One of the favorite techniques for faster software delivery is the so-called continuous integration and deployment, or CI/CD for short.
While in the past, waterfall programming was the most commonly used approach. Nowadays, IT departments worldwide are looking for alternatives.
CI/CD describes two steps in the software development lifecycle.
Continuous integration concerns automating and integrating all aspects of the software development lifecycle. This includes the coding and testing necessary to build and prove that each part of the codebase added to a new build is correct and integrated into a shared repository frequently.
You may also hear the term continuous deployment as it relates to continuous integration. Continuous deployment simply refers to making sure software is deployable to production at any given moment. This includes deploying to a testing environment if necessary, where test automation, such as regression and performance tests, can be used to ensure as much of the software is working as needed by all stakeholders.
Stakeholders could be customers, C Suite, or shareholders. The functionality and design of the application being created can change over time (think Agile), so it is incredibly important to make sure integrity, functionality, and design requirements are met but can be adjusted as needed.
It's important to note that testing is crucial to ensure that mistakes are found early on and corrected before releasing software. If errors are discovered too late, all the following code, or at least the parts based on the defective functionality, is typically lost. Or even worse, bugs could be found by customers once the software is already released.
Lastly, continuous delivery refers to being able to push software into production at any given time. Note that continuous deployment and delivery can be used interchangeably within the CI/CD acronym. CD refers to continuous deployment, continuous testing, and continuous delivery phases.
The key to CI/CDs importance lies in the difference of the process to the classic "Waterfall approach to delivering software," Greg Mooney, host of the podcast Defrag This, says.
In his interview with Alex Oliveri, Director of Professional Services at Progress, he analyzes the method used by software development experts in a CI/CD setup.
With the waterfall approach, the linear process of writing a program can cause significant issues, even in the case of a single bug getting into production. Hours, if not days, of work from the IT department, can be wasted because of superficial reasons, and keeping the threat of that happening as small as possible is part of Progress' agenda. Agile methods have become the go-to for many software companies, and Oliveri is part of the team that provides the necessary supplies for Progress' clients.
This includes communication tools to minimize issues in the software development phase. It's important to note that as much of the software development lifecycle as possible needs to be automated as required by CI/CD, to be genuinely useful and scalable. Otherwise, the software would not be released on schedule and most likely with critical bugs and errors.
Progress' core competencies lie in the upgrading of their clients' IT departments. They provide them with the necessary structure, software, and tools to micromanage and handle day-to-day business with efficiency and scalability. An essential part, according to Alex Oliveri, is the implementation of systems during CI/CD. While others are just starting to implement Agile methodologies in conjunction with automation, there are examples of companies with very sophisticated CI/CD implementations.
The dangers of falling behind in the tech world are immense. For example, deploying only every 18 to 24 months can be very risky from a strategic standpoint. Adopting Agile, along with a CI/CD approach to software development, will ensure that your business can stay ahead of the curve and meet competition in the market with more grace and speed.
Greg is a technologist and data geek with over 10 years in tech. He has worked in a variety of industries as an IT manager and software tester. Greg is an avid writer on everything IT related, from cyber security to troubleshooting.
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