There are a ton of different ways to streamline your coding process and make your development process much more efficient than it has been in the past. One great way to streamline your coding process is to actually integrate automation for code deployment. This is also known as something like a CI/CD pipeline.
This guide is going to discuss several important reasons that CI/CD pipelines are helpful for streamlining your coding process, but it’s certainly not the only way to make your development process a little bit more efficient.
The next section of this guide will go into great detail about CI/CD pipelines and some of the positive and negative aspects that you can expect to experience when working with them. If your ultimate goal is to release error-free software, then you are going to need an effective system that you can use to quickly deploy and test code.
The Benefits of Continuously Integrating Code with CI/CD
Your products may be the best in the market but if you fail to do things appropriately, all efforts will be wasted. You must do your best to stay ahead of your competitors. In this article, we'll be taking a look at the benefits you can gain from integrating Continuous Integration and Delivery into code.
Continuous Integration involves the continuous integration of code into a single shared and easily accessible repository. Continuous delivery allows the user to take the code stored in the repository and continuously deliver it to the site of production.
CI/CD will provide users with a fast and effective way to get their products into the market before competitors. They will also simplify the release of new features and the fixing of bugs to keep all customers happy. Many people are unaware of the benefits of CI/CD and have hence failed to utilize them.
What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration is a term used to describe a software development practice that involves the integration of code changes into a shared code repository. Typically, this code integration would happen once or several times daily.
However, CI would encourage frequent small changes rather than larger infrequent changes. The process triggers a build that conducts tests to identify if any part of the code was affected by these changes.
What is Continuous Delivery?
Continuous delivery is concerned about the ability of the system to endlessly deliver integrated code. This code could be in the form of new features, bug fixes, and so on. This practice would make all your "green builds" readily available with just a single click whenever you are ready to release them.
Continuous Deployment is designed to go a step further than continuous delivery. This practice will allow you to automatically deploy every major change that passes through the CI. However, there may be some instances when you don't want to deploy automatically or it doesn't suit the scenario.
Benefits of Integrating Code with CI/CD
So, what are the benefits which users or business owners may look to enjoy from CI/CD? You'll be surprised how useful it can get.
1. Fault Isolation
Fault Isolation is used to describe a practice that involves the design of systems that can minimize the effects of a negative outcome. This means that in the system when an error occurs, negative outcomes will be limited. Limiting these outcomes will reduce any damage which is supposed to affect the system and even make it easier to look after.
A system designed with CI/CD will find fault isolations easier to implement. The faults will quickly be identified and any potential damage will be taken care of. Fault isolations comprise system monitoring, identifying the location of the fault, and triggering this location.
Any bugs that appear in such a system will have a limited effect on its overall performance. Sudden breakdowns and other serious issues will be prevented coupled with the ability to detect and isolate the problem before its effects become too damaging.
2. Faster Release Rates
In a CI/CD system, failures are detected faster and can be quickly attended to, resulting in a quicker release rate. However, the frequency of the releases can only be achieved by developing the code in a continuously moving system.
CI/CD continuously creates small code mergers and deploys them to production after they have been tested. Due to this, the code is always ready to be released. For effectiveness, it's important to develop a part of the production process which is similar to the experience of the end-users. Containerization is a method used to test the code in a production environment and to test the areas affected by the release.
3. Faster Mean Time To Resolution (MTTR)
MTTR involves the measurement of the maintainability of the available features and even gives the average time to deal with a fault or damaged feature in the system. It will help you keep track of the duration spent to recover from faulty features or system failure.
CI/CD will result in a faster MTTR because of smaller code changes and fault isolations that quickly detect the problem. A great way to do business is by reducing faults and failures to the barest minimum and quickly recovering from problems that do occur. Application monitoring tools will help you find and fix failures while also logging problems to become more sensitive to trends.
4. Improved Test Reliability
Through the use of CI/CD, there will be an improvement to test reliability. This improved test reliability is due to the smaller and specific changes made to the system, allowing for accurate positive and negative tests to be performed.
The test reliability involving CI/CD may also be referred to as Continuous Reliability. The continuous merger and release of new products and features with quality control as a priority will guarantee a safer investment.
5. Smaller Code Changes
A major benefit of continuous integration and continuous delivery is that it allows you to change code bit by bit. Smaller changes are easier to handle than large changes that contain huge chunks of code. Due to this, there will be a need for fewer repairs and a lesser chance of future problems.
Through these practices, it is possible to test small pieces of code as they are added to the depository. These practices of small code changes will allow a developer to identify faults or any potential problems before they become too serious or after too much work has been done. This system is ideal for large, remote development teams and in-house development teams that may have issues with communication.
There are numerous tools in the market that work to ensure a smoother transition into the CI/CD process. Testing is a vital part of the entire process because even if you can make quick integrations and delivery, it would be a waste without tracking quality. Also, as soon as you're able to automate more processes of the CI/CD pipeline, the release will be faster and much higher quality.
Why Version Management is Extremely Important
If you elect to follow the guidance that is presented within this post, then you will probably consider setting up an automated workflow to help you deploy your updates into your software program. Along with that process comes the opportunity to utilize version control and in-depth management of code updates.
The really nice thing about using version management within a development pipeline is that it will allow you to quickly understand what portion of your code is creating problems. This is great for debugging glitches and it can help you to quickly find the issue and resolve it within your software.
Most modern software programs will have some form of version management and it can greatly increase the overall efficiency of managing your code and developing for your software.
Staying Organized with Version Management
Keeping your software’s build updates organized is extremely useful when developing new code and deploying it. You can continuously release build updates for your software on a regular basis and always have an efficient level of organization when using version management.
You won’t have to waste a ton of time browsing through your code updates either if something ends up going wrong. You could conveniently revert your software to a recent functioning version or trace down the portion of code that is creating problems and try to resolve it for a quick solution.
With all of that being said, there’s really no doubt that version management can solve a lot of headaches that might pop up throughout the development process. It’s certainly important that you utilize all of your resources to make the coding process as convenient as possible, especially when you plan to deploy new software builds.
Automation is Extremely Helpful for Increasing Efficiency
You should try to take advantage of the incredible amount of help that automation can provide to you during the development process. If you are looking to promote efficiency and productivity in your workflow, then automated code testing and deployment should be a priority.
This can be achieved with an effective pipeline that transfers your newly-produced code through each step of the deployment process until it eventually becomes live.
If you take the time to carefully implement automated code checks and tests, you will spend much less time debugging your code and be able to use that time by increasing the overall quality of your code. This is a concept that many developers fail to grasp and it can generally hurt their efficiency in the long run.
Reusing Code Snippets that have a Proven Track Record
One of the best practices that you can use to save time and improve efficiency is to save code snippets that can be used over and over again. There’s no sense in spending the time to recode similar systems repeatedly when you can simply save the code snippets in a local database and easily access them when they are needed once again.
This can speed up your software development process and make your workflow much more efficient. So many hours can be saved in the long run if you start looking at different ways that you can recycle existing code that you have already produced.
It can be challenging to determine what types of code snippets may be able to be reused in the future. You should try to maintain an organized database with a collection of code snippets that you may want to recycle on a regular basis as you continue to streamline your coding process.
After you build up an impressive database of code, you will likely be able to generate new software builds fairly quickly because much of the code that you are going to use already exists and will only need to be modified a little bit in order to have it function properly.
This is certainly one of the best coding practices that you can take advantage of because it can improve your workflow by a margin that cannot even be imagined.
Having a Dedicated Team of Beta Testers
Instead of using automated testing as your only method of checking your code, you might be able to use a dedicated team of beta testers that will go through your build update and provide you with in-depth feedback about errors or glitches that may exist.
Beta testing can be a great addition to your development workflow because you will actually have experienced human eyes analyzing your software builds before they are deployed. Automated code testing is great, but sometimes glitches and errors can slip through the cracks.
The same thing could theoretically be said about a team of beta testers, but redundancy during the development process is generally not a bad thing if it has to do with improving the overall quality of the code that is being produced.
If you have the option to conduct both automated testing and human-based beta testing before releasing your software builds, then this is one of the best ways to have an effective redundant system in place to ensure that all of your deployed code is error-free.
Expand to New Development Resources as they Become Available
Development resources are constantly being developed and released to try and help developers and coders become more efficient. This could be in the form of plugins, scripting utilities, or some other digital resources that make your workflow more efficient and effective.
You should not be afraid to integrate these imperative development resources when they become available because they could potentially have a major impact on your workflow in a positive way.
For example, if you’re utilizing a CI/CD pipeline, don’t be afraid to add a new automated resource into the equation if you believe it’s going to help you be more productive and efficient. It seems like every other week, something new is being released into the world of software development to help make things more efficient in one way or another.
Don’t be intimidated by the rapidly expanding industry because these forms of technology can generally be harnessed after some time passes to optimize performance and development. By taking the time to implement these resources and utilities, you are not only going to make life easier on yourself but also the entire development team that you are working with.
Final Thoughts on Streamlining Your Coding Process
There are so many different factors to consider when you are looking for new ways to streamline your coding process and improve overall efficiency. Producing error-free software is a challenging task but there are so many different ways to optimize the development process and increase your chances of creating a workflow that works effectively and efficiently.
You should take advantage of development pipelines, automated technology, and other resources that can speed up your development process. Don’t be afraid to use existing code snippets and recycle portions of code that can be reused.
This is one of the best ways to shave off time of the development process and reduce the chances of new glitches being formed in your deployed code. Even if you are not able to integrate all of these resources into your development workflow, starting somewhere is important because small steps can make a big difference in the long run.
With all of that being said, you will likely have to make the ultimate decision when it comes to figuring out which methods are right for your software development workflow. There are so many different ways to streamline the development process nowadays and many options have been included within this post. You should spend some time analyzing your options before making a final decision for what methods you are going to use.