<What is Continuous Integration for DevOps?/>

Getting started with continuous integration requires collaboration between the development and operational teams on practices, priorities, and technologies.

In enterprise software, Continuous Integration (CI) is the practice of code testing and build automation whenever the DevOps team alters to version control. During the CI process, DevOps teams share and merge changes in code and unit tests into a single version control repository after completing each project task.

The idea behind this practice is that it’s easier for DevOps teams to identify any defects or other bugs in smaller code differentials. Additionally, when working on shorter commit cycles and cloud infrastructure, DevOps teams are less likely to waste their time having to edit or re-edit code or require a merge when committing.

Some of the benefits of Continuous Integration include:

• Speeds up the development process, pushing releases closer

• Helps in reducing project backlog

• Decreases code review time, resulting in more homogenous project code

• Helps avoid merge conflicts, duplicated code, or difficult-to-fix bugs

• Encourages continuous feedback for better collaboration

What Do Great CI Tools Have in Common?

There is a wide range of CI tools that are available today, but the best ones do far more than just help automating processes, reduce bugs and errors, lowering defect costs, and refactoring risk.

The following are some features that the best continuous integration tools offer:

• Cloud compatibility – The best continuous integration tools enable the efficient transfer of data to and from the cloud without any hiccups.

• Deployment options – Continuous integration tools ensure hassle-free deployment.

• Integration options – Continuous integration tools are capable of integrating with other tools and services that are used during a project’s life cycle.

• Robust ecosystem – The goal of continuous integration tools is to speed up project release and remove bottlenecks and all unnecessary extra effort out of the development process.

• Better security - Whether it’s open-source or commercial, continuous integration tools do not pose a threat to the security of project data.

How is CI Used?

Continuous integration is a must-have when it comes to working with agile software development workflows. DevOps teams usually compile a list of tasks that are then used as the product roadmap. These various tasks are then delegated accordingly amongst the DevOps team for delivery. With the help of continuous integration, DevOps teams can ensure that their software development tasks are done independently, and more importantly, in parallel to the other assigned developers. When a task is complete, the developer introduces that new work to the continuous integration system so that it can be integrated into the rest of the project.

Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment vs. Continuous Delivery

Continuous integration, deployment, and delivery are considered to be the three important phases in an automated software release pipeline. These three phases cover the complete project lifecycle from software idea to delivery to the end-user. Continuous integration is the first and most important phase as it’s got to do with streamlining the process of multiple DevOps teams attempting to merge their code changes in a master code repository to lower the risk of errors, maximize project efficiency, and reduce turnaround time. The next stage in the process is continuous delivery and has got to do with the packaging of an artifact together before being delivered to the end-user. This phase uses automated building tools to increase the efficiency in generating the artifact. Continuous deployment is the third and final phase in the enterprise software development lifecycle. During this phase, the software artifact is automatically launched and distributed to the end-user. This process is carried out through specific tools or scripts that are used to move the artifact to public servers (or an app store) automatically.

CI Best Practices

It is best to constantly test and improve the test coverage in the CI pipeline. This is to ensure that every feature in the CI pipeline is accompanied by the right set of tests to determine whether or not the new code is working properly and does not contain any bugs. Pull requests are another important component of adopting CI best practices. Many of the recent software development teams already use a code review workflow along with a pull request, which is crucial for effective CI. Pull requests are created whenever the developer is merging a new set of code in the main codebase. It is also used to notify others who are part of the DevOps team of the new set of changes. Pull requests provide the best opportunity to kick off the CI pipeline and run the set of automated approval steps. Having the right set of tools can make all of these processes a breeze.

How to Choose a CI Tool?

Continuous integration is a must-have element of the development process on many projects, especially when building enterprise software. This is the reason why it is important to always choose a continuous integration tool that fits your project and business requirements. Or better still, hire DevOps experts who have experience in taking on complex development projects and using the right CI tools to get the job done.

Ending Note

DevOps teams know that you only move as fast as your testing capabilities. With the right strategy in place, CI packages and tests software builds and sends alerts to DevOps teams if their changes failed any unit tests. In this way, DevOps teams can enjoy a greater level of stability with continuous testing in the delivery process, automated rollback procedures, and environment variables that are separated from the application.

To make sure you’re not left in the lurch, you need to make sure you’ve hired the experts. Hooligan Development is a custom software development house specializing in enterprise-level solutions through managed operational business solutions. Whether it’s implementing autonomous processes or engineering intuitive system architectures, the DevOps experts at Hooligan Development ensure complete, working results. To find out more about their services, you can contact us.

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