If you’re an app product manager or equivalent role, then you may have heard about continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). Do you know what they are and how they actually work? More importantly, how do they both impact your day-to-day work? Regardless if you have the answers, this article explains CI/CD.

Why Use CI

CI saves time and money and reduces complexities in your software development cycle. With CI, code integration becomes automated and is continuously integrated with your main branch through various checks on developer branches. As a result, CI frees up developers to work and experiment with code faster than with conventional development workflows.

You can implement CI with your development team by:

  • Building and packaging your app automatically every time updated code is pushed;
  • Implementing automated tests to ensure that any deployed application works as expected;
  • Deploying your app into other environments before making its way into production;
  • Running services such as SonarQube and Codacy to automate code quality and coding standards; and
  • Automating security tests to identify vulnerabilities in new code and dependencies using services like SonarQube, Veracode, and Snyk.

Additionally, CI becomes your first line of defense for quality assurance (QA). On average, we’ve noticed CI cutting down QA cycles by up to 50% – 60%. That’s a significant amount of time and money when maintaining any sort of application!

Common CI Tools

If you’re now considering implementing a CI pipeline for your dev team, keep in mind some popular tools, such as GitHub Actions, Jenkins, and <span”>CircleCI. As an AWS APN Partner, we recommend the following tools for implementing CI solutions:

  • AWS CodePipeline – a service that automates a CI pipelineAWS CodeBuild – a managed service that compiles source code, and runs, tests, and builds software packages
  • AWS CodeDeploy – a managed service that automates software deployments for AWS services
  • AWS CodeCommit – a managed service for storing source code
  • Amazon CodeCatalyst – a service to create, build, and deploy applications

Not every service is designed for your app, so carefully review your options with your dev team or a CI expert like Uplancer. Setting up a CI pipeline is a big investment for your team, but it does pay off as your application grows in functionality and complexity. Not to mention, CI is also a solid pillar to build out a more agile development team.

CD, the Perfect Match for CI

You’ll see continuous integration and continuous deployment used interchangeably. Both are automation tools for app development. While CI is important for integrating your new code into your main repository, a CD is important for deploying the updated repository to a production environment. In simpler terms, CI moves your code into a code repository, whereas CD makes your code live.

When considering a full implementation, ensure that your CI system is capable of running full checks on the application being deployed. That means the removal of most, if not all, manual checks from your dev team. When it’s not possible, automating everything else that you can is still beneficial for the development of a large application.

The Bottom Line

When your team is ready to take development to the next level, CI/CD can help! Both are automation techniques that allow your team to integrate new code quickly and deploy the latest code to production. Investing in CI/CD pipelines can save money and reallocate resources to more important parts of development. Not all developer teams and projects are built the same, so choosing a CI/CD solution needs a deeper discussion. Connect with Uplancer today for a free consultation on whether implementing a CI/CD solution is right for your organization.

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