What is continuous integration

Continuous integration

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What is Continuous Integration?

As Continuous integration is a practice in software development in which changes made to a project are continuously integrated and tested. Every integration is verified by an automated build including testing in order to detect errors as quickly as possible.

Continuous Integration (CI) is one Development practicewhere developers often integrate code into a common repository, preferably several times a day. Each integration can then be verified through an automated build and tests. While automated testing is not necessarily part of CI, it is usually implied. One of the main advantages of regular integration is that Errors recognized quickly and can be found more easily. Since any change that is made is typically small, the change that caused a failure can be quickly located. That said, Continuous Integration doesn't fix bugs, but it does make them a lot easier to find and fix.

In recent years, Continuous Integration has become a best practice for software development and is based on a number of key principles. This includes revision control, build automation, and automated testing. In addition, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Delivery have also emerged as best practices to keep applications up and running at all times or to automatically bring the main code base into production when new changes are made. This allows the development team to move quickly and at the same time high quality standards which can be checked automatically.

What is the difference between continuous integration, continuous deployment and continuous delivery?

Continuous integration

Continuous integration is the practice of making changes by different developers on the team as early as possible to be integrated into a mainline, in the best case several times a day. This ensures that each developer's code doesn't deviate too much from the goal. When this process is combined with automated testing, the ongoing integration ensures reliable code.

Continuous deployment

Continuous deployment is closely related to CI and refers to the fact that a Application is available at all times or automatically pushed to a test or production environment when the latest version has passed all automated tests.

Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery is the practice that Code base available at all times to keep. In addition to passing automated testing, an application must have all the necessary configurations to get it into production. Many teams push changes that pass the automated tests immediately into a test or production environment to ensure a fast development loop.

The benefits of continuous integration

In software development, CI offers a number of advantages for both developers and companies. A good CI setup accelerates the workflow and encourages the development team to make any change quickly without the developers worrying about serious problems. But CI not only brings the advantage of working with a better software release process. Continuous integration also brings business benefits.

CI reduces the risk of expensive development errors

When code is tested and deployed more frequently, decreased this usually the level of risk of the project, as bugs and code errors can be detected earlier. This means that troubleshooting is easier and can be done sooner. As a result, costs are reduced, feedback is accelerated and communication is smoother.

Continuous integration improves communication

A CI integrated into the continuous delivery workflow enables regular code approval at short intervals. This regular code sharing promotes collaboration between team members. Ultimately, this increases the Communication speed and efficiency in the company.

Faster iterations thanks to continuous integration

When the code is released frequently, it narrows the gap between the application in production and the task that a developer is working on. Since every small change is automatically tested and the entire team can be informed of these changes, small, incremental changes should be used when developing new functions. This leads to fewer assumptions and more insights since the Functions created faster and they can be automatically tested and deployed to your users as quickly as possible. As a result, developers receive user feedback faster.

Faster feedback for business decisions

Company management and responsible management can also benefit from continuous integration. Both developers and management receive valuable feedback and can gain deeper and deeper insights into project development much faster. As the code is released more frequently, more data becomes available to analyze to verify that the product is pointing in the right direction. This continuous flow of data makes it possible to reflect the progress of the project more frequently and to make technological and business decisions promptly and quickly on this basis.

Agile practices and continuous integration go hand in hand. Even the smallest project can benefit from the transparency of the development process and the centralization of project resources and structures. Rare software releases, which repeatedly lead to time-consuming and costly troubleshooting and corrections, are a thing of the past. Most leading and successful companies have been using these techniques for years active with good results. Amazon is one of those companies. In 2011, changes were made to the Amazon platform every 11.6 seconds on average.

The first time set up of the system for continuous integration can be a costly and time consuming task. But problems that arise when using other techniques can result in costs that are many times higher.