Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, key mechanisms in software success

March 3, 2022 - Read 5min

There is a set of practices that automates and continuously monitors each stage of the application development lifecycle, known as Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (or CI / CD). This set of practices is supported by development and operations teams working together in an agile manner, commonly applying a DevOps approach.

Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery was born aligned with the objective of today's application design: that developers can work simultaneously on different functions of the same application. As you well know, if a project merges all the diversified source code or tries to integrate different modules without having a clear process to do so, the processes can become tedious, slow and exhausting. For example, if a developer working for the team in isolation implements a change in an application, there is a high possibility that this change will conflict with modifications that other developers implemented simultaneously. This represents a commonly untraceable and potentially fatal flaw in development. The problem can be further exacerbated if each developer on the team works in their own local integrated development environment (IDE) and common cloud environments are not available.

In this scenario, the Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery set of practices represents one of the best decisions development teams can make. It is also an agile methodology best practice, as it allows software development teams to focus on meeting business requirements, code quality and security, all this thanks to automation in the deployment phases. Today we are going to analyze this set of practices in detail so that you can internalize the features, benefits and potential it represents. Applying these principles and methodologies to your application development processes will prove very beneficial to your business projects and keep quality standards at the highest level.

What is Continuous Integration?

Continuous integration (CI) is a coding culture and set of best practices that drive development teams to implement small changes on an ongoing basis and to register code in repositories open to the team where different versions of the application are version controlled. As most cutting-edge software requires code built on different platforms and tools, modern teams need this mechanism to integrate and validate particular changes together.

Continuous Integration (CI) allows developers to incorporate code changes into a shared repository, which is populated with updates periodically or even on a daily basis. Once a developer's changes are incorporated, they are validated by automatic compilation within the application and by running various automated tests to ensure that the changes are aligned to the overall project code and do not represent a failure for the project. By using Continuous Integration, we are monitoring the total of the environments that influence the development, from classes and general operation to the operation of the different modules that together give the functionality to the application in general. In case an automatic test detects a conflict between the new code and the current code, Continuous Integration is the lifeline that detects and facilitates the resolution of these errors quickly.

What is Continuous Delivery?

When the automation of builds and Continuous Integration unit and integration testing is complete, Continuous Delivery enters the equation and is responsible for automating the movement of validated code into the repository. As you can see, this means that the effectiveness of Continuous Delivery is directly dependent on Continuous Integration being built into the development process beforehand. The goal of Continuous Delivery (CD) is to have a tested code base that can be deployed to the production environment at any time and stage of development. Each stage of this process, from the input of changes to the code to the distribution of builds in the repository ready for production, requires test automation and code release. At the end of this process, the project team has everything ready to send the application to production and has the guarantee that its implementation will be simple and fast.

The Continuous Delivery (CD) process requires a code base that can be deployed at any time to function properly. By employing Continuous Delivery, releases of new changes occur frequently and routinely without affecting the development teams, who in their daily tasks and routines of working on the project can have the confidence of sending a quality release to production at any time and without the need to follow extra steps that delay delivery times.

Continuous Delivery allows developers to automate UI testing, load testing, integration testing, API reliability testing, and so on. This mechanism thus allows updates to be validated more thoroughly and problems to be discovered in advance. Being cloud-based, these tests are simple and cost-effective to automate, something that in the past was complex and costly to perform in physical environments and with limited resources.

Benefits of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

Continuous Integration

  1. Improved Code Quality

Continuous integration is directly responsible for minimizing system failures due to code errors. Its proper use results in more robust code, which ensures software quality.

  1. Easy and fast error detection

By integrating continuously and periodically, it is much easier to detect errors and prevent them from becoming a massive failure because they are resolved when they represent less risk. Continuous integration works as an agile security barrier.

  1. Reduction of repetitive and/or manual tasks

Manual and repetitive processes run counter to software development at the forefront of today's standards. In addition, using them increases the possibility of making more errors. By reducing them, the project benefits greatly in terms of security and confidence in the product.

  1. Creating test versions on demand

When code is constantly being integrated, it is possible to release software at any stage of development, in case it is required to go back or review previous versions. This good practice adds even more security to the team.

  1. It increases the macro visibility of the project

By employing CD, you have concrete information of the project progress as detailed metrics of the code quality. This allows making better decisions when making changes or modifications in real time and monitoring the performance of each of the versions according to adjustments.

  1. All in all, greater security for the work team

Continuous integration ensures tested and functional software at any time, which ultimately generates a calm work environment in which developers can be more productive as software advances are tested, automated and guaranteed. The days of waiting until the end of the project to verify the correct functionality of the software are long gone.

Continuous delivery

  1. Automating the software release process

Continuous delivery allows the team to automatically create, test and prepare code changes for submission to production, improving the efficiency and speed of software delivery.

  1. Improved development productivity

These practices increase team productivity by freeing developers from manual tasks and encouraging behaviors that help reduce bugs and errors sent to customers.

  1. Timely bug fixes

With more frequent and detailed testing, your team can find and fix bugs before they become more serious problems. Continuous delivery makes it easier to perform other types of code testing because the entire process is automated.

  1. More agile delivery of updates

Continuous delivery allows your team to deliver updates to customers faster and more frequently. When you implement continuous delivery correctly, you get a reproducible product that has gone through a standardized testing process.

DreamCode Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery Processes

DreamCode is a company committed to high quality standards in software development. Our clients have discovered in each of the projects we have worked hand in hand how security, innovation and monitored processes nurture our team of expert developers to achieve outstanding, tested and efficient applications.

For more than 8 years we have been applying the Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) mechanisms in each of the solutions we work on for our clients. This, together with the integration of agile methodologies and best practices of the technology sector make us a trusted ally when it comes to address any challenge. Learn more about our process or schedule an appointment with our consultants here.