What is a CI/CD pipeline

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery or CI/CD are a set of guidelines and principles that allow development teams to update code onto version control systems after having implemented minute changes and modifications. It also involves the ability to deliver changes and updates (new updates, bug fixes and improved features) to the user and/or client in the quickest and most efficient way possible. Software development teams today use CI/CD pipelines more offten today. The reason is to increase product delivery cycle.

The CI/CD philosophy works in a very efficient way, allowing development teams to stay in touch with colleague contributions and changes and, allowing clients and users of the application/system to be notified of regular modifications.

Continuous Integration

Continuous Integration is a Software Engineering conduct that focuses on members of a team contributing their work done in order to allow for code integration. Contribution and Integration is often carried out on a daily basis, in order to allow for feature updates to be performed and greatly reduces, if not prevents, issues that arise with Integration.

CI encourages users and members of a team to contribute their code and update the changes made on to a Version Control system chosen by the team. It allows for the automated testing and building of code stored in the Version Control system and in most cases, is executed whenever an update or change is made (ex – a member commits a change to the version control system)

Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery (CD) is technically more or less the same as CI, with the exception that it focuses mainly on clients and users of the system being developed. Continuous Delivery is the process of being able to transfer changes of all types (software/application updates, bug fixes, feature updates, experimental add-ons, configuration changes etc..) into the hands of potential users and expecting clients.

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CI is achieved by ensuring that the code stored on the Version Control system is always in a deployable state, regardless of the continuous and regular changes that are made to the code. All-in-all, the advantages and benefits of following a CI/CD Pipeline greatly surpasses its predicted and proven drawbacks.

Why use a CI/CD pipeline?

At this point, you’ve probably got a good understanding of the CI/CD concept and are interested in knowing why it would prove useful to a software development team. Putting aside the most obvious reason (nearly every single tech company that specializes in or is involved in software development makes use of CI/CD to allow for high efficiency), listed below are some of the biggest perks of adapting to a CI/CD pipeline. Of course, all aspects of technology have drawbacks and CI/CD is no exception! Read on to find out more…

The Pros/Cons of Continuous Integration & Delivery

Pros –

Increases Productivity –
Implementing CI/CD into their systems and applications allows a team to greatly increase productivity. It allows individual members to give higher priority to more important and crucial tasks and greatly reduces unnecessary wait time.

Highly Efficient –
With Version Control systems becoming more and more popular, the adaptation to CI/CD by tech companies has greatly increased. One of the main reasons for this is the ability of teams and members to stay in touch with updates and access changes from anywhere. Errors, mistakes and malfunctions can be easily found and changes can be made accordingly.

Product Quality –
Continuous Integration greatly reduces the risks associated with system failures and breakdowns. This is because deployment is largely automated and defects in the code are detected during early stages.

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Cons –

Transition –
Integrating and incorporating CI/CD into modern development teams and forces can be costly and time-consuming. Creation of repositories and modification of workflow pattern are only two of the processes that would be required. A lot of effort will be needed to ensure that automated testing is set up and that each member of the team becomes familiar with the lifecycle and process of CI/CD.

Costly –
For companies that work on several hundred projects and take development and deployment to a whole new level, initial investment will prove to be a big hit on the bucks! A lot of money will be required to allow for proper infrastructure and equipment to be bought and installed – live servers, testing servers, production servers/systems – they’re all needed!

Limited Skillset –
Enforcing a workflow that relies heavily on Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery isn’t as easy as one may think. The skills related to Git, DevOps and Cloud Computing can be very complex and intimidating, and this is why companies are more likely to hire developers and experts that are experienced in these fields. A slight mistake can cost companies millions of dollars and can have a negative impact on reputation!

With that being said, CI/CD is definitely something worth looking in to! Not only does it aim to target potential workers and developers of modern companies, it also allows clients and users of a system to understand the logic behind the results they see!