What is Continuous Integration?Continuous Integration (CI) denotes multiple developers actively working on adding a variety of new features to the same application. That represents the very essence of continuous integration . Implementing into everyday coding effectively simplifies and speeds up the development process. Here's how it works: when development teams utilize CI, they include any minor changes, and can validate builds super-fast. For modern-day application development, continuous integration drives teams towards automation and an easier way to implement work from different development ecosystems. Application builds are built, packaged and tested with automation and efficiency.
CI Requirements, Benefits, and Cloud Automation ToolsTo reiterate, continuous integration emphasizes testing automation - i.e. checking if application is working properly after new commits are added into the main branch. CI requirements:
- Continuous integration server for running automated test
- Write automated tests for all fixes and changes
- Merge changes as often as possible
- Capture and iron out bugs with automated tests fast
- Cost reduction – the CI server runs hundreds of tests in seconds
- Team is focused on improving quality, rather than endless testing
Automation Through Continuous DeliveryContinuous delivery (CD) is what follows naturally after continuous integration. It's a process that automates the delivery of applications to appropriate infrastructure environments. As we've already mentioned, development teams tend to work in diverse environments. What begins with continuous integration, connects into continuous delivery. So, whenever any changes need to be pushed through code, continuous delivery speeds that process up. As a result, with a mere click of a button, you are automating testing, and the release process too. On that note, your gain is massive. The result is having the ability to push code changes, and releases monthly, weekly or daily - depending on the nature of the application/project/business. For that reason, the sooner you deploy to production, the better. To summarize, continuous delivery is a series of practices, as well as a method of using automated testing to see if business applications are achieving the desired functionality. When all changes are checked through automation, it’s time to opt whether the application should be deployed to production – according to business needs. Every company must at this stage decide whether continuous deployment (i.e. deploying an app into production) is the right move for their business/app. Continuous deployment and continuous delivery are connected processes. When continuous deployment starts any changes made in the production pipeline are released to clients/users. If there's a failed test, changes or fixes won't be deployed to production. In a nutshell, releases are fixed and changed a lot quicker, and the whole process gets faster feedback from clients/users.
Benefits and Key ConsiderationsApart from automation tools within the cloud, there are other things to consider. When developers spin up resources and deploy through code, CI/CD plays its part as a fundamental methodology that yields the following benefits:
- Improved quality: the focus always is to improve quality of business workflow. This particular methodology bridges the gap between developers eager to innovate and push changes often, and operational teams who are focused on applications running smoothly.
- Improved productivity: CI/CD is the vital element that enables effective collaboration on technologies, practices, and project priorities. Thanks to automation and continuous testing during the delivery process, productivity is increased every step of the way.
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