What Are CI/CD Pipelines?
written by Bash Sarmiento
The most fundamental part of any automated software engineering project is a CI/CD pipeline. The utilization of automation to guarantee code quality is an important component of the CI/CD workflow. Test automation is used to deploy code changes to various environments, deliver applications to production systems, and uncover vulnerabilities and other concerns early on as the software changes move through the pipeline. The automation’s task in this situation is to conduct quality checks, evaluating factors like performance, API usage, and security. This guarantees that the modifications made by every team member are thoroughly incorporated and function as planned.
How does it work?
To better understand the process of CI/CD pipelines, it’s crucial to understand what continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) mean and what they do exactly. Firstly, continuous integration is a way of software development where team members can integrate their work at least once daily. This approach involves checking each integration for errors using an automated build. Continuous delivery, on the other hand, is a software engineering approach in which a team quickly builds software products. It guarantees that software can be simply released whenever it is desired. Interestingly, CD can also refer to continuous deployment, a method of software engineering that uses automatic deployment to supply product functionalities. This enables testers to confirm whether or not the codebase modifications are accurate and stable.
Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of CI and CD, it’s time to get into the different stages of this pipeline system.
1. Build stage
During this stage, code created by various development teams on their workstations is added to a central repository. Although it seems straightforward, these complications soon emerge. Along with issues with version control, there may also be issues with the quality of the code, tools, and small variations between the developer and production environments. A benefit of incorporating the build process into your pipeline is that it streamlines developer inputs and offers tools for standardizing environments and software quality.
2. Testing stage
Too frequently, development teams skip straight to the deployment, which leaves your product vulnerable to bugs and errors you may have missed. The testing phase is where the main advantages of CI/CD shine, therefore doing this could end up in an unideal situation. Your CI/CD pipeline can help you automate the laborious and repetitive testing procedure that can get in the way of your team’s efficiency. Any of the several diverse testing techniques may be combined in a pipeline for automated continuous integration. Unit testing and integration testing can be coupled to provide the broadest test coverage. Additionally, testing gives vital details about the software’s functionality that may be immediately added to the code. Additionally, testing results in high-quality software with fewer bugs.
3. Deployment stage
You are now prepared to run our code as you have created a runnable instance that has cleared any and all of your necessary tests. There are typically several deploy environments, such as a “production” environment for end users and a “beta” or “staging” environment utilized from within the development process. You can arrange software releases to production environments or other environments at this stage. Your CI/CD pipeline can be configured to deploy code on a regular schedule, distribute code to all clients or just a subset of them, and even roll back releases in case of any unforeseen circumstances. This way, you get to choose the most effective delivery method for new software to your clients.
Is it worth giving a try?
A key advantage of CI/CD pipelines is the automation of software releases, beginning from your developer’s initial testing stage to your official deployment. The length of the software delivery process can easily be shortened by the more effective use of automated testing in the development phase. It also offers ongoing feedback for improvement in addition to this. Developers can quickly improve their code by responding to the results presented after each test run. In continuous integration, testing is automated to look for integration issues whenever a new version of the code is developed. The easier they are to fix, the earlier in the pipeline these issues arise.
Given these advantages, investing in a good CI/CD pipeline can become a major game changer for you and your business. Your software delivery deadlines and bottom line will improve when you align constant integration and production with your company’s goals and main purpose.
The bottom line
Although setting up a pipeline can take some time and may have a daunting learning curve, the rewards far outweigh the costs, effort, and time invested in this project. CI/CD pipelines have not only evolved into a crucial component of data science, but they also present numerous excellent economic opportunities. By focusing on speed, reliability, and accuracy, you can easily build a pipeline that’s capable of assisting you in finding issues more quickly, implementing repairs right away, and improving overall customer happiness with proper design and implementation.
About the Author - Bash Sarmiento
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated in his works.
I'm a data engineering manager working to advance data-driven cultures by wrangling disparate data sources and empowering end users to uncover key insights that tell a bigger story. LEARN MORE >>
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