Software development teams are increasingly aiming to grasp customers’ demands for faster release cycles and enhanced software quality. This 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 delve into the concepts of CI/CD, each components in the pipeline, its benefits and how it works.
What is CI/CD?
CI/CD, comprises two related practices — continuous integration and continuous delivery. In simple words, it is the process of building, packaging, deploying applications, thus ultimately generating value for your business. Most organizations apply the practice 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. It allows you to continuously integrate code into a single shared and easy to access repository. Thereby it prevents issues from reducing and identifying earlier in the software development life cycle.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
Continuous integration naturally leads to the practice of continuous delivery. To clarify, CD is an approach in which teams ensure that every change to the system is releasable. Subsequently, the code stored in the repository is delivered continuously to the production environment. 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 platform.
A CI/CD pipeline is the process pathway to deploy the units that are production-ready. It bridges the gap between the developers and operation teams by automating the build, test, and deployment phases. The desired outcome is to enable a constant flow of software updates, release them into production and shorten the release cycles. And not surprisingly, the pipeline was specifically geared towards reducing cost as well as 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. Furthermore, 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: When detecting failures faster and as such, they can be repaired more quickly, leading to increasing release rates.
- Fault isolation: Designing your system with CI/CD ensures faster fault isolations to detect and implement.
- More test reliability: The CI/CD pipeline increases the overall test reliability due to the bite-site and specific changes within the system. This allows more accurate conducted positive and negative tests.
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:
Firstly, in this phase, developers check in the code to the repository, and the continuous integration server detects the changes and starts the build.
Secondly, the build phase runs tests to validate the code’s syntax. In other words, this phase combines the source code to build a runnable component of the product.
Thirdly, the testing phase performs various kinds of testing to ensure an application looks and behaves as expected. The desired goal is to give the confidence that the existing app functionality works as expected 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.
Lastly, successful tests will trigger the deploy phase. Basically, this is the phase delivering the built version to either into production server or the staging server.
Refer a list of the most commonly asked questions about CI/CD.
Test Automation in a CI/CD pipeline
Above all, automated testing is the key to successful testing in the CI/CD pipeline due to much quicker new feature deployment and delivery to customers. 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.
To sum up, adopting CI/CD practices enables 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