What is Continuous Integration (CI)?
Continuous Integration (CI) is a Development / Operation (Devops) software development practice where developers commit and integrate code into a shared repository frequently, preferably several times each day. Each integration can then be verified by an automatic build and automatic tests. While automatic testing isn’t strictly a part of CI it’s normally implied.
One of the key benefits of integrating regularly is that you simply can detect errors quickly and locate them more easily. As each change introduced is usually small, pinpointing the precise change that introduced a defect is often done quickly.
In recent years CI has become a best practice for software development and is guided by a group of key principles. Among them is revision control, build automation, and automatic testing.
Additionally, Continuous Deployment and Continuous Delivery have developed as best practices for keeping your application deployable at any point or maybe pushing your main codebase automatically into production whenever new changes are brought into it. This enables your team to maneuver fast while keeping top quality standards which will be checked automatically.
Why is Continuous Integration Needed?
In the earlier, developers on a team add isolation and gap for an extended period and only merge changes to the master branch once their development was completed. This made merging code changes difficult and time-consuming, and also resulted in bugs accumulating for an extended time without correction. These issues made it quite difficult to deliver updates to customers rapidly.
How does Continuous Integration Work?
With continuous integration, developers frequently plan to a shared repository employing a versioning system like Git. Before each commit, developers may prefer to run local unit tests on their code as an additional verification layer before integrating. Endless integration service automatically builds and runs unit tests on the new code changes to right away surface any errors.
Principles of Continuous Integration
The basic principles of CI consistent with are:
- The upkeep of a code repository
- Automating the build process
- Making the build self-testing
- Everyone committing to the baseline a day
- Every plan to baseline should be built
- Keeping the build fast
- Testing in a clone of the production environment
- Make it easy to urge the newest deliverables
- Everyone can see the results of the newest build
- Automatic deployment
The Pros and Cons
Applying CI comes with huge benefits for any organization. However, there also are several possible drawbacks that organizations should study before deciding whether CI is the right choice for the project.
Some of the foremost attractive benefits of continuous integration include:
- Reduced risk – In most cases, the more people working a project, the riskier it’s to integrate new code. When code is committed infrequently and in big amounts, coding issues are probable. Debugging and solving these issues are often both expensive and time-consuming; and will mean making extensive changes to the code. By integrating frequently and in small iterations, bugs are often pinpointed quickly and glued without extensive debugging.
- Higher code quality – With less time spent on debugging the software, longer are often allocated towards building new functions and further developing the merchandise. With each chickenfeed being automatically tested during integration, the CI practice results in a better quality of code throughout the whole project.
- Less stress on developers – the strain of debugging thousands of lines of code is often intense. Debugging sessions are often pressure-filled because the organization’s administrators lean heavily on programmers to quickly fix customer-facing issues. CI eliminates an excellent deal of stress from the debugging stage, allowing developers to rollback issues quicker, with less effort and with a shorter turnaround.
Before implementing an endless integration system however, organizations should remember of the subsequent drawbacks:
- New team processes – Implementing continuous processes can seem intense to a team that’s won by integrating with a special approach. Some team members may disagree that it’s necessary, and not everyone could also be convinced of the immense benefit that CI offers. Once a CI system has been implemented, team members got to be trained on all new processes to make sure that it’s adopted by the whole development team.
- Associated costs – There could also be some additional costs related to establishing and maintaining an efficient continuous integration system, and management might not understand why these costs are necessary. Over the long-term, however, continuous processes tend to quickly buy themselves as time and costs in debugging and solving issues is considerably reduced.
- Existing projects – Continuous integration is extremely valuable across any stage of a project, but it’s much easier to determine a CI system when developing a replacement project. Existing projects may require a couple of more steps to line up effectively. However, with the proper tools, a CI process is often found out rather simply; even with existing projects.
Buddy may be a modern and intuitive CI tool. By keeping the interface simple Buddy makes the user experience the highest priority and therefore the time you would like to take a position in learning the tool to the minimum (which is nice).
TeamCity is that mature CI server, coming from the labs of the JetBrains company. JetBrains has established authority within the software development world, and developers everywhere on the planet use their tools like WebStorm and ReSharper.
Jenkins which is an open-source Continuous Integration tool that was developed using Java. It originated because of Hudson when the Oracle bought the Sun Microsystems. Jenkins may be a cross-platform CI tool and it offers configuration both through GUI interface and console commands.
Travis CI is one of the oldest hosted solutions out there and it’s won the trust of the many people. Although it’s mostly known for the hosted solution, it offers the on-premise version too during a sort of enterprise package.
GitLab CI is an integral part of the open-source Rails project GitLab, which was delivered to light by the corporate GitLab inc. it’s hosted on GitLab.com, a free hosted service and it provides detailed git repository management with features like access control, issue tracking, code reviews, and far more.
CircleCI currently only supports GitHub and therefore the list of supported languages includes Java, Ruby/Rails, Python, Node.js, PHP, Haskell, and Scala.
Codeship comes in two different versions: Basic and Pro. The basic version offers out-of-the-box CI service but doesn’t have docker support and its main purpose is to create applications with common workflows through the UI. The Pro version offers more flexibility and docker support..