The adoption of continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) is on a rise, this growth possibly indicates the way how modern developers approach building great products. In the present context, CI/CD is at the core of DevOps, and both CI and CD constitute two of the most important processes in any DevOps pipeline. In this article, we will provide you with more insights into this notion, their benefits and how these practices are performed.
What is Continuous Integration
Continuous Integration is a development practice that allows you to continuously integrate code into a single shared and easy to access repository.
In a CI practice, developers build, run, and test code on their own workstations before committing code to the version control repository. After changes are made to the repository, a chain of events is put into motion. A typical first step in this chain is to build the latest version of source code. If the build is successful, unit tests are executed. If unit testing succeeds, the build is deployed to test environments where system tests are performed (usually using automated tests). The team is notified about the status of this process, and a report is delivered to provide details, such as build number, defects, and the number of tests.
What is Continuous Delivery?
Continuous delivery (CD) is the ability to deploy your integrated code into production without the need of human intervention. CD allows you to take the code stored in the repository and continuously deliver it to production.
In practice, CD picks up where continuous integration ends. While CI is the process to build and test automatically, CD deploys all code changes in a build to the testing or staging environment. CD makes it possible to release builds to the production environment when needed. Allowing the team to deploy at will, CD effectively reduces time to market.
Before deploying software to production, the CD process includes performing automated system testing, unit testing (including API testing and load testing), and integration testing. The steps from CI to CD are usually completed automatically, including automated testing at the unit, integration, and system levels. As tests can fail at any level and environment, CI/CD must include a feedback channel to quickly report failures to developers.
Benefits of CI/CD
CI/CD creates a fast and effective process of getting your product to market before your competition as well as releasing new features and bug fixes to keep your current customers happy. Below are some of the benefits of implementing CI/CD pipelines to your everyday software development process:
* Reduce cost
* Faster release rate
* Smaller code changes
* Increase team transparency and accountability
* Easy maintenance and updates
CI/CD Workflow Pipeline
A CI/CD pipeline is a path for delivering a unit of change that starts from development to delivery, usually consists of the 4 main phases, namely commit, build, automate tests and deploy.
Phase 1: Commit
When developers complete a change, they commit the change to the repository.
Phase 2: Build
Source code from the repository is integrated into a build.
Phase 3: Automate tests
Automated tests are run against the build. Test automation is an essential element of any CI/CD pipeline.
Phase 4: Deploy
The built version is delivered to production.
Test Automation in a CI/CD pipeline
The benefits of applying CI/CD cannot be realized if there is lack of automated testing. Test automation is a crucial component of any CI/CD pipeline. Teams need to perform automated testing at all levels, including system test, unit testing, and integration test. In addition, teams also need to apply automation testing for multiple testing types such as usability, load, performance, security, functionality, and stress. Learn more
Crucial Software for the CI/CD Pipeline
Many software tools are available to support implementing CI/CD practices. These tools range from repository management such as Github and Bitbucket, Jenkins for build automation, and Selenium and Katalon Studio for test automation.
Katalon Studio provides a comprehensive set of features for API, Web, and mobile testing. It can be easily integrated into a CI/CD pipeline to handle unit (API services), integration, and system testing.
In our modern era of software delivery, CI/CD practices are currently the most widely accepted choice to shorten software development and delivery cycle time. CI/CD can create a fast and effective process of getting your product to market before your competition as well as releasing new features and bug fixes to keep your current customers happy. So now it’s a good time for you to start learning CI/CD if you haven’t done so, it will be a valuable skillset with high demand for the future to come.