What is Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery Process

The question of what is continuous integration and continuous delivery process rather quickly solves all mystery holding down the understanding code testing and the manufacturing of it. Continuous integration is focused on automatically building and testing code, as compared to continuous delivery, which automates the entire software release process up to production.

Every software change is automatically built, tested, and deployed to production. Before the final push to production, a person, an automated test, or a business rule decides when the final push should occur.

Although every successful software change can be immediately released to production with continuous delivery, not all changes need to be released right away.

Simply put, integration is a software development practice where members of a team use a version control system and frequently integrate their work to the same location, such as a main branch. Each change is built and verified to detect integration errors as quickly as possible.

What is Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery Process

As answer to the question, what is continuous integration and continuous delivery process in the tech and engineering world, we have garnered so many ideas and hints that will help brace up your comprehension of the subject:

Understanding Continuous Integration

The concept is the practice of merging all developers’ working copies to a shared mainline several times a day. Nowadays it is typically implemented in such a way that it triggers an automated build with testing. The term was first proposed CI in 1991 following the method initiated by Grady Booch, although he did not advocate integrating several times a day.

Extreme programming (XP) adopted the concept of CI and did advocate integrating more than once per day – perhaps as many as tens of times per day.

  • The Reason for CI

When embarking on a change, a developer takes a copy of the current code base on which to work. As other developers submit changed code to the source code repository, this copy gradually ceases to reflect the repository code.

Not only can the existing code base change, but new code can be added as well as new libraries, and other resources that create dependencies, and potential conflicts.

The longer development continues on a branch without merging back to the mainline, the greater the risk of multiple integration conflicts and failures when the developer branch is eventually merged back.

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When developers submit code to the repository they must first update their code to reflect the changes in the repository since they took their copy. The more changes the repository contains, the more work developers must do before submitting their own changes.

Eventually, the repository may become so different from the developers’ baselines that they enter what is sometimes referred to as “merge hell”, or “integration hell”, where the time it takes to integrate exceeds the time it took to make their original changes.

  • Functions of CI

Run Tests Locally

CI should be used in combination with automated unit tests written through the practices of test-driven development. All unit tests in the developer’s local environment should be run and passed before committing to the mainline.

This helps prevent one developer’s work-in-progress from breaking another developer’s copy. Where necessary, incomplete features can be disabled before committing, using feature toggles, for instance.

Compile the Mainline Periodically; Run Tests of the Mainline and/or Use Continuous Quality Control

A build server compiles the code periodically. The build server may automatically run tests and/or implement other continuous quality control processes.

Such processes aim to improve software quality and delivery time by periodically running additional static analyses, measuring performance, extracting documentation from the source code, and facilitating manual QA processes.

Use CI as Part of Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment

CI is often intertwined with continuous delivery or continuous deployment in what is called a CI/CD pipeline. “Continuous delivery” ensures the software checked in on the mainline is always in a state that can be deployed to users, while “continuous deployment” fully automates the deployment process.

How to Achieve Continuous Integration

  • Maintain a Code Repository
  • Automate the Build
  • Make the Build Self-testing
  • Everyone Commits to the Baseline Every Day
  • Every Commit (to baseline) Should be Built
  • Every Bug-fix Commit Should Come with a Test Case
  • Keep the Build Fast
  • Test in a Clone of the Production Environment
  • Make it Easy to Get the Latest Deliverables
  • Everyone can See the Results of the Latest Build
  • Automate Deployment

Meaning of Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery is a software engineering approach in which teams produce software in short cycles, ensuring that the software can be reliably released at any time and, following a pipeline through a “production-like environment”, without doing so manually.

It aims at building, testing, and releasing software with greater speed and frequency. The approach helps reduce the cost, time, and risk of delivering changes by allowing for more incremental updates to applications in production. A straightforward and repeatable deployment process is important for continuous delivery.

While continuous delivery is an approach to automate the delivery aspect, and focuses on bringing together different processes and executing them more quickly and more frequently, DevOps can be a product of continuous delivery, and CD flows directly into DevOps.

  • Benefits of the CD

Accelerated Time to Market: Continuous delivery lets an organization deliver the business value inherent in new software releases to customers more quickly. This capability helps the company stay a step ahead of the competition.

Building the Right Product: Frequent releases let the application development teams obtain user feedback more quickly. This lets them work on only the useful features. If they find that a feature isn’t useful, they spend no further effort on it. This helps them build the right product.

Improved Productivity and Efficiency: Significant time savings for developers, testers, operations engineers, etc. through automation.

Reliable Releases: The risks associated with a release have significantly decreased, and the release process has become more reliable. With continuous delivery, the deployment process and scripts are tested repeatedly before deployment to production.

So, most errors in the deployment process and scripts have already been discovered. With more frequent releases, the number of code changes in each release decreases. This makes finding and fixing any problems that do occur easier, reducing the time in which they have an impact.

Improved Product Quality: The number of open bugs and production incidents has decreased significantly.

Improved Customer Satisfaction: A higher level of customer satisfaction is achieved.

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