Software development practices are frequently updated to improve the quality of the products further. Having an automated process to collect and test executable versions of the software is one of these cases. Teams need to build and test the software they are working on a few times a day. This is what Continuous Integration is about.
What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration (CI) is a practice of software development through which developers combine advances in the code in a central repository periodically, after versions and automatic tests are executed. Continuous Integration refers to the creation or integration phase of the software publishing process, involving an automation and cultural component.
Martin Fowler is one of the most distinguished authors in the field of agile practices and defines continuous integration as a ‘’practice in which members of a team integrate their work frequently – typically each person integrates at least once a day, generating several versions per day. Each executable version is verified by an automatic integration and testing system to detect integration errors as quickly as possible.’’
Why is Continuous Integration necessary?
In the past, team developers were used to working alone for an extended period of time. Changes were combined in the master version once the work was complete. This made the combination of changes severe, as errors were accumulated, and their correction was slower and more ineffective.
Continuous Integration makes it possible to have a master repository to keep all the source code open for any team member, as well as automating the integration process so that anyone can generate an executable version of the system from the source code.
In this case, tests can also be automatized, so it is possible to run them at any time with a single command – ensuring that everyone gets the most recent executable version of the work so far.
Standard flow of Continuous Integration
The followed flow consists of diverse phases that facilitate the process of Continuous Integration:
What are the benefits of Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration approaches increase transparency, build automation into processes and create repeatable processes consequent to successes. CI also decreases costs since it maximizes developer’s time and relieves work pressure, helping teams gain more confidence in what they do.
Thanks to Continuous Integration, it is possible to see exactly where problems occur, which allows much faster response and more effective solutions. Besides, workers can avoid problems of instability and poor quality, improving the speed of the development with warranty. The main objectives consist of fixing errors more instantly, improving software quality and reducing the time spent to approve and publish software updates.
However, Continuous Integration requires a lot of discipline and a significant effort from workers – but helps save big in terms of time and resources, so the benefits outweigh the effort. It is very worth it!
Written by KingEclient