This article revolves around very important topic of DevOps-Continuous integration.This topic is covered with benefits,its working and real-life example.
Continuous Integration (CI) is a new age software development practice where code changes are frequently integrate into a shared code repository, and code is automatically build and tests are run to detect issues.We will cover this topic in detail with real-life working example and its benefits.
Table of contents
- What is continuous integration in DevOps?
- Why is Continuous Integration Needed?
- How does Continuous Integration Work?
- Continuous Integration Benefits
- DevOps real-life example
What is continuous integration in DevOps?
Continuous integration is a DevOps software development practice in which developers regularly merge code changes into a central repository, followed by automated builds and tests. This means different developers are working on the same project at different locations. Your code is stored in the repository and can commit the code, which means saving the code. In a typical CI workflow, developers regularly check code changes to a shared code repository. Whenever a code change is detected, an automated build process is triggered, which compiles the new code, runs automated tests to check for bugs, and reports the results. If any issues are identified, developers are alerted immediately to quickly fix the problem and merge the code changes into the main branch.
The main goals of continuous integration are to find and fix bugs faster, improve software quality, and reduce the time it takes to validate and release new software updates. By integrating code changes frequently, developers can detect and fix issues more quickly and reduce the likelihood of creating conflicts that can be difficult to resolve.
Note: Software Jenkins is the most popular tool used for continuous integration.
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Why is Continuous Integration Needed?
The entire CI process is automated, minimizing human error by reducing time-consuming and error-prone manual merges. Any number of people can check in code multiple times a day without waiting for others to finish coding, waiting for check-ins to complete, or checking in later. So CI eliminates dependencies or waits for other users to check-in.
The entire compile, build, and test process runs in seconds, making it faster and saving you a lot of time, helping you achieve your DevOps goals of delivering faster over hours.
The entire build and test process takes seconds to minutes, so feedback on each person’s code comes quickly. You don’t have to hunt around to find out whose code broke your build or caused bugs like other checks. -in provides success or failure output indicating the scope of failure in case of errors.
Now the question comes of when should continuous integration be used.
- When we need to do automatic testing to catch the errors and bugs early in the development cycle. And only a little reliance on manual tests is there.
- Large, complex projects can be difficult to manage, with many different components and dependencies. Else will invest most of the time in managing different components and dependencies.
- While using Agile methodology, CI is very helpful as it allows quick and easy code integration in the main codebase(repository).
- Projects that require frequent code changes or updates.
- Projects that need to be deployed rapidly and regularly.
- Different devlopers working on the same application.
How does Continuous Integration Work?
- In the starting, continuous development is done, which includes planning and implementation of code. After doing this, the code is built and tested automatically. While building the code, compilation, validation, and unit testing is done. We have different tools for building the code, like Maven apache and Gradle.
- After doing this, the code is integrated. Integration means joining or mixing something. So in this phase, different developers write code independently for the same application and merge their code in a common repository. That common repository could be Git, Git lab, etc.
- An automated build process is triggered when code changes are committed to the repository. As you know this whole process is automated so after this automated testing is done.
- If any issues are identified during the build process, or the build fails, developers are notified immediately. So the issue can be fixed at an early stage.
- If the build is successful, then user acceptance testing is done. So, every developer is working on the latest code version.
- The new code changes are then automatically deployed to a test environment where further testing can be conducted.
- Once the changes have been tested and approved, they can be deployed to a production environment.
- After deploying the model, continuous monitoring is done to see if the software is working properly.
Continuous Integration Benefits
- Faster feedback: The code is integrated into a common depository from where it is tested continuously and provides feedback to the developers. This feedback loop helps catch issues earlier in the development process, making fixing problems easier and less costly to fix problems.
- Early detection of issues: As this process is automated, it is also fast. So it is fast also, which in terms helps us to detect the problems in the early stage, which can help to reduce the overall risk of the project. This can save time and money in the long run by avoiding costly rework or delays.
- Improved software quality: With frequent code integration and testing and early detection, CI helps to improve the overall quality of the software. Detecting issues at the early stage reduces the probability of the occurrence of new conflicts or bugs.
- Reduced development time: By automating the build, test, and integration processes, CI helps to reduce the time it takes to release new features or bug fixes. This means that developers can get new features or fixes to customers faster, which can improve customer satisfaction and increase revenue.
- Better collaboration: With the use of CI, different developers can work on the same software simultaneously, making it easy for them to store their code and check other developers’ code. This allows for faster integration of changes and helps to ensure that everyone is working on the latest version of the code.
Continuous integration is a prerequisite for continuous delivery’s test, deploy, and release phases. A continuous integration service automatically builds and debugs code changes, so your entire development team can know if you’ve created broken code within minutes of check-in.
DevOps real-life example
Scenario: A software development team at a technology company is developing a new web application that allows users to upload, download, edit, and share photos. The team uses agile development methodologies and has decided to implement continuous integration to improve software quality and speed up the development process.
Suppose five developers are working on this application from different locations like India, the USA, Australia, Africa, and Canada. All these developers are working independently on different codes. For example, one developer will be working on the uploading feature, the second will be working on the downloading, and the third will be editing the image. All the code will be pushed/committed in code repositories, such as GitHub or Git, to manage their source code. They use a version control system such as Git to track changes to the codebase. Now, what is version control? While making an application, we make many changes, and the changes are stored in the form of versions. We can implement any version in the future.
The code is built by using a build server, such as Jenkins or Travis CI, which automatically builds the code. That means the code is compiled/ validated by doing unit testing.
The team writes tests using a testing framework such as JUnit or Selenium, which are run on the build server after every code change. These tests check the application’s functionality, and if there is any bug in the core, that is informed to the developer. Suppose there are changes in the downloading code, then testing will be performed again. So different test scripts will be written for each uploading, downloading, and editing of the image and will be tested independently.
Once the code changes have been built and tested, the build server automatically deploys the new version of the application to a staging environment. This allows the team to test the new changes in a real-world setting and ensure that they work as expected.
The build server provides continuous feedback to the team on the status of the application. If any tests fail or the build is unsuccessful, the team is immediately notified, allowing them to identify and fix any issues quickly.
Suppose any developer wants to add a search feature in the application; then the code is validated in the staging environment, and the build server automatically deploys the changes to the production environment, making them available to users.
Continuous integration has enabled development teams to improve software quality, find bugs earlier in the development cycle, and speed up the release process. Teams can easily track changes to the code base, and automated testing ensures that new changes don’t introduce regressions. This allows the team to focus on adding new features and improving the application instead of spending time debugging and fixing bugs.
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