It would not be an overstatement to say that continuous integration is one of the major concepts behind DevOps culture. Together with continuous delivery and continuous deployment it forms a complex approach to the development cycle, which is called CI/CD practice. What is CI/CD and what benefits does its implementation bring?
The concept of CI/CD is based on a deep-rooted culture of continuous integration. Its main point is in constant code delivery into the central repository each time the code has been proved valid by successful build and automated tests. Due to frequent merges into the mainline, continuous integration eliminates the stress of release day when code was integrated and ran on a testing machine for the first time. It also enables quick bug tracing and fixing, as erroneous code is much easier detected when delivered in small batches. Thus less bugs are shipped to production.
Continuous delivery is about bringing new features to customers in small batches on a regular basis. These could be daily, weekly or fortnightly cycles adjusted to the development process. With customer’s feedback at hand it allows for quick functionality changes according to business needs. As a next step of continuous integration, continuous delivery requires automated tests to cover a large extent of the existing codebase. Deploying to the staging environment is done automatically as well as rolling back.
The process of continuous deployment goes one step further. It has all new features that have passed testing rolled in production and released to customers automatically. While in Continuous delivery deploy to production is triggered manually. Incomplete functionality is hidden with feature toggling so as not to affect customers in production.
For sure, the implementation of CI/CD is not a one day task and will require starting input such as developing a suite of automated tests, acquiring a dedicated server to run them, etc. However, the benefits that it holds are certain: velocity of releasing new changes, automation of routine tasks in order to free up precious human time, sustainability due to early bugs capture, etc.
At SHALB, we help our customers leverage the advantages of CI/CD by building pipelines and setting up the continuous delivery framework with a variety of tools, including Jenkins, CircleCI, Rundeck, TeamCity, etc. Start CI/CD today to future-proof your development process with higher productivity and overall product quality improvement!