Software development teams are increasingly aiming to grasp customers’ demands for faster release cycles and enhanced software quality which has winded up to implementing a CI/CD pipeline as a solution to streamline their process.
A quick and reliable CI/CD pipeline is crucial for the engineering team to deliver bug-free code at high velocity. This article will guide you through the new cutting-edge notion, delve into the concepts of CI/CD, the components of a CI/CD pipeline, its benefits and how it works.
What is CI/CD?
CI/CD, comprises of two related practices — continuous integration and continuous delivery, is the process of building, packaging, deploying applications, thus ultimately, generate value for your business. In other words, it is the practice that allows you to quickly and safely deliver new codes and updates to your users.
Continuous Integration (CI)
Continuous integration is a development practice that helps ensure that software components work together.CI allows you to continuously integrate code into a single shared and easy to access repository. It thereby reduces risks and identifies issues earlier in the software development lifecycle.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
Continuous integration naturally leads to the practice of continuous delivery. Continuous Delivery is an approach in which teams ensure that every change to the system is releasable, allowing them to take the code stored in the repository and continuously delivery it to production. Learn more detailed CI/CD definition
What is a CI/CD pipeline?
In software engineering, the term “pipeline” is commonly known as a workflow that allows developers and DevOps professionals to reliably and efficiently compile, build, and deploy their codes to the production compute platform.
A CI/CD pipeline is the process pathway to deploy the units that are production-ready. It bridges the gap between the development team and operation teams by automating the build, test, and deployment phases of the development process.
The goal of a CI/CD pipeline is to enable a constant flow of software updates, release them into production, shorten the release cycles, lower costs, and reduce the risks associated with manual development.
Importance of a CI/CD pipeline
The CI/CD pipeline is an essential aspect for setting up a streamlined software development project. It helps save a ton of manual, error-prone development work. Applying a CI/CD pipeline helps enable continuous integration, test automation, and simplified code metrics. Below are the key benefits of implementing CI/CD pipelines to your everyday software development process:
- Smaller code changes: One technical advantage of implementing a CI/CD pipeline is that it allows you to integrate small pieces of code one at a time. It helps developers to recognize problems early before too much work is added afterward.
- Faster release rate: Failures are detected faster and as such, can be repaired more quickly, leading to increasing release rates.
- Fault isolation: Designing your system with CI/CD ensures that fault isolations are faster to detect and easier to implement.
- More test reliability: The CI/CD pipeline increases the overall reliability of the test due to the bite-site and specific changes it introduced to the system, allowing for more accurate positive and negative tests to be conducted.
Key elements of a CI/CD pipeline
There is no definitive CI/CD pipeline structure. However, it is usually broken down into the following phases:
In this phase, developers check in the code to the repository, and the continuous integration server detects the changes and starts the build.
During the build phase, tests are run to validate the code’s syntax. In other words, in this phase, the source code is combined to build a runnable component of the product.
In the testing phase, various kinds of testing are performed to ensure an application looks and behaves as expected. The goal of this phase is to give the confidence that the existing app functions isn’t broken with the latest code changes.
Depending on the size and complexity of the project, teams need to perform automated testing for multiple testing types, including unit, integration, system, and UI testing.
If the tests are successful, the deploy phase is triggered. Basically, this is the phase where the built version is delivered to production. The deployment can be either deployed onto production server or the staging server.
Test Automation in a CI/CD pipeline
Automated testing is the key to successful testing in the CI/CD pipeline as it allows new features to be tested, deployed and delivered to your customers much more quickly. Moreover, test automation also helps development, operation, and test teams to work together to create a cohesive release process. The followings are some of the benefits of using test automation in a CI/CD pipeline:
- Accelerate the build and deploy cycle
- Enable fast product iterations
- Improve test coverage
- Reduce the number of errors that can take place in the many repetitive steps of CI and CD.
Adopting CI/CD practices enable teams to adapt their software on-demand to meet user feedback, market shifts, and any adjustments to be an overarching business strategy. In the present context, understanding the CI/CD pipeline is critical to keeping your organization on par with other software companies.Trigger modal