Continuous Integration Benefits: Why it is Important

What exactly is continuous integration? Continuous integration is a software development approach in which developers integrate new code they've written more often during the development cycle, at least once per day. Automated testing is performed against each iteration of the build to uncover integration issues early, when they are easier to repair, hence avoiding difficulties at the release's final merging. Overall, continuous integration simplifies the development process, resulting in higher-quality software and more predictable delivery timelines.

Continuous Integration (CI) Differs from Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Deployment (CD)

Continuous integration requires each developer to merge their work with the main source code branch at least once each day (or, preferably, multiple times a day). Continuous delivery, another DevOps strategy, instead focuses on providing any verified changes to the code base to customers as rapidly and reliably as possible—updates, bug fixes, and even new features. Continuous deployment simplifies the process even further by employing automated testing to check code base changes, resulting in more frequent updates.

Continuous delivery continues where continuous integration leaves off, automating application distribution to specific infrastructure configurations. It ensures the automated deployment of code updates to various environments, such as development, testing, and production.

Continuous Integration Benefits

The following are some of the most noteworthy importance of continuous integration:

• Continuous and visible progress toward improved feedback
• Early and enhanced error detection and analytics that allow you to resolve mistakes as soon as they occur, often within minutes of check-in
• Improved team communication; everyone on the team can edit the code, integrate the system, and immediately identify issues with other software components
• Improved system integration results in fewer surprises at the conclusion of the software development lifecycle
• There will be less concurrent modifications for merging and testing
• Errors were reduced during system testing
• Constantly updated systems against which to test

Continuous Integration Use Cases

The following hypothetical use case demonstrates how two software engineers might improve their DevOps process by utilizing continuous integration.

The two developers must communicate about which features operate and how they work. This tiny team requires frequent updates and must be able to integrate and test the code in it entirety. Scheduling code check-in and testing consumes a significant amount of development time. A continuous integration system that is automated is required.

Negotiating when these combinations and tests would occur would consume a significant amount of development time.

To do so, they must agree on the following:

1. When should you start testing code integration?

2. How to ensure that the integration was successful

3. How to Communicate the Team's Results

These questions have default responses in continuous integration platforms, and most allow for tweaking and setup.

On check-in, CI platforms like Jenkins often start integration tests. When new code is checked in, the CI system will perform a series of tests, including unit and regression tests, to assess whether the code was properly integrated.

Alternatively, if you're using a compiled language, the default test will be whether the code compiles correctly. If not, the new code has broken the build. You must write your own integration tests for languages such as Python or JavaScript.

Most CI systems keep track of integration attempts, success rates, and other information.

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