Everything you should know about CI CD Pipeline
Recently, CI/CD techniques have evolved from a highly specialized topic to a fundamental approach to creating and delivering programs. Although many users use this term all the time, they often need to learn the exact determination of CI and CD. In the article, we’ll take a closer look at these two approaches and discuss the CI CD pipeline as a solid foundation for generating quality software.
Some words about CI and CD
Before we speak about what is CI/CD pipeline, it is necessary to decide on its main components. Continuous integration (CI) is a system for creating programs that allow specialists to merge all changes made to the code into the main branch several times a day. After each update, the assembly and monitoring of the product are automatically launched, which takes no more than 15 minutes. After the successful completion of CI, continuous delivery starts. If the build is inefficient, the techniques limit the transition to the next steps. Specialists receive an error report and resume processes.
Continuous delivery (CD) is a set of DevOps procedures that lets experts instantly and securely add new items and configurations to a workspace and fix bugs. Such deliveries should be regular and guarantee smooth corrections in the code, guaranteeing a minimum release risk level, no stressful situations for developers, and a seamless product in the shortest possible time. Companies that implement CD maintain the code in a ready-to-deploy form; therefore, they may deploy at any time with the desired results.
It is vital to comprehend the differences between continuous delivery and continuous deployment, primarily due to the peculiarities of automation. In continuous delivery, the code is sent to the workspace for review and quality assurance (QA), and once the checks are finished, human intervention is needed to run production. Continuous deployment provides a deeper level of automation; deployment also occurs without acceptance.
The definition of the CI/CD pipeline
The CI CD pipeline is the procedure that manages software created through the development, validation, and deployment of code known as CI/CD. The main task of automating the process is to avoid human error and guarantee a consistent algorithm to make programs. The pipeline contains systems for compiling code, testing tools, security elements, etc. If we speak about containerized environments, this pipeline involves wrapping code in a container picture to simplify deployment in a hybrid cloud system.
CI/CD is the foundation for a DevOps system that brings creators and IT professionals together to deploy programs effectively. Today, a user-friendly application is a vital element of any company, so the rapid creation of code provides a competitive advantage. The most common system tool is the Jenkins CI CD pipeline. It is an automated Java solution that automates actions and generates reports.
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Why should you adopt CI/CD pipeline?
Continuous integration, delivery, and deployment allow firms to generate different code variants as quickly as possible while maintaining consistently high quality. Once CI/CD systems are added, any code adjustments go through a dedicated pipeline that performs iterative build, review, and deployment processes, sending notifications when problems occur. Let’s discuss in more detail how such procedures can positively affect your business:
- Optimal solution delivery: robust workflow allows you to create multiple releases daily. It is a difficult task; previously, only the world’s largest corporations, e.g., Meta and Amazon, could afford such efficiency. With seamless CI/CD techniques, multiple daily releases are available to everyone. Professionals may automatically generate, validate and deploy digital products with minimal human intervention. It can be achieved through various frameworks and tools.
- Reducing the risk of marriage: finding and eliminating flaws in the final stages of product formation takes a lot of money and effort. It is especially true if difficulties begin with projects that have already been transferred to production. By adding CI/CD frameworks, experts may review and deploy codes more frequently, which means they may spot errors as soon as they occur.
- Easy rollback: one of the most popular features of the CI/CD concept is the ability to roll back changes quickly. If specialists have made adjustments to the code that worsen the performance of the software, you can return the product to its original position with a few simple manipulations.
Using an automated CI CD pipeline provides many benefits, from code quality and instant bug fixes to the assurance you’re building the best product to satisfy users and continually improving your code generation.
Basic CI/CD pipeline steps
Sometimes it seems to specialists the CI / CD pipeline creates additional difficulties, but this opinion is erroneous. It describes the steps specialists must follow when creating a new digital product. Even without a conveyor, experts would have to perform such actions manually, which means it would not be as productive. Let’s discuss the main steps involved in the process of creating software.
- Source: initially, the company keeps its source code in a repository, so this stage is called version control since developers coordinate actions and control who does what. This period is also conducive to joint activities because specialists check the codes and consider the next steps.
- Assembly: experts combine the source code and create an example product they may present to users. Depending on the chosen programming language, it may be necessary to compile the program. If a product cannot pass the build process, the system configuration is seriously complicated and needs to be changed immediately.
- Test: currently, experts check the code’s accuracy and the product’s behavior. Such a step helps prevent a product with errors from reaching end users. Depending on the project’s volume and complexity level, this work may be completed within seconds or even hours. There are many different checks, ranging from smoke tests to end-to-end control, which evaluates the performance of the software from the user’s point of view.
- Deployments: if the release successfully passes all the predefined tests, it can be deployed. Typically, there are different deployment environments, including trials that are used within the organization and “production” systems for end users.
- Code packaging: after the control is finished, you can start packaging the code. All the subtleties of performing actions depend on which programming language and which environment you prefer, e.g., for Java, the JAR file is the best solution. Regardless of the type of packaging you choose, try to build the binary once to avoid system complexity.
The stages of the CI/CD pipeline listed above are only the fundamental processes most often include a productive solution. However, these procedures may vary depending on your firm’s needs and the pipeline’s level of complexity. Sometimes the system consists of additional steps, such as synchronizing information or fixing libraries.
Key features of an excellent CI/CD pipeline
When forming a conveyor, it is necessary to consider many details, which means all systems are different. You may carry out similar actions in different ways; some of them will be more effective. Your pipeline must have several attributes to improve the quality of releases; let’s look at the main criteria:
- Speed: a CI/CD system typically has to go through several stages, but an excellent framework can complete all processes quickly. You probably need to optimize if it takes one or more days for the code to move through the pipeline.
- Coherence: an ideal pipeline ensures consistent deployment across different workspaces. If coherence may be achieved, developers can be sure the code will function equally well in the design and QA stages, given the steadiness of the artifact.
- Feedback: a convenient pipeline creates high-quality releases even after countless feedback loops, as the system can return to the previous step or the beginning at each stage. If there are mistakes in the source code, the build will not start, and inaccuracies at the testing time will limit deployment, etc.
Before starting your pipeline, ensure you keep manual interaction to a minimum. Specialists should not perform more than one or two manual steps. If a developer submits a commit and the pull request is approved, patch deployment should happen automatically; there should be no further action. You generate the code, it gets tested, and the CI/CD platform does the rest.
CI/CD best practices in 2023
After you complete the setup, how to eliminate the blocking factors that will arise from time to time? It’s not easy to add an entire end-to-end algorithm, especially for people who are used to working in a standard way, manually packaging programs, and handing it off to different people. There are a few things to do to make the pipeline logical:
- Do not forget about tests: often, experts refuse to use CI/CD because they think such technologies lead to bugs in digital products; such a risk exists. However, it can be reduced to zero if a reliable testing system is created.
- Ensure the structure is easy to execute: even a precision conveyor will have difficulty gaining momentum if it is challenging to start or requires employees with special permission to maintain it. Set up triggers to run procedures after each commit.
- Don’t change the environment: it’s unlikely a CI/CD pipeline will run smoothly if you constantly adjust the space of the following pipeline. All procedures must start from the same workspace.
- Add pull requests: no one says your CI/CD pipeline should be limited to a certain number of branches. By running the traditional series of tests on each unit, reviewers may notice issues before review or even before they are synchronized with the main component.
- Complete visibility: all developers must have access to the files and study any repository changes. Activate version control so that specialists understand which product variant is the latest.
For many complexities, there are effective solutions. Most well-known developer corporations use the potential of CI/CD to create dozens or hundreds of versions daily.
Although the name DevOps hints the solution’s target audience is developers and operators, implementing a CI/CD system forms a solid foundation for collaboration across different functionalities. By improving every step of making a digital platform, you give the team all the data they need about how your software is being used and save specialists from routine work, allowing them to focus on creative tasks.
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