You may be new to Continuous Integration (CI) or have tried this development practice before and are simply looking for ways to optimize the process; this blog is for you.
Continuous Integration (CI) and its main goal
Before we dive in, let’s talk about the main goals of CI practices.
The objective of contemporary application development is to have numerous developers working concurrently on various aspects of the same app. However, the effort that results can be laborious, manual, and time-consuming if an organization is set up to combine all branching source code in one day (known as "merge day"). This is where Continuous Integration comes in.
Continuous Integration refers to the build and unit testing stages of the software release process. Its goal is to simplify developers' lives by giving them immediate feedback through internal tests and linting rules that your team established when they merge their locally generated code to the trunk/main branch. Every revision that is committed triggers an automated build and test.
Optimization tips for your CI configuration
- Maintain a steady deployment procedure: It is crucial that your team deploys consistently from start to finish. Your goal of achieving rapid releases will be hampered by inconsistent processes, which only result in time and effort lost and huge headaches. This will provide an equivalent level of consistency in various environments.
- Run your tests automatically: You must execute your tests on each change pushed back to the main branch to use continuous integration. To accomplish this, you will need a service that can monitor your repository and listen for new pushes to the codebase. You have a wide range of options for both on-premises and cloud-based systems. For example, CTO.ai’s Developer Control Plane has 1-click integration with your GitHub organization.
- Containerization: We occasionally experience the problem where changes to the code work on our local Machines but not in the production environment. There are many environments and permission variations between your local machine and the production server. These are frequently difficult to find and can extend production debug times. Containers can help with that. No matter what environment you're using, your artifact will operate precisely the same, thanks to containers.
- Monitoring and Observability: You may improve by learning about what's happening as your pipeline moves through the various steps. Ensure you're monitoring your pipeline the way you typically monitor your application. Send the appropriate teams a notification if any mistakes arise during the process. You may undertake tests to determine what to measure and a number of tools to monitor your pipeline. DORA metrics and baseline hardware metrics such as CPU utilization, Memory usage, Disk usage and Network bandwidth are some great starting points. By performing this type of monitoring, you can determine your pipeline's steady state, and by visualizing it, will highlight any abnormalities more clearly.
- Integrate early and regularly: Whether you use feature branches or trunk-based development, developers must integrate their updates as fast as feasible on the main repository. You risk too many conflicts to review when you merge the code back into the main branch. Early integration reduces the changes, making it simpler to comprehend conflicts. The ability to share expertise among engineers will also be facilitated by the smaller changes to review.
Using the tips above, continuous integration doesn't have to be some mysterious arcane technique used solely by large enterprises. While CI can seem simple to implement, there must be a genuine commitment by the teams involved for it to be successful. Correctly implemented Continuous Integration will result in a sharp increase in productivity and efficiency, which will speed up and improve deployment times.
CTO.ai, a tool for configuring and building your CI/CD deployments faster, lets you maintain consistency in your deployment process seamlessly and can version every part of your workflow to quickly fix blockers in your delivery tooling and improve your Developer Experience.
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Author: Israel Tetteh