver faster software with CI / CD processes from experts, we invite you to contact us.
Tools are the magic wand that allows a good CI / CD pipeline to be streamlined and applications to be delivered more quickly.
- Open-Source Software or Proprietary: Depending on the budget and the specifications of the client, businesses can opt for open-source tools such as Jenkins to automate the CI / CD process.
- To self-host the CI / CD applications, tools such as Jenkins and Cruise Control help set up, configure, and effectively monitor the program. Cloud or Self-Hosting Services: Otherwise, you can get cloud services for SaaS providers to host.
- Create Status: Choose a tool that, through timely alerts, through email, or other means of communication, supports the openness and visibility of the entire process.
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