5 Ways Continuous Integration Can Improve Product Delivery
5 Ways Continuous Integration Can Improve Product Delivery
Continuous integration allows developers to deliver quality software within the prescribed timelines and in a much more predictable manner. A software development is not an easy task as it involves a number of phases like writing, testing, integrating and finally delivering it to the end users. All these stages of software development come with their own set of challenges. These issues and challenges are overcome by continuous integration.
How continuous integration works?
When developers are working on certain software they pull out the code from the central repository. They all start at the same time with each developer adding their own lines of code for either fixing a bug or adding new features. All the developers bring their own set of changes to the methods, classes, and functions to complete the task they were assigned to do.
When we look at the smaller picture then it seems an easy task where all the developers are performing their duties and finally reaching the endpoint. But there are certain aspects that come into the scene after the integration of the entire code. It may happen that the complete source code is changed or sometimes even remains unchanged.
>> If the source code remains unchanged then there is not much of a problem. The entire code can be tested and finally delivered to the end users.
>> In the second scenario when the code is copied to the central repository some code conflicts may arise. If there are conflicts then the application will not respond or work as it is intended to do. There will be an immediate need to rectify the problems before delivering it to the end users. The conflict issues may involve problems like API’s start acting differently or certain methods or functions have been modified or a complete subsection starts behaving haywire. In all such situations, continuous integration with automated testing suites is a savior.
The aforementioned issues can be solved with the help of continuous integration. The concept of this practice is pretty simple where instead of monitoring and dealing with large integration sets smaller integrations sets are analyzed. This makes it much simple as there is a smaller number of changes to be made or rectified. This means that the integration will have to happen much more frequently or maybe several times a day.
The idea sounds pretty easy but implementation in the real world can be a bit complex.
Let us now discuss certain ways of how continuous integration can help improving product delivery:
1. Regular testing :
Continuous integration allows users to keep testing their pieces of code on a daily basis or even several times a day. In order to achieve that the first thing that needs to be done is to pull in all the modifications that were done before the concerned code was generated. The code should be added to the repository only when it is sure that it will work. Testing a code makes sense whenever there are changes in the source code.
Continuous integration makes it possible with the help of tools like the semaphore. These tools keep a track of source code changes and run tests as soon as any change is detected. The changes are recorded and are consequently communicated to the entire development team. This is also a cost effective practice because everything is getting rectified in the nascent stages.
2. It reduces the overhead testing time :
When people hear about testing each and every code snippet it sounds a cumbersome process. Continuous integration comes with an automated testing suite. This eliminates the need for repetitive and manual testing which takes a lot of time.
The two most common continuous integration techniques are behaviour driven and test driven. They allow the users to write a code that is maintainable, clean and also write the related tests simultaneously.
3. Faster Build :
Continuous integration allows the developers to locate the bugs faster and rectify them. This prevents the build failure at an advanced stage where rectifying bugs is complex and takes a lot of time bringing much delay in the final product delivery.
With the help of CI, the QA teams get much stable build and propel the process of fast building. An effective CI testing suite will always detect the bugs at the right time and get them fixed at an early stage.
4. Transparency :
CI provides transparency among all the developers as all the bugs and defects are communicated to everyone involved in the process. The developers, as well as the QA teams, are always in a loop of about all the tests that are failing, causes of failures, defects and any other problems with the code.
5. Get the real world perspective :
Continuous integration allows the developers to be sure that their code will not fail in any way. Software development is completely computational and depends on a lot of unknown factors. It may happen that a code runs accurately on one machine while failing on another. Continuous Integration can be helpful in such circumstances. You can always run your code on a new branch and a different CI server to see if it is working perfectly. If it is green then you can be sure of the code and its performance. If it fails then it is an indicator that you have missed something.
The above factors have a great impact on end product delivery. These factors not only fasten the build process but also improve the final product delivery. Developers and quality analyst teams are highly benefited from continuous integration techniques.
The introduction of continuous integration and automation testing can completely change the way development process works. It is a big change for an organisation and for development teams as well. The teams should be made aware of the advantages of automation testing and continuous integration. They should be educated about the importance of an effective testing suite and how continuous integration can completely change the end game.