Continuous integration is an agile software development concept and a fundamental part of the DevOps approach. This method is commonly used in projects where multiple programmers are jointly involved in developing an application.
Continuous integration focuses on the regular merging of code from developers working independently into a central repository that everyone can access. The code is then validated against the repository using automated unit and integration tests and tested across multiple builds. This means that version controls are carried out, in which the correct functioning of the entered code is periodically validated.
Objective of continuous integration
The goal of continuously merging individual application components is to identify and remove bugs as quickly as possible within the development cycle. This avoids the amount of work that often happens with the classic merging of all code branches at the end of a project: thanks to continuous integration, programmers always receive feedback on their code, and can identify defects or bugs at an early stage, which makes them easier to solve.
This is also supported by automated tests, which verify code correctness before integration and identify conflicts between current and new code.
Continuous integration represents a DevOps best practice and is complemented by the related methods of continuous delivery and continuous deployment . Through the complementary use of these strategies for the management of the life cycle of applications, the development processes are optimized and accelerated and the general quality of the software is increased, thus solving the common drawbacks of conventional development processes. .
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Benefits of continuous integration
Continuous integration is complemented by the related methods of continuous delivery and continuous deployment. Through the complementary use of these strategies for application lifecycle management, development processes are optimized and accelerated and the overall quality of the software is increased.
- Improved troubleshooting through automated testing: Automated test integration ensures that software quality is increased, as early diagnosis of errors and integration issues enables greater compatibility. Thus avoiding situations of chaos associated with the registration of incompatible code just before the release.
- Communication and feedback: Continuous integration promotes fast and flexible technical communication between development teams and improves cooperation with operations. Save expenses on quality control resources.
- Documentation and traceability: Through continuous integration, automated test procedures, and build processes, a transparent revision control system can be set up for the project’s source code, in which any changes are recorded and can be traced exactly. In this way, regular version controls can be carried out and a detailed traceability of the changes made is created. This makes it easy to roll back when needed during development by identifying exactly which changes need to be rolled back.
- Fast and stable releases: Thanks to continuous integration, registered code ships faster and release builds are easier to create. Additionally, automated testing processes introduce fewer bugs into production, freeing QA teams to focus on improving quality culture.
- Scalability: Continuous integration reduces the effort involved in managing code integrations and eliminates organizational dependencies in development. This allows programmers to work independently on their functions knowing that their code will easily integrate with the rest of the codebase. This allows projects to scale better and involve more teams, while minimizing the risk of conflict by integrating multiple feature branches.
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