The Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery [CI/CD] pipeline is commonly known as one of, if not the most advantageous approaches to software development by today’s coders. One of the main draws to utilizing the CI/CD pipeline is that it provides a comprehensive integration process that spans from the first step of software development to the final step. The CI/CD pipeline also envelopes the deployments process making it a fully encompassing pipeline that deals with every aspect of integration. With this in mind, it is clear to see why the CI/CD pipeline has become the favorite DevOp tactic.
Another key feature to the CI/CD pipeline is that through automating a good amount of the development process it saves the coders precious time and energy and allows that to focus on perfecting their code. When looking at the CI/CD pipeline it is easy to group this tactic into one whole function, however, there are two main portions to the pipeline: CI or Continuous Integration and CD or Continuous Delivery. As one would expect Continuous Integration is the first portion of the CI/CD pipeline where the code changes are continuously integrated into the software project.
This article is focused on the Continuous Integration portion of the CI/CD pipeline. While the Continuous Integration process is already extremely effective, several Continuous Integration tools are offered that only add to the ease of use. If you are looking for ways to save precious coding time as well as streamline the Continuous Integration process even further, read on!
Version Control System
When you are first getting started with a CI/CD pipeline, a Version Control System should be the next thing on your list. Version control systems are also referred to as VSC’s, revision controls or source controls. A Version Control System is a software tool that assists in managing and keeping track of the changes in code that have been made over time in the CI/CD pipeline.
One of the most useful components of the Version Control System is that it keeps a detailed log of all the modifications that were made in the software. Not only does this software tool keep a log of the modifications, but it also stores the date and time each modification was made. This is extremely helpful for coders to reference. If something in the code starts to not function properly, the coders can reference this log and begin to search through the different stages of the developing software and see where the mistake was made.
After you have gotten your Version Control System up and running, it’s time to look for the next Continuous Integration Tool. The next best way to keep the continuous integration part of the CI/CD pipeline it tip-top shape is by using a hosting site. If you are looking to get the best of your Continuous Integration, a Version Control Hosting site is the best option out there!
A Version Control Hosting Site is a hosting site that essentially functions as the code “master list”, wherein it stores all the code for a software development project. The Version Control Hosting Site is very similar to the Version Control Systems in function, however, there are a few key differences. The Version Control Hosting Sites can host not only one but multiple software development programs which make it ideal for those who are working on multiple projects at once. Another key difference is that the administrators of the Version Control Hosting Sites can determine who has access to what codes, adding a sense of security to the project.
Last but not least on the list of potential Continuous Integration tools that you might try is tests. Tests are a crucial component to the CI/CD pipeline as the tests are what allows the Continuous Integration to know when something is wrong in the code. Without the tests, coders would have a much more difficult time determining if something needed to be improved upon. Thankfully there are a good amount of tests that can be run, which also means less of a chance that an error goes undetected!
There are four main tests that you can run during Continuous Integration. It is important to note that all these tests do need to be automated as that is the premise of the CI/CD pipeline. For these tests to catch every potential mistake, they need to be continuously run throughout each code change or adjustment that is made. These tests include Unit Tests, Integration Tests, Acceptance Tests, and UI Tests.
Unit Tests, as the name would suggest is where an individual unit is being tested. This is to ensure that the individual unit is functioning as it should be and the software development can continue. The next test is the Integration Test. This test works at a slightly larger level and tests a software branch and ensures that all the parts are working together cohesively.
Third is the Acceptance Test. The Acceptance Test is very similar to the Integration Test in the sense that it tests a software module as opposed to an individual piece of software. The Acceptance Test is different in that it tests the software program’s compatibility to businesses and their requirements.
Last but not least is the UI Test. UI or User Interface Tests are where the software is tested one more time but from the perspective of the user. This is one of the most important steps not only because it is the last test before being released to the public but it also gives the coders a chance to see what the user experience will be and if there is anything that needs to be fixed on that end.
There you have it. The top Continuous Integration Tools in 2020. Using these tools can seem tedious especially when adding them to the already lengthy software development process, however, they add an extra layer of continuity and system checks that is unmatched. If you are looking to upgrade or enhance your Continuous Integration process, try some of these tools out!
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