The market and customer demand are changing exponentially. Nowadays a competitive environment dictates the pace that your products and improvements should be developed in. The obvious way to propel yourself to the front of the pack is by optimizing the development processes inside your team which can be easily accomplished by implementing a CI/CD pipeline.
CI/CD is an abbreviation of terms of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery or Deployment (CD). СI/CD stands for a specific set of development practices that allows development teams to deliver changes in code more frequently and accurately.
The reason for the widespread adoption of CI/CD in the development processes is that it simplifies the processes of preparing and delivering the application by automatizing some tasks.
In this blog post, we want to bring awareness as to what CI/CD requirements have to be implemented into the workflow, what benefits you can gain from this implementation and what Continuous Integration, Delivery, and Deployment on practice actually mean.
A CI/CD pipeline is a chain of development stages that are integrated with automation tools and improved workflow. The implementation of CI/CD process allows development teams to minimize manual errors and enhance feedback loops throughout the software development life cycle.
There are various tools and practices within CI/CD methodology that are chosen individually depending on the business needs of a project, but the whole process is represented by universal principles of work.
The implications of this practice are that developers can merge new code changes to existing code repositories immediately instead of waiting for the release date. After the new code was merged, it's validated by automated tests. Such an algorithm of work allows the team to focus on the Quality Assurance of the application.
The second part of the CI/CD pipeline is Continuous Delivery. It implies the possibility of releasing every code change quickly and sustainably. In simple words - if CI is responsible for the optimization of testing, the CD is responsible for release process automation, so an application can be deployed at any given time when a new change is ready. The possibilities of Continuous Delivery practice allows you to schedule the releases in the way that the project requires. In our CI/CD practices releases are made as soon as possible. This, in conjunction with the Continuous Integration creates the greatest value in the development process.
As it symbolically goes CI/CD, Continuous Deployment is sometimes used as a variation of Continuous Delivery, but they are not the same. Implementation of Continuous Deployment goes further than continuous delivery. It allows for the deployment of changes to production automatically wherein the end-user plays the role of an actual tester so the release sped up. These procedures don't require human actions, and make deployments of changes after they have passed automated tests.
Now as we know the purpose of every component of CI/CD will be easier to define based on their place in software development life cycle. Continuous Integration is a part of both Continuous Deployment and Delivery. Сontinuous Deployment, in turn, is the preliminary stage of delivery where all releases happen automatically.
CI/CD can assist development teams in producing the qualitative results of their work faster. What is needed for its exact implementation is further defined below:
Continuous Integration requires a team to prepare automated tests for each new improvement, bug fix or feature. To implement the CI methodology into the development process your team needs to use a continuous integration server that monitors the code repository and runs tests automatically.
Continuous Delivery requires well-coordinated Continuous Integration as well as codebase that is fully covered by automated testing. Although the trigger may be manual, deployment processes need to be automated.
Continuous Deployment requires high-quality automated testing and synchronized communication between the development department and other departments of the project. So you can reach a level of team work that allows you to capture feedback from end-users quickly and react to them with qualitative changes in the application.
You can find various CI/CD tools that are popular these days. Based on extensive experience of CI/CD utilization, our development team has collected its own top-list of CI/CD tools, they include:
AWS CodeBuild is commonly utilized as a Continuous Integration server. This tool compiles source code, runs tests, and produces software packages that are ready for deployment.
Its an open source free tool that allows to integrate numerous processes of software development life cycle in one place, including build, document, test, package, stage, deploy, static analysis and much more. Jenkins is well-extensible with the huge ecosystem of more than 100 plugins and integration.
Gitlab CI is an easy-to-use and scalable part of Gitlab that allows development teams to perform their tasks faster by setting up their own runners that are applications that process the builds, with all dependencies which are pre-installed.
Being the important instrument of the CI/CD process, Docker makes the creation and deployment of applications much easier by utilizing packages, called containers that are isolated one from another. In the context of CI/CD use, Dockers allow developers to easily pack, ship, and run any application as a lightweight, portable, self-sufficient container, which can virtually run anywhere.
This tool allows for the automation of software development workflows directly into the code repository and collaborate on pull requests and issues. GitHub Actions enabled our development teams to write individual tasks, called actions, and combine them to create a custom automated workflows where CI and CD capabilities can be also created.
CI/CD practices may significantly improve the development capabilities of your project and bring tangible results to your business. The correct approach to get an entire scope of CI/CD benefits is to trust the professionals to do it for you.
If you are looking for a software development team to develop a solution for your business, let us become your reliable offshore technology partner. Axon has years of experience in custom software development for both public and private entities from various business domains by utilizing technologies and approaches that are time-tested.
In our next blog post related to the creating custom software, we are going to tell you about choosing the right architecture and technology stack on web development project. Stay tuned!