When it comes to a faster and efficient methodology to automate development builds, Continuous Integration fits the bill. An innovative way to tackle the intricacies of a development set up, this technique has been a popular one all through these years and continues to rule.
What Is Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration (CI) is a renowned software engineering practice that concentrates on the minimization of the software development time frame along with applications of quality control right from the start and at each phase of the process. There is always a requirement for faster and better software methodology. Due to globalization, outsourcing and many such factors, there is a terrific amount of pressure being built on development teams to stay in competitive spirits and meet up the needs and challenges of today. Continuous Integration assists these teams to face these challenges. It implements the actions of coding, integration, compilation, and running of all possible steps in small iterations, but on a larger frequency so that all possible errors/bugs are detected right then. This is rightly possible only if all these steps are fully automated and transparent.
Continuous Integration is creating a buzz today as it is a part and parcel of an ideal solution or product development.
The Continuous Integration Process In Simplistic Terms
- Have your source code version control including DB scripts, test cases, etc.
- Automate the entire process through Continuous Integration
- Poll your source control tool at a pre-defined frequency to check for updates
- If source control update found, it will compile, make artifacts /deliverables, deploy on the given environment and run various test cases on the same
- Confirm the quality of the build
This way, you can catch errors in the early stages of development. Continuous Integration would also help you lessen the manual processes from the entire development scenario. It would assist in continuously integrating your code and in parallel, test it from different angles. Just in case you are happy with your build, you can promote it to the next level, which could be your acceptance testing environment or production. Usage of a Continuous Integration Server is preferable.
10 Best Practices Of Continuous Integration
Keep A Single Source Repository
Since there are multiple teams involved and umpteen files and folder, there is a grave necessity of a source code management tool. Gone are those days, when product/software development went on successfully without this tool. It is a must now and hence imperative for development teams to use it and follow it diligently. At the same time, it is very essential that each and every development team member knows about the path where it is lying.
There are so many tasks involved while you build a system. Trying to manually compile all of them, without missing any of them, is like a dream come true. What is most viable today is to go in for an automated build that encompasses all the intricacies of the entire development process be it database, files, schemas and much more.
Prepare A Self-Testing Build
When you automate a build, during Continuous Integration, it includes all essential stuff necessary to execute it. But, the best practice is to include automated tests within the build and thereby, try and avoid those errors at a later stage.
Daily Commit To The Mainline
We should take care that builds happen regularly on integration machines and once it is successful, commits should be done. It is very much necessary to commit on a regular basis once builds are regularly tested.
Instant Fixation Of Broken Builds
However much we try to have a stable build, there are chances of the build having some breakage. It surely has to be attended to instantly. There should be an instant repair of the breakage to avoid further delays and troubles.
Swift Execution Of The Build
The major objective of using Continuous Integration is to speed up the entire process of build automation. If that goes slow, it doesn’t serve the purpose. Hence, it has to be taken care that there is a fast execution of the build.
Testing In A Replica Of Production Environment
Testing alone doesn’t suffice. What is vital is that the testing environment should be a replica of the production scenario, since every little possibility differing can turn into an error or risks during a live run.
Easy And Simplistic Access To The Latest Executable
What is most important is instant access to the latest files, whenever the developer needs it. This can easily be done by putting the files at a proper pre-defined location and its address is informed to the entire team so that there are no chances of any misunderstandings in picking up the latest executables.
To know what is happening is the right to every developer. While the process of Continuous Integration is being carried out, it is wise to keep the teams updated with the happenings around. This creates a sense of confidence in the team and hence raises the level of success.
Automation Of Deployment
There are too many things involved while performing Continuous Integration across environments. Doing all that manually is highly cumbersome and hence automation of the same is desirable. This leads to higher productivity and minimal error chances.
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