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CICD, all you need to know

Jason Li
Sr. Software Development Engineer
Skilled Angular and .NET developer, team leader for a healthcare insurance company.
June 28, 2019

Companies shipping software are increasing tremendously these days. The main challenges faced while shipping software into the customer's hand is lack of consistency and the need for extra work with human labor. To resolve the issues in software shipping, the concept of CICD emerged as a perfect solution. Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) offer software production environments more constancy, swiftness, and security.

What is CICD?

CICD is simply a concept or some practices to pursue while writing codes, to make the task more convenient, easy and safe. The concept helps customers to get to the software of quality and ultimately generate value. The idea is more often used by software written for companies or some capital venture. But knowing more about the concept can trigger in you great ideas to make it worth for your personal projects as well!

Continuous Integration (CI)

Continuous Integration (CI) is a practice followed by developers while developing software. It’s all about, making all application code into a single repository! The developers make sure the codes are integrated into a shared repository numerous times a day. The check-ins to the repository are verified by an automated build, making the prediction and detection of problems easier. The regular integration of the codes helps in locating them effortlessly and detecting errors on time, avoiding bugs.

Having a common place where all code is integrated gives developers a foundation for extending developments with more advanced practices. When one has all code and changes at the same place, it is flexible to run some processes on that repository simultaneously with any transformation. For example,

- Run automatic code quality scans and assure excellence

- Generate reports on latest changes adhere to efficient coding practices

- Run automated tests to make sure your changes are not affecting any functionality

- Publish a test coverage report of how systematic your automated tests are

The central repository of code will remain stable to receive any changes whilst codes are build, test, and scan by automated processes to generate reports. These processes for writing codes better can be made easy with proper tooling.

Tools for CI

The following list is of some common tools that are used for CI. They are very helpful in the process of coding and provide a lot of flexibility to the processes.

- Jenkins - It is a Java-based tool, which is free and open-sourced.

- Cloud Build—Tool offered by Google Cloud Platform.

- Azure Pipelines – An open-sourced Microsoft tool, which is free for a limited number of users.

- GitLab CI— It is a free tool from GitLab which can be integrated easily with other tools.

- CircleCI— It is a free tool that is used in GitHub projects, offering hosted and self-hosted solution.

- Travis CI— Tool offering hosted or self-hosted solution, fit for GitHub open-source projects.

- CodeShip— A paid tool with the self-hosted-only solution.

There are many other tools that are used for Continuous Integration. One can choose the tools as per their interest and comfort of use.

Continuous Deployment (CD)

For any developer, deploying code can be a hard phase. While jamming or building any project, getting it ready to be deployed can be a little challenging for any developer. Understanding these difficulties, the concept of Continuous Deployment (CD) is into practice.

Continuous Delivery or Deployment can be defined as the ability to get the changes of all types into the software building. They will cover all the new features, bug fixes, configuration changes, and innovative experiments. By making the code always in a deployed state, developers can assure it will reach to the hands of users safely and swiftly in a sustainable way.

Automation is the best thing to do for avoiding confusions in software delivery. By the automation process, the software can automatically deploy to wherever the developer or users can get to it.

Tools for CD

There are different tools that can help with the process. Some tools can be commonly used for CI and CD. The following list shows the major tools that can be comfortably used for the deployment.

- Travis CI – The tool integrates directly with Github.

- Jenkins - The free tool can also be effectively used for releasing pipelines in CD.

- Spinnaker - The tool that Netflix uses to do releases in a CD way.

- GitLab CI— Helps in configure deployment with GitLab.

- GoCD – An open source build and release tool from ThoughtWorks.

- Azure Pipelines –The Microsoft tool also helps with CD.

There are many other tools available for Continuous Deployment. It is the choice of the developer to use whatever tool works best for them.

Examples of CICD in Real Projects

CICD is now being used all over the world for diverse software product developments. Some common and popular projects in which CICD used are React JavaScript framework developed and maintained by Facebook, MacOS uses TravisCI with coverage reporting on, Google’s TensorFlow library, etc.

CICD owe great ways for modern software building and developing. If you are into any software development project, you can consider the ideas of CICD for a better process. Automating processes while changes are induced can help you make your product maximum safe and secure. It also helps you with quality analysis and control. The advancements also allow you to easily communicate to the team while working, wiping off half the confusions. Together CICD is a simple concept to make your software building and delivery processes more flexible, reliable and comfortable. The output the user receives with the CICD is software that can never fail in its intention of use.