What is Continuous Integration (CI)?
Continuous Integration is a software development practice that encourages developers to make frequent code changes and build and test every change. This process is a primary DevOps practice that allows developers to merge code often into a shared repository, which enables the team to identify any issues and resolve them quickly.
Why is Continuous Integration Needed?
In the past, developers would work on their code in isolation for extended periods of time instead of working collaboratively. They would only merge their changes to the main branch once they completed all their work. This approach meant it took longer to fix any issues, as they were hard to detect until late in the development process.
Continuous Integration helps reduce the risk of code errors by ensuring that any merge conflicts are spotted quickly and that code is tested every time a change is made. This helps keep any bugs to a minimum and minimizes the impact of errors on your project.
How can CI be used?
Continuous integration is most effective in conjunction with an agile software development workflow. Tasks that need to be completed to reach the end goal are compiled and then distributed among team members for completion.
Software development tasks that use CI can be completed by different developers working at the same time. When a developer finishes one task, they add the new work to CI so it can become part of the project. Then, when another developer needs to use the same code base, they can pull from CI and have immediate access.
The automated tests and builds are run in CI when every change is made. This ensures that the codebase is always up-to-date and any conflicts can be identified and fixed quickly.
What are the Benefits of Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration promotes team collaboration and allows developers to detect code errors early in development. In addition, as CI automates many manual processes, this leads to greater efficiency, faster releases, and higher-quality software.
In addition, Continuous Integration enables teams to continuously ship features and change code, as any errors can be quickly identified and addressed. This helps ensure that changes are delivered faster, with a less manual effort from developers.