Introduction to Continuous Integration in DevOps
Continuous Integration in DevOps is the process of automating the build and deploy phase through certain tools and best practices. Continuous Integration (CI) is applicable to all types of software projects such as developing websites, Mobile Applications and Microservices based APIs. There are three major categories of tools associated with CI such as Versioning tool, Build tool, repositories for centralized artifacts. CI pipeline helps the developer to easily commit the code and helps for quality development. The Initial CI pipeline set-up requires the major expertise of DevOps; however, after the setup was implemented, the software development lifecycle benefited from the process.
How is Continuous Integration performed in DevOps?
- A developer develops or writes some form of code, often called as patches representing a change to the project’s codebase [for example, a fix or bug].
- Merges the change to the centralized repository of that project like git, SVN, and bitbucket vary with the project.
- If the codes present in the centralized repos are needed later or while composing the application, i.e. building can be referred later at any point in time. Then these builds are deployed and can be manipulated or called at any point in time, often termed as packages or artifacts.
Now comes into the picture another concern which can give the next thought to all scenarios, which are like branching strategies.
If thinking of the developer’s patch or any change, then it will be very crucial to put the entire change everywhere. Therefore, continuous integration takes another stand as it provides a way to create a centralized repository set up with ease of branching and commit with time stamps. Gives Proper insight and information to developers and all the correlated teams and members.
If we leave the only question of branching and seek towards the other daily basis work which is performed manually like writing code and merge, then sit by keeping your fingers crossed for what’s next, not an ideal way at all. Taking an ideal Continuous integration environment, every code change and patches should be committed and merged simultaneously with a test-driven environment incorporated within the CI environment to get the fulfillment of automation also.
Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment are part of Continuous Integration, which has helped to come automation so far by dividing and distributing all commits and patches into all new versions of different software.
Continuous Delivery means the simultaneous commits being made into the repository, and then it is the responsibility of the human to decide whether to take it further for deployment or not, which means human effort is being involved somehow because of which companies don’t prefer and thinks twice before deployment.
On the other hand, many companies put more emphasis on continuous deployment in a sense they will directly put the commits and changes as it is a direct and simple approach. But again, it involves a lot of risks and can hamper or create bugs when a product goes for production. Thus, some new approaches must be introduced to mitigate the bug risk and make the Continuous deployment process with continuous delivery and continuous integration more enhanced and powerful.
To adopt Continuous Integration in full, fledge there are certain requirements needed to be fulfilled:
- Versioning Tool
- Build a tool
- Centralized artifact or repository
1. Versioning Tool
Continuous integration mainly depends on the versioning tool. It is the very first requirement to make continuous integration possible. Few Versioning tools like git, SVN, bitbucket, etc. Again, it depends on the project requirement that which versioning tool is to be considered.
2. Build Tool
The second requirement is the build tool, the main motto of considering a build tool is to handle the source code of the application fetched from the version control tool to produce an output from the desired software in an automated way.
Steps to automate the build tool depends upon the chosen stack for technology. Suppose for Java; it must be that stack to initiate the automation.
- Configure the tool and generate files with the .java extension.
- Compile the source code with .java extension to bytecode with .class extension.
- Compile the written test code to bytecode.
- Execution of all test cases.
- Packaging of the generated jars, whether maven or ant build, depends on the build tool.
- If necessary, tagging can also be done according to the build and its releases to make it identifiable.
3. Centralized Artifact or Repository
Lastly, a place to keep all your hard work safely in a Version control system, artifacts that start to flow from VCS to build needs to be stored as well. Such artifacts are needed to get the insight or added value in any of the software. Basically, it acts as a repository manager to manage all the features of caching the data to use restrictions.
Advantages of using Continuous Integration in Dev Ops
The traditional method of code commits and merging with branches after every feature development becomes very tedious and increases the complexity of integration. But then merging again and again with the old feature and then releasing a branch in production can lead to risk creation of bugs. Therefore, if continuous commits with continuous delivery and continuous deployment are made with the incorporation of full-fledged DevOps can really help in an overall enhancement of the continuous integration.
The major advantage of this is it not only saves a developer’s time and lets them write quality code and focus on other tasks that can be a part of the task, which is important and pivotal to understand. Thus, increasing the reliability of the product quality and reducing the bug and defect level while passing through the live production. Teams, without giving a second thought, can add new features and release code by writing a simple bash script.
To adopt the CI method differing from the traditional or manual way of coding and development is difficult as deep changes will be required for changing and adopting the automation way of product release. To successfully adopt the method flow team should be in unison and must agree to accept the new set of instructions or norms.
This is a guide to Continuous Integration in DevOps. Here we discuss how continuous integration is performed in DevOps and its Advantages. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more–