What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous integration (CI) is the practice of automating the integration of code changes from multiple contributors into a single software project. It’s a primary DevOps best practice, allowing developers to frequently merge code changes into a central repository where builds and tests then run. Automated tools are used to assert the new code’s correctness before integration.
A source code version control system is the crux of the CI process. The version control system is also supplemented with other checks like automated code quality tests, syntax style review tools, and more.
What is the importance of continuous integration?
In order to understand the importance of CI, it’s helpful to first discuss some pain points that often arise due to the absence of CI. Without CI, developers must manually coordinate and communicate when they are contributing code to the end product. This coordination extends beyond the development teams to operations and the rest of the organization. Product teams must coordinate when to sequentially launch features and fixes and which team members will be responsible.
The communication overhead of a non-CI environment can become a complex and entangled synchronization chore, which adds unnecessary bureaucratic cost to projects. This causes slower code releases with higher rates of failure, as it requires developers to be sensitive and thoughtful towards the integrations. These risks grow exponentially as the engineering team and codebase sizes increase.
Without a robust CI pipeline, a disconnect between the engineering team and the rest of the organization can form. Communication between product and engineering can be cumbersome. Engineering becomes a black box which the rest of the team inputs requirements and features and maybe gets expected results back. It will make it harder for engineering to estimate time of delivery on requests because the time to integrate new changes becomes an unknown risk.
What CI does?
CI helps to scale up headcount and delivery output of engineering teams. Introducing CI to the aforementioned scenario allows software developers to work independently on features in parallel. When they are ready to merge these features into the end product, they can do so independently and rapidly. CI is a valuable and well-established practice in modern, high performance software engineering organizations.
How CI can be used?
CI is generally used alongside an agile software development workflow. An organization will compile list of tasks that comprise a product roadmap. These tasks are then distributed amongst software engineering team members for delivery. Using CI enables these software development tasks to be developed independently and in parallel amongst the assigned developers. Once one of theses tasks is complete, a developer will introduce that new work to the CI system to be integrated with the rest of the project.
What are diferences amoung CI vs Continuous Deployment vs Continuous Delivery?
Continuous integration, deployment, and delivery are three phases of an automated software release pipeline, including a DevOps pipeline. These three phases take software from idea to delivery to the end-user. The integration phase is the first step in the process. Continuous integration covers the process of multiple developers attempting to merge their code changes with the main code repository of a project.
Continuous delivery is the next extension of continuous integration. The delivery phase is responsible for packaging an artifact together to be delivered to end-users. This phase runs automated building tools to generate this artifact. This build phase is kept ‘green,’ which means that the artifact should be ready to deploy to users at any given time.
Continuous deployment is the final phase of the pipeline. The deployment phase is responsible for automatically launching and distributing the software artifact to end-users. At deployment time, the artifact has successfully passed the integration and delivery phases. Now it is time to automatically deploy or distribute the artifact. This will happen through scripts or tools that automatically move the artifact to public servers or to another mechanism of distribution, like an app store.
What are the benefits and challenges of continuous integration?
Continuous integration is an essential aspect of DevOps and high-performing software teams. Yet CI benefits are not limited to the engineering team but greatly benefit the overall organization. CI enables better transparency and insight into the process of software development and delivery. These benefits enable the rest of the organization to better plan and execute go to market strategies. The following are some of the overall organizational benefits of CI.
1. Enable scaling
CI enables organizations to scale in engineering team size, codebase size, and infrastructure. By minimizing code integration bureaucracy and communication overhead, CI helps build DevOps and agile workflows. It allows each team member to own a new code change through to release. CI enables scaling by removing any organizational dependencies between development of individual features. Developers can now work on features in an isolated silo and have assurances that their code will seamlessly integrate with the rest of the codebase, which is a core DevOps process.
2. Improve the feedback loop
Faster feedback on business decisions is another powerful side effect of CI. Product teams can test ideas and iterate product designs faster with an optimized CI platform. Changes can be rapidly pushed and measured for success. Bugs or other issues can be quickly addressed and repaired.
3. Enhance communication
CI improves overall engineering communication and accountability, which enables greater collaboration between development and operations in a DevOps team. By introducing pull request workflows tied to CI, developers gain passive knowledge share. Pull requests allow developers to observe and comment on code from other team members. Developers can now view and collaborate on feature branches with other developers as the features progress through the CI Pipeline. CI can also be used to help QA resource expenses. An efficient CI pipeline with high-confidence automated test coverage will safeguard from regressions and ensure that new features match a specification. Before new code is merged it must pass the CI test assertion suite which will prevent any new regressions.
The benefits of CI far outweigh any challenges in adoption. That said, it is important to be aware of the challenges of CI. The real challenges of CI arise when transitioning a project from no CI to CI. Most modern software projects will adopt CI from early inception stages and alleviate the challenges of later adoption.
4. Adoption and installation
The challenges of continuous integration are primarily around team adoption and initial technical installation. If a team doesn’t currently have a CI solution in place, it can require some effort to pick one and get started. Thus, considerations need to be made around the existing engineering infrastructure when installing a CI pipeline.
5. Technology learning curve
CI functionality comes with a list of supportive technologies that may be learning curve investments for the team to undertake. These technologies are version control systems, hosting infrastructure, and orchestration technologies.
Maven Project Hands-on using Jenkins:-
Welcome to Play with Jenkins
- Now, unlock jenkins using the Adminstrator password in the specified location and continue with install suggested plugins.
- When you fin d the create first admin user page, click on continue as admin and then click Save and Finish.
- Now, your Jenkins setup is complete and clik on start using jenkins.
- Create a new job named JenkinsDemo
- Proceed with the freestyle project
- Now, Configure the source code of your job with Repository URL.
Get Username: Handson_user
Get Password JQdQy*
- Add build setup to execute a shell with Javac.jenkinsDemo.java and java.jenkinsdemo
- now save and Start building your job.
Generate JUnit Test report with Maven project
Welcome to Generate JUnit Test report with Maven project
- Create a new job named MavenDemo
- Project with the freestyle project.
- execute shell:- javac mavenDemo.java
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