As technology advances, so does the need to keep up with the advancements. There is a continuous need to design and develop solutions that are fast and high-quality. Procedures and resources must be well equipped with modern-day solutions and that is where the role of DevOps comes into the picture. DevOps is supposed to maintain the collaboration between teams through a continuous delivery (CD) and continuous integration (CI) channel. And, to make life easy, there are a variety of CI-CD tools that are helping developers in streamlining the processes.
Following continuous integration, the approach is an ideal way to assure efficacy and productivity in teams. And hence the continuous integration tools are the best way possible to ensure that. Before we plunge into understanding which CI tools are popular, let us quickly understand what continuous integration means.
What Is Continuous Integration?
In software engineering, continuous integration (CI) is the practice of merging all developers’ working copies to shared mainline several times a day. – Wikipedia
Continuous integration (CI) is one of the fundamental DevOps practices that teams up with continuous delivery (CD) for an effective DevOps implementation. It is a development ritual wherein developers must integrate their code into a shared repository on a regular basis. Once the code is put together, there is an automated build that must be verified and tested.
Integration of chunks of code is ideal to ease out the procedure and save on time. Continuous integration emphasizes integrated operations and culture being shared for process automation. It is performed through automation tools that facilitate developers for frequent integration, testing, and deployment of code.
The CI process, in simple terms:
- Keep your source code, test cases, DB scripts, etc. in version control
- Automate the whole process through continuous integration
- Leverage your source control tool at a pre-defined occurrence to check for updates
- If an update found, it will compile, make deliverables, deploy, and run test cases
- Verify the quality of the build
Key Benefits Of Continuous Integration
- Early and fast detection of problems
- Cloud compatibility, trouble-free deployment
- Frequent and swift integration of data and systems
- Enhanced team collaboration and communication
- Faster software delivery and less time in debugging
- Continuous accessibility of build for release and testing
- No need for complicated and lengthy integrations
- Robust ecosystem, safety, and security
Best Continuous Integration Tools
- Bitbucket Pipelines
- AWS CodePipeline
- Travis CI
Jenkins is one of the most popular CI tool, that is readily available. As an open-source tool, it facilitates developers in building, automating, and testing software projects at a fast pace. Jenkins has evolved over these years and proven its worth as one of the most trustworthy software tools. The basic source code is in Java with a few files of Ruby, Groovy, and Antlr. There are multiple plug-ins that help in automating the development activities.
Jenkins has been driven by huge community support and regular updates. Whenever your business needs on-premises support, Jenkins is the right choice. It is best utilized for creating projects, executing tests, detecting bugs, analyzing code, and deploying projects. Since it is deployable across a network of machines, there is improved performance of builds and tests.
- Multiple, custom plug-ins to help in automation and deployment
- Open-source server for CI tool
- Easily installable, deployable, and configurable on any OS
- On-premises, robust addon infrastructure
- Works as a standalone CI serve
- Self-contained Java-based program with prebuilt packages for Windows, Unix, OS X
TeamCity is a popular build management and CI tool from JetBrains, fit for all sorts of workflows, development practices, and software infrastructure of all sizes. It executes in a Java environment and supports integration with multiple cloud-based technologies. It supports modern-day software platforms with pre-built installers. Developers can reuse the settings and avoid code duplication.
It offers multiple approaches to customize and extend the server, keeps the CI server stable and functional. It is a commercial tool that offers free usage as well as a proprietary license. It supports flexible user management with different role assignments, differentiating users into groups, authenticating users, and maintaining detailed records of actions of all users for complete transparency.
- Supports various platforms like Ruby, Java, .NET, etc.
- Easily integrable with multiple IDEs like Visual Studio, Eclipse, etc.
- Complete support for executing multiple builds and tests simultaneously under various platforms
- Facilitates code coverage, code analysis, tool versioning, duplicity check, inspection creating log reports
- The thorough version control system, native GitLab integration
- Token-based authentication
Bamboo is a well-known CI and CD tool developed by Atlassian. Written in Java, it offers effective automated building, testing, and deployment functionalities. It offers good support for other technologies like Git, SVN, AWS, Amazon, etc, and other testing tools like Selenium, Junit, etc. It gives developers time to pay attention to their technical aspects.
Bamboo offers a self-hosted alternative and has a good integration potential with the Atlassian product stack. It offers container support for Docker-based agents and creates a continual delivery pipeline. It encompasses build and functional testing, tagging releases, version assignment, and implementing newer versions. Bamboo has a provision to create images and push them into a registry.
- Offers analysis and failure reports whenever the build fails
- Easy monitoring of the status of builds and server
- Compatibility with other software and testing tools
- Multiple plug-ins and add-ons available
- Executes batches of tests simultaneously to garner immediate feedback
- Offers support up to around 100 remote build agents
GitLab offers continuous integration with comprehensive code management and has many small tools that perform a varied set of functions. Owned by GitLab Inc, it offers continuous integration and continuous delivery in a unified web-based repository. It is written in Ruby and Go. Most of its functionalities are released under an open-source license and it is competent to offer a complete DevOps experience.
GitLab offers a modern-day UX with container support. It offers viewing, creating, and managing code and project data via branching tools. It ships pre-built packages for Linux distributions, offers a user-friendly interface and comprehensive documentation for all necessary features. It provides static and dynamic application security testing, container and dependency scanning to offer secure and licenses compliant applications.
- Permits critical information move to a single dashboard
- On-premises or cloud-based hosting
- Simplistic to learn and use
- Direct integration into the GitLab workflow
- Easy rollback competencies
- Scalable allows more machines for testing
CircleCI is a popular continuous integration tool that offers a competitive platform for building and testing automation with a complete deployment procedure. It provides easy integration with other tools like Bitbucket, GitHub, etc. It possesses salient features and effective performance because of which developers prefer working with CircleCI. It offers support for a matrix of version control systems, delivery systems, and container systems.
CircleCI is optimized for performance for faster builds, and it triggers notifications from continuous integration events. It offers analytics for measuring build performance. There is an easy debugging facility through local builds and SSH. Implementing CircleCI helps in enhancing scalability, productivity, and build process.
- Permits focussed deployment
- Helps in fast execution of tests and bug detection
- Easily customizable, personalized email and notifications
- Can be hosted on-premises or cloud-based
- Automatic parallelization and unlimited builds
- Uses language-specific tools like virtualenv, rvm, etc.
BuildBot is a popular CI platform that permits automated compilation and effective testing of any type of change in the project. Written in Python, BuildBot is known for carrying out complicated automated testing of procedures and for deploying applications. It is known for distributing and executing programs in parallel, on various platforms. It is an open-source CI tool that utilizes Python, C for supporting distributed, parallel execution across various platforms.
BuildBot executes on a range of slave platforms that support parallel and distributed execution around different platforms. It supports flexible integration with other systems that control versions. What it needs minimal as a host is Python and Twisted. It has a tendency of quickly finding out build problems and solving them quickly.
- Manages project and build process with C and Python
- Automates build systems and manages software releases sophisticatedly
- Run is built on a variety of worker platforms
- Offers flexible configuration by subclassing general build procedure class
- Job scheduling that queue and executes jobs
Bitbucket Pipelines is a known CI tool that is directly integrated into a cloud version control system called Bitbucket, which is offered by Atlassian. It is best for developers whose project is already running on Bitbucket. Continuous integration can easily be available in these circumstances. It is easily managed as code and hence developers can commit pipeline definitions and start off builds.
Bitbucket Pipelines also offers continuous delivery processes. Hence, projects created with this tool can be deployed to the production environment also. It offers best-in-class Jira integration and has an automatic build and test process. It provides enhanced visibility and collaboration, with configuration as a code.
- Cloud-based services through third-party integration
- Comprehensive Bitbucket experience
- Simple setup process and configuration
- Creation of containers in the cloud
- IP whitelisting and merge checks
Powered by AWS, AWS CodePipeline is a popular CI tool that automates continuous delivery pipelines for quicker and trustworthy updates. It is involved in building, testing, and deploying different phases of the release procedure each time there is an update in code. This way, it delivers features in a fast and regular manner. It is easy to integrate AWS CodePipeline with other third-party tools.
It is one of the most effective cloud infrastructure suppliers and the tools and services that it offers, look at the continuous integration activities. With this CI tool, developers can get quick feedback and newer features in an easy manner. Since it is flexible and customizable, users can decide on the tests that are to be executed and the necessary steps for deployment.
- Completely cloud-based service
- Easily integrable with AWS
- Customized plug-in support
- An effective access control mechanism
- Configurable workflow
Travis CI is a leading continuous integration platform that takes care of the automation of software testing and application deployment. It is created in such a way that it can integrate seamlessly with the GitHub projects and hence, testing can be done easily. It is free to use, and its open-source is shown on GitHub. There is an enterprise version that is paid.
Since it is open-source, it offers a large variety of options for automation. Since it is hosted on the cloud, there is no requirement for a server. It takes a backup of the final build once the latest one is executed. It has a scaling capacity as and when needed. Travis CI offers extensive support for multiple build configurations and programming languages like Perl, PHP, Node, Java, etc.
- Simple to sign up, add projects and start testing
- Multilingual and varied platform support
- Works well with Email, Slack, and other notification software
- Availability of API and CMD tools
- Parallel testing, pull request support, quick setup
CodeShip is a leading, hosted CI tool that is known to be simple, fast, and effective. Developers can utilize it directly from the GitHub project. Its salient features combine delivery with integration and hence the code is deployed once automation of tests is done. It activates the automation of workflow by simply pushing to the repository.
CodeShip is known to help organizations develop efficient applications by bettering the test and release processes. It offers easy integration with other tools, services, and cloud-based infrastructure. It has an option to select the size, CPU, and memory of AWS instances. There is smarter management of notifications, easy third-party integration, and dashboards to offer an overall review.
- Single click signup
- Customizable, efficient infrastructure
- Simplistic configuration file management
- Easy to use user interface and complete control over CI
- Integrated management of teams and dashboards
Buddy is a popular DevOps automation platform and a CI tool that offers effective service for the automation of development services. It has an automatic pipeline feature that assists developers in testing, building, and shipping their software components to the final stage faster than before.
Buddy has been popular because it is straightforward to use, has a minimal material design, and possesses a client-based focus. It also employs Docker containers with languages that are installed prior, with effective DevOps functionality. It supports services like Elastic, Firefox, Selenium, etc. and monitors real-time data, and maintains history.
- Customized actions to perform automation, container launch, deployment, etc.
- Easy deployment to preferred hosting and cloud-based service provider
- Automated tracking algorithm
- Flexible support for databases like MongoDB, MySQL, etc.
- Intuitive UI and binding of deployment flow
GoCD is an open-source CI tool that is supported by ThoughtWorks. It focuses on modeling and visualizing complicated workflows easily. It offers an intuitive interface to create CI and CD pipelines and support modern-day infrastructure. GoCD endorses trusted artifacts and helps in deploying any known version of the user application.
GoCD reuses the pipeline configurations through the template systems. It offers complete support to automate the complete process starting from building to testing to releasing, ranging from checking in of code to deployment. Developers can easily visualize and model complicated workflows with this wonderful CI tool.
- Multiple plug-ins to increase functionality
- Access to the deployment of any version at any time
- Good community support
- Easy configuration of dependencies for quicker feedback
- Offers control over comprehensive workflows and tracks changes
Summarizing It Up
DevOps consulting and DevOps as a service has been leveraging continuous integration and as an effective engineering culture, DevOps has been acting as a bridge that diminishes the gap between development and operations. Acting as a catalyst to this are the above-mentioned continuous integration tools that have proven their worth amidst businesses of all sizes and segments.
Of course, choosing the right CI tool for your organization is a big task. It involves studying and analyzing important parameters like version control system support, cloud-based or on-premises installation, container support, and third-party integration with plug-in support. Hence, it depends upon the teams to decide their best choice. The year 2021 has witnessed success stories of these CI tools and there is more to come!