Understanding the CI/CD Pipeline: What it is, Why it Matters

Deployment of software has changed over the years. In the beginning, and up until recently, most software development was just that, a linear development process from beginning to end. The old way of developing software has fallen to the wayside because, with new methods, such as repositories, continuous integration (CI), and continuous deployment (CD), you can deploy software in a much more efficient way that catches errors earlier on, and you can speed up the development cycling. Both of these are important aspects when you have multiple developers working on the same codebase. So, what is the CICD pipeline and why does it matter in modern software development?

What is the CI/CD Pipeline

At its core, the CICD pipeline is a way to better automate certain processes of the development cycle to catch errors more quickly and deploy new software builds to users more rapidly. The CI segment of the pipeline is continuous integration, where your software developers are integrating new code into the code base multiple times a day, triggering a rebuild of the codebase with each new segment of code pushed to the repository. When multiple developers are adding a codebase and wait before integrating, the interaction between new code segments can cause errors; however, if your developers are integrating continuously throughout the day, builds can be generated after each push, and if a build fails, the code can be repaired immediately. There are obviously several steps to proper CI, and you can include extra steps, such as using branches for testing purposes before integrating into the main branch for extra reliability.

For CD, continuous deployment, this segment of the pipeline is all about the deployment of your code into releases that users will be using. In the past, the release of a build would be done completely manually, after being user tested in a special environment. However, what if you could automate the process? For many types of software, automated releases are actually a great time saver, and when integrated with CI in a CICD pipeline, the code is already being built and tested continuously to ensure it is error free. Continuous deployment is all about automating good builds to your production releases—although there is also an alternative of Continuous Delivery that includes a user acceptance test environment before it is sent on to the production environment to add an extra layer of assurances.

Why CI/CD Matters in Modern Software Development

The CICD pipeline is about the proper integration of the two segments in a clear pathway to help your team deliver production-ready software. It also helps your team focus resources on things that matter, better automating code testing so that you don’t have to spend developer or tester time and budget on it. CICD pipeline makes your code more reliable as well, with so much testing at every commit, you can catch errors faster and repair them quickly. Lastly, with your team having deployed proper CI/CD, you are more attractive to companies looking to hire development teams; you can promise them more reliable code with a more appealing budget and timetable. If you are interested in deploying a CICD pipeline into your development team’s toolkit, then contact Crossvale today for more information about how they can help you improve your development team’s development process.

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