Understanding Bamboo integration for CI/CD Pipeline

Dinakar
By Dinakar
October 23, 2020
5 min Read
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Understanding Bamboo integration for CI/CD Pipeline

There are nearly 23.9 million software developers who code and build programs for businesses and enterprises that look to providing solutions for a better living. This means that there are millions of lines of program code being written this very instant as you read. While there is a lot of programming and development that is going on worldwide, how are people and businesses able to execute these lines of code into real-world practical applications is a question that we must ask. The future of application or software development lies in testing and deployment technologies like DevOps, CI/CD Pipeline, automation, etc.

Software testing has gone through different eras from manual testing to automation to continuous testing. The current testing technologies that most software firms are looking to explore is what is called the DevOps which is part of the broader framework of Continuous Testing, and CI/CD is part of this broader piece of the pie.

What is CI/CD Pipeline?

In the software testing domain, CI/CD pipelines have been exhaustively used to speed up the testing and deployment processes to produce results that are effective and efficient. While some of us already know of the CI/CD technologies and how they function, most of us are still exploring its features and possibilities. To get our fundamentals right, CI stands for Continuous Integration which means that there is a continuous generation of build and test sequences to any program or software package that is built using code. CI monitors the code consistently for any changes or modifications to automatically generate the build and test sequence for the project that you build.  

CD on the other hand also called Continuous Delivery ensures the administration of the automatic infrastructure deployment for the builds. While the CI/CD pipeline is a framework that is available to use, there are different tools that implement this technology to help businesses release their software applications faster.

Bamboo is one such application that implements the CI/CD framework.

What is Bamboo CI Server?

Bamboo is a continuous integration server that is used to automate the testing of any software program or application for a quicker release creating a continuous delivery pipeline. The CI/CD pipeline is instrumental in automating builds, documenting logs, executing tests to assess different parameters of the program and its functionality of the code that is committed. Bamboo integration enables developers to create automated build and test processes for any software program. It also provides a platform to segregate builds that have different targets and requirements, an added advantage is its ability to deploy the program automatically into the server for its release, which saves a lot of time as compared to manual testing. Below is a list of features that are available on the Bamboo platform.

Bamboo Feature

Bamboo uses a repository of code that developers provide to schedule and coordinate the building and testing processes of your application. In order to schedule these automated processes, one would need to have the complete source code of the project, the build, and test scripts.

Advantages of Bamboo integration

A CI server like Bamboo advances the amounts of time it takes to perform builds and deployments. Some of its advantages include –

  • Umteen integrations that are compatible with Bamboo make it all the more faster for businesses to assess and make changes using the test analytical data.
  • End-to-end visibility into quality, release management and status of builds all in one place. 
  • Most of the Functionality is pre-built into the platform with minimal to no need for plugins. 
  • Seamless integration with products such as Jira and Bitbucket 
  • Bamboo’s CI makes it deployment-ready as well. 
  • Tinder and intuitive user-interface makes it easy to navigate through options and tools for a fast and easy functionality. 
  • Different staging environments available on Bamboo allows the QA and developer teams to deploy environments on demand without causing any disturbance to the production environment.
Bamboo integrations

Workflow of Bamboo CI Server

Bamboo’s workflow is pretty straightforward when it comes to coordinating the builds and test suites. The configuration of the order of actions in its workflow is generally divided into different segments and sections which make up the building blocks of its workflow. A high-level understanding of the building blocks of a Bamboo workflow would point you to Plans, Jobs, and Tasks.

Plans consist of a single-stage by default. However, it can be used to group jobs into multiple stages to execute the jobs as and when required. Plans use the same repository to run a series of one or more stages sequentially for faster execution and app testing needs. While you can have separate stages to segregate jobs and tasks within them, Plans ensure that you have everything in one place. 

Jobs consists of tasks that are run sequentially on the same agent. They provide you control over the order of the tasks that need to be performed for your build. Jobs collect the requirements of the tasks to map out the capabilities required for it in the understanding of the Bamboo CI Server. 

Tasks are the smallest discrete working units that execute the commands given to any system. A general task would comprise of parsing test results, executing Maven goals, running scripts, or executing source code checkouts. Tasks run sequentially within a job on the working Bamboo directory.

Integrating Bamboo CI server for your testing needs is sure to help you scale up the pace of your builds and deployments. The several integrations that are supported by Bamboo will help gather all your requirements in one place for execution and implementation. You can easily integrate pCloudy as your cross-browser testing tool to test your websites and web-apps and analyze your test result on the go. For a detailed summary of the steps you need to follow, you can click on the Bamboo integration link here.

Dinakar
Dinakar

Dinakar is a Content Developer at pCloudy. He is an ardent technology explorer who loves sharing ideas in the tech domain. In his free time, you will find him engrossed in books on health & wellness, and playing the guitar. He loves the sight of the oceans and the sound of the waves on a bright sunny day.

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How Continuous Testing in DevOps enables quality in the CI/CD Pipeline

priyanka
By priyanka
July 16, 2020
6 min Read
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How Continuous Testing in DevOps enables quality in the CI/CD Pipeline

We all understand the importance of software testing and how it transforms the goodwill of the business by enabling delivery of quality product to its clients in shorter delivery cycles. It becomes challenging to run the test cases manually by evaluating the quality of each line of code at every step of the continuous Delivery process. This is where Continuous testing in DevOps comes into picture.

Continuous testing in DevOps Pipeline


In traditional ways of testing the software used to pass through different development and QA phases which took more time until the final delivery of the product. According to a research by Gartner, Continuous testing in DevOps is aimed at providing early and quick detection of signs of risks related to the product release. DevOps Continuous Testing is an inevitable activity of the delivery process rather than just a mere stage in the delivery process. The main purpose is to inculcate quality into the CI/CD pipeline by utilizing the key benefits of continuous testing in DevOps.

Continuous Testing in DevOps
DevOps Continuous testing is a critical aspect responsible for seamless Continuous Delivery. It involves the usage of agile development methods and processes into the QA process further providing a productive testing process.

Here are a few points to understand the benefits of Continuous testing in DevOps at the deeper levels:

a. Provides Sustained Risk Analysis:

There has never been any code build that is error free and in a ready-to-release form. Even if the final release candidate has come without any glitches, passes all the tests, it has to be ‘prepared well’ for the final release and approved by the business leaders. Continuous Testing evaluates the code at a deeper level to estimate all the possible risks connected to it so that a corrective action could be taken at the right time without breaking the ‘continuous delivery’ chain.

b. Cuts down the feedback cycle:

The key benefit of continuous testing is that it evaluates the code layer by layer at each stage of delivery pipeline, allowing testers to understand the source of the problem. The actionable insights helps the QA team to act on time and avoid longer queues

c. Broader Test Coverage:

A broad range of tests can be applied throughout the testing process with the help of continuous testing tools for DevOps such as Selenium, etc. It covers both functional and non-functional testing types to increase test coverage by emulating testing like cross-browser testing, API testing, regression testing, integrated testing, unit testing and non-functional testing like security, reliability, scalability, usability and many more.

d. Delivering High Quality Product:

‘Test-early-test-often’ is the key mantra of continuous testing which is self explicable. In order to ensure delivery of high-quality product to the end user, there needs to be a process to continuously monitor the progress along the entire delivery pipeline. Achieving high product quality is the result of continuous testing that strives to finding and addressing risks effectively and by gaining feedback at the early phases of software development lifecycle.

e. Faster Software Delivery:

The whole point of introducing Continuous Testing in DevOps is to speed up the product delivery cycle. Following a multi-point testing at different stages allows the QA team to detect the glitches early and take quick corrective actions so that the final delivery is not impacted.

f. Easy Integration with the DevOps Process:

Continuous testing seamlessly integrated with the DevOps process right from the early stages of the development process rather than functioning just before the release. Continuous integration into the software pipeline enables quick fixes so that the development process can be aligned with the business requirements on time.

Tools for continuous testing in DevOps


For a seamless experience in the entire CI CD process, Continuous testing has to be supported by the best tools for continuous testing in DevOps. For performing smooth Continuous Testing, the Automation Framework has to be integrated with the CI tool, version control and various automated continuous testing DevOps tools to execute different types of testing at various stages of the process. For example, :

  • Using Selenium for performing functional testing
  • Load runner for performing load testing at its best,
  • Secure code analysis using Fortify and static code analysis using Sonar, etc.


Apart from these there are many other trusted DevOps Continuous testing tools available in the market for an efficient continuous testing, like JIRA, Jenkins, Bamboo, Docker, Appium, SoapUI, PagerDuty, CodeCluster etc. The concern is that not all the tools support comprehensive automation solution. Some organizations prefer to create self-made automation frameworks depending upon the version control used to enable complete automation of the CD pipeline.

Since Continuous testing is the most critical aspect to be covered by the business in order to achieve quality product release, it has to be backed by the choice of right, suitable tools and frameworks to achieve speedy and quality delivery.

Challenges in DevOps Continuous Testing and how to overcome them


Even after understanding the advantages of adopting continuous testing in the DevOps process, many organizations face the challenges of successful implementation of it. Establishment of an efficient automation framework is a daunting deal as it involves a huge investment, expertise and effort. Moreover, the organizations are not equipped with the scalable infrastructure to run tests continuously. Also, without a strong coordination among the product, development and testing team, this seems even tougher. Although there are challenges in successful adoption of Continuous testing, with a little sensibility one can overcome it. Here are a few of the key points to comply in order to overcome the challenges :

  • By proper team engagement, the cultural and communication barriers can be dealt with enabling the SDLC team to have better coordination, collaboration and understanding of the scenarios.
  • Reducing unnecessary and extensive testing plans, the focus should be on keeping it simple and logical. Instead, the energy could be diverted to more important test objects in order to create much better measurable results.
  • Automation would ease the successful implementation of continuous testing in DevOps. Well, complete automation isn’t achievable but more the process automation, easier it becomes to carry on the continuous testing.
  • Carry out testing at all stages of production and QA environment would continuously providing feedback to developers to improvise on the product quality.
  • Last but not the least, implementing artificial intelligence and other intelligence programs for problem solving and to think beyond automation at every stage of delivery would boost up the SDLC.


By now we all know how significant continuous testing in DevOps for any business. It essentially brings together all the stages of designing, developing and deploying the software. Merely providing a software product does not help but providing best products faster than the competitors would be the key differentiator of your business. If practiced earnestly, it provides consistent insights about the software development to ensure speedy delivery.

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priyanka
priyanka

Tech Blogger - She writes about Technology, Mobile Application Development, Internet of Things, E-commerce, Computing and Design with the aim to coalesce new media and technology.

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8 Tips to Optimize Your Continuous Testing Strategy

priyanka
By priyanka
July 13, 2020
6 min Read
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8 Tips to Optimize Your Continuous Testing Strategy

In this competitive digital era, there has always been a constant demand for continuous digital improvement. Even if automation is a prominent keyword nowadays, a recent report says that only 30% of the organizations have adopted automation testing. Although the organizations invest a considerable amount of time and money in transforming their development processes, they fail to reap the benefits of the shift in the right direction by choosing only a few aspects of testing.

Change is inevitable in the software development lifecycle and in order to go hand in hand with the ever-changing dynamics and produce high-quality software, it is important to rely on implementing an effective Continuous testing Strategy. The development teams have to be focused on optimizing the delivery cycles and provide uninterrupted business experience.

What is continuous testing?


Continuous testing is a type of testing in which involves evaluating the quality of software often at multiple stages of the continuous delivery process for early detection of errors ultimately providing quality software and business continuity. It involves testing in multiple developments and QA phases to achieve continuous quality and improvement. Continuous testing plays a key role in DevOps using automation tools that help developers in getting quick feedback on the defects and make changes accordingly.

Continuous Testing Strategy

Challenges to an effective continuous testing


Organizations want to frequent deployments but the majority are unable to even reduce their software development cycles because of a lack of effective continuous testing delivery strategy. The success comes when there happens to be a mix of both manual and automated testing consistently throughout the delivery process. It becomes really important to automate every step to move fast in aspects like test design, test orchestration, execution, etc.

Test automation strategy is the backbone of the final product that a business delivers. It should be strong and flexible enough to bear the impact of any change and every variable of the testing process. Let’s discuss how optimizing continuous delivery testing strategy helps improving the testing process and to increase the software quality:

1. Thorough Test Automation Plan


Research says that the majority of the organizations mostly focus on specific forms of testing. For example, few businesses focus on API integration testing and UI testing and a few focus on both individually. But what they lack is a detail oriented automated continuous integration testing strategy that involves all of the above types of testing. Choosing a specific type of testing is right in some business scenarios but a business should always be equipped with a plan that can accommodate any type of testing which can be used whenever the need arises. The real comparison of continuous testing vs test automation will always persist considering the scale and requirements of the business.

2. Initial Trial and Testing


Introducing unreliable and lengthy test cases in the process leads to a huge wastage of time and effort putting the QA teams to get indulged in an ineffectual analysis of each code commit. Instead, the QA teams can do a bit of testing by adding nominal test suites in order to avoid big risks and check its impact along the way. Gradually adding stable test cases. It is important to have more stable test cases than counting how many were executed especially in DevOps.

3. Choosing the best test automation tool


Building a comprehensive continuous testing strategy is a mandate but choosing the right test automation tool is of critical importance for achieving complete stability. It is insignificant to even think of a failure caused merely because the test automation tool couldn’t perform on the assigned UI control on the application being tested. The acceptable reason for a failed test could be either bug or design change but not because of an automation tool. A good automation tool would always add value to the organization by activating continuous release and deployment, by reducing time and maintenance costs, by increasing the reusability of the code and by providing a higher return on investment.

4. Modularizing tests


In order to handle complex integrated applications, introducing modular testing is the best way to breakdown application functionality. Breaking down the app functionality into modules provides a road map and makes it easier to rearrange the functionality into testing representing different workflows. Amorphous tests can be easily redressed by introducing modular testing and decoupling test data, test flow and element locator mappings.

5. Automated Screenshots


When analyzing the test results to find out the causes of test failure, screenshots of the test execution is the best reference in order to dig deeper into the cause of the problem. A reliable automation tool automatically generates screenshots of all important interactions happening during the test run. Screenshot recording is not supported by all the automation tools; In that case, one should reconsider selecting another test automation solution to reap the maximum benefit of this feature.

6. Measuring Test Automation ROI


Major trends like Continuous testing, automation and DevOps and demand for faster continuous delivery have raised the standards for quality software so high that everyone is trying hard to stay competitive by optimizing their continuous testing and development strategy, that too while maintaining low costs. In this situation, balancing the test execution costs cannot be ignored. At some point in time, test coverage needs to be scaled up, teams have to opt for cloud usage which is expensive and acts as a major cost burden. The best idea would be to separate high and low level test requirements i.e performing more advanced integration and compatibility tests on cloud and executing the low level tests on-premise to maintain cost balance and getting the best automation ROI.

7. Track and Monitor


When the development and operations teams work together, they face many operational challenges. Developers are focused on pushing a new update and testers- on maintaining the reliability of the service delivery. Connecting these two points is challenging and these challenges are overcome by introducing continuous testing and DevOps. In the long run, a business should always invest in a system monitoring tool that will help to detect the causes of the gap and back outs more efficiently.

8. Outsource


Outsourcing the QA process extends an additional support system, giving an extra edge in delivering quality service. The veto in the world of continuous testing is that it gives and extra nudge by providing an exposure to the more specialized areas of testing like impact analysis, performance and security testing etc. It acts as a source of energy given to a focused area of the development life cycle. As a result, it becomes a win-win situation for both developers and testers.

Continuous Testing and Delivery is not a luxury but a necessity in today’s era. A well designed continuous testing strategy is the foundation of continuous testing and quality service delivery. Although the journey is full of challenges if planned meticulously, the businesses would be able to streamline and reap the maximum benefits of test automation and continuous testing.

Want to test your Mobile App?

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priyanka
priyanka

Tech Blogger - She writes about Technology, Mobile Application Development, Internet of Things, E-commerce, Computing and Design with the aim to coalesce new media and technology.

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10 Best Continuous Integration Tools In 2020

priyanka
By priyanka
March 5, 2020
10 min Read
Share This Article
10 Best Continuous Integration Tools In 2020

Technology is growing exponentially and to be in the game, organisations have no choice but to be technologically enabled. Talking about ‘technology’ basically means creating solutions that are ‘faster, ‘convenient’ and ‘qualitative’. To keep up with the highly demanding technological dynamics, not only human resources need to be equipped with the contemporaneous developments of this industry but there is also a dire need of highly standardized processes in order to deliver the top-class results. That’s when the need of DevOps emerges. Right from the planning through delivery, the idea of introducing DevOps is to maintain the quality streak by a systematic collaboration of development and automation across the continuous delivery and continuous Integration. To make it simpler, there must be a convenient way to tackle the complicated scenarios without delays and for on time delivery. Hence, the introduction of Continuous integration tools makes it easier for the developers to streamline the development processes.

Continuous Integration methodology enables developers to provide immediate reporting whenever any defect is identified in the code so that immediate corrective action can be taken. It is an important part of DevOps that bis used to integrate various Devops stages. The testing process is also automated and the same is instantly reported to the user. There are innumerable Continuous Integration tools available in the market providing access to different unique features. These have open source as well as paid versions, depending upon the need of the user, the most preferred could be selected. Although all the continuous Integration tools are designed to perform the same basic functions but choosing the best suitable CI tool becomes important in the long run. Depending upon many factors like features, cost, ease of use, etc. more than one tools can also be chosen meeting varied needs and not just the single solution. Comparing the best continuous Integration tools that are available in the market, below is the list of 10 best and mostly used Continuous Integration tools which must not be ignored in 2020.

Continuous Integration Tools

1. Jenkins

Jenkins is a known and the most common Continuous Integration tool available today. Based on various comparisons, Jenkins tops the list. Jenkins is opensource continuous Integration server-based application that allows developers to build, automate and test any software project at a faster pace. It was originally a part of Hudson project started by Kohsuke Kawaguchi in the year 2004 but it was later on released by the name Jenkins in the year 2011. The tool has evolved over the years and has become the most reliable software delivery automation tool. The source code is in JAVA with few Groovy, Ruby and Antlr files. It has almost 1400 plugins to support the automation of the development tasks. Jenkins supports the entire software development life cycle right from building, testing, documenting and deploying. Jenkins comes with WAR file that allows easy installation of the tool which needs to be dropped into the JEE container and the setup can be run easily henceforth.

Key Features:

1. It is an open-source server for Continuous Integration tool
2. It is written in JAVA and comes with thousands of plugins that help in build, automation and deployment of any software project
3. It can be installed easily on any operating systems
4. User friendly interface that is easy to configure and with easy upgrades.

2. Buddy

Buddy is a web-based, self- hosted Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) tool also known as Buddy.Works.Buddy is a serious advancement as one of the trusted CI CD tools. It has an extremely friendly user-interface and is also the simplest tool to use for the web developers, designers and quality assurance teams. Git developers can use this tool for building, testing and deploying the websites and applications using Github, Bitbucket, GitLab codes.

Key Features:

1. Steps for launching containers, automating deployment, and setting up
monitoring can be easily customised
2. Build, Ship and Deploy as inbuilt stack feature
3. Can be deployed to any hosting and cloud service providers
4. Supports Grunt. Gulp, MongoDB, and MySQL
5. Real-time reports on progress, logs and history can be monitored
6. Docker based builds and tests.

3.TeamCity

Teamcity, first released in 2006 is a continuous Integration tool developed by JetBrains. It runs in Java environment and is used to build and deploy different projects. It supports integration with many cloud technologies like Microsoft Azure, VMWare, Amazon.

Key Features:

1. It is a free of cost Continuous Integration tool
2. Supports platforms like Java, .Net and Ruby
3. Allows easy integration with IDEs like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, Visual studio
4. Allows code coverage, inspection and performs duplicates check and creates history
reports of any changes made
5. It supports running multiple builds and tests under different platforms and
environments.

4. Bamboo CI

Bamboo is another Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) software developed by Altassian. It is written in Java and supports other languages and technologies like CodeDeply, Ducker, Maven, Git, SVN, Mercurial, Ant, AWS, Amazon, etc. The tool performs automatic build, testing and deployments. Automation thus saves time and allows developers some extra time to focus on the strategic aspects of the product.

Key Features:

1. Bamboo can build, test and deploy multiple projects simultaneously and in case of any build failure, it provides the analysis and the failure reports
2. Current status of the builds and server status can be monitored with the help of the REST API provided by Bamboo
3. Bamboo supports testing tools like PHPUnit, JUnit, Selenium
4.It is compatible with JIRA and BitBucket
5. Bamboo is related to other products like JIRA, Confluence and Clover by Altassian allowing the developers and the other team members to be at the same page
6. It can also import data from Jenkins.

5.GitLab CI

GitLab Continuous Integration tool is a complete code management platform with multiple mini tools each performing a different set of function for the complete SDLC. It is owned by GitLab Inc and was created by engineers Dmitriy Zaporozhets and Valery Sizov . It provides important analysis on the code views, bug management,CI CD in a single web-based repository which also makes it the most demanded CI CD tool. GitLab CI is written in Ruby and Go and its  core functionality is released under an open-source MIT license, keeping rest of the functions under proprietary license.

Key Features:

1. It is directly integrated with the GitLab Workflow
2. Allows all critical information on the code progress in a single dashboard
3. Free for the community edition, enterprise version is paid one
4. Language Programming CMD build scripts available allowing to program them in
any language
5. APIs are provided to allow better product integrations

6.Circle CI

Circle CI is one of the best Continuous Integration and Delivery tool available in the market. CircleCI provides a great platform for build and test automation along with comprehensive deployment process. It can be integrated with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise and Bitbucket to create builds. It also supports on-cloud Continuous Integration. Because of its strong features and efficient performance in this space, it is highly recommended by experts.

Key Features:

1. It easily Integrates with Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitHub Enterprise
2. It allows branch focussed deployment
3. It performs easy bug-cleanup, runs tests quickly and is highly customizable
4. Easily integrates with AWS, Google cloud and other services
5. Build tools like Maven, Gradle can be easily integrated

7.Codeship

Codeship Continuous Integration tool was acquired by Cloudbees. It is praised by its users for its combination of features for build and deployment. It is efficient, simple and deploys directly from the Github and Bitbucket. Its features of integration and delivery are combined in such a way that it makes more reliable deployment as soon as the code automatically tested.

Key Features:

1. It allows a very supportive environment when it comes to compatibility with different technologies, languages, deployment in different environments of choice.
2. It has a very fast and strong developer support and is very easy to use.
3. It also supports third party tools integration very well.
4.It requires a single sign-up for Github, Bitbucket and Gitlab
5. Allows simple file management configuration, easy monitoring and scale-up as per the need.

8. Cruise Control

CruiseControl is a Java based Continuous Integration platform. It is popular for allowing various source controls, email notifications and build technologies with the help of plugins. It is written in Java and has versions of .Net (CCNet) and Ruby (CruiseControl.rb.) as well.

Key Features:

1. Supplies builders for Ant, Nant, Maven, Phing, Rake, and Xcode.
2. It is an Open source Framework
3. Allows Custom build loops for build cycles
4.Its web interface provides visual status of the builds
5. Provides JSP Reporting for managing build results

9. BuildBot

Buildbot is a software development continuous integration platform that allows automatic compilation and testing in order to validate any changes occurred in the project. It is written in Python. Originally created by Brian Warner, it is now maintained by the developer Dustin Michelle. It is popular for performing complex automation testing of the Development Life Cycle processes and for application deployment. This is among one of those tools that allow distribution and execution of programs parallelly on different platforms.

Key Features:

1. It is an Open source Continuous Integration Platform
2. Automates complex building, application deployment and manages complicated software releases
3. Allows time estimation of build completion as it provides real-time insights of the build progress.
4. Uses Python, C and host requirements of Python and Twisted
5. Supports distributed, parallel execution across multiple platforms and provides extensive status reporting

10. GoCD

GoCDContinuous Integration server is owned by Thoughtworks. It streamlines the build, automation and deployments of complex build cycles. Its top USP is to enable plugins or design custom plugins for any requirements during the CI CD process. It follows business continuity concept under which it sets up multiple servers is possible in order to keep the data readily available at the time of emergency. It is compatible with Windows, OSX, AWS AMIs, Docker, Debian/APT, RPM/YUM, and Zip. It can run tests in multiple languages and provides robust reports on the insights.

Key Features:

1. It is an opensource Continuous Integration server.
2.It allows the deployment of any preferable versions of applications
3.It easily configures the dependencies based on the last report and allows on
demand deployments
4. There are numerous plugins available for this and can also be customised as per the
requirement.
5. It re uses the pipeline configuration keeping the configuration organised with the
help of its template system
6. The entire workflow can be tackled and watched with good tracking and feedback
system allowing the developer to track changes from committing through
deployment at a single place.

Conclusion

The above list of best Continuous Integration tools describes each of the ten tools in detail and covers the best of all along with their main features. This information is insightful for those who still haven’t thought of inculcating these automation tools to build and deploy various aspects of the Software development projects. Continuous Integration, delivery and deployment are very critical and complex systems in the Software theory. They need to be handled with care in order to fetch great results. Choosing the right tool for your business would certainly help handle this responsibility well. It is not about choosing one best tool, but multiple tools can also be selected based on the requirements of the project. As the CI CD continues to grow and evolve, it leaves the innovators with more chances to explore on creating the best versions of such tools.

priyanka
priyanka

Tech Blogger - She writes about Technology, Mobile Application Development, Internet of Things, E-commerce, Computing and Design with the aim to coalesce new media and technology.

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CI/CD Pipeline: Demystifying The Complexities

Suyash Dubey
By Suyash Dubey
March 2, 2020
8 min Read
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CI/CD Pipeline: Demystifying The Complexities

Industry leaders consider CI/CD to be an essential part of the app development cycle as enterprises are keen to reduce the time to market. Continuous integration and continuous delivery help in improving and enhancing the quality of the product while reducing the cost of the project. This blog will help you understand the of a functioning CI/CD pipeline, its challenges, and its benefits. Before we get into the details, let’s have a look at the basic terminology.

  • Continuous Integration
  • Continuous integration (CI) is a software development practice where developers frequently make changes in the code and add it to the central repository after which automated tests are run. CI is the integration stage of the software release process which depends on automation and constant integration. The main goal is to find the bugs and resolve the issue quickly to improve the software quality and reduce the time to market.

    In continuous integration, developers focus on smaller commits several times a day. Developers pull the code from the repository before pushing it to the build server where the build server runs various tests to verify the code commit.

  • Continuous Delivery
  • Continuous delivery is a software development practice that ensures a faster and stable release of the changes in the code. In this, the changes are automatically built, tested, and prepared for production release. The code changes are deployed to a testing environment or a production environment after the build stage is completed. When continuous delivery is implemented, developers always have a deployment-ready build artifact that has passed through a standard test process. In continuous development, the code revisions to a production environment automatically which allows for a continuous feedback loop early in the development cycle.

  • Continuous Deployment
  • Continuous deployment is a bit similar to continuous delivery but is a step further towards process automation. The change that passes through all the production stages is released to the client directly without the need for any human intervention. Continuous deployment accelerates the feedback loop as only a failed test will stop the change from getting deployed to production.
    Continuous Deployment

  • Continuous Testing
  • It is the practice of executing automated tests throughout the software development life cycle. Instead of the old testing method where testing occurs at the end of the software development cycle, CT occurs at multiple stages, including development, integration, pre-release, and in production. It is done to ensures that bugs are caught and fixed at the earlier stages in the development process, saving a significant amount of time and money.

    continuous testing

    While building an application that will be deployed on the live servers there will be a team of developers responsible to write the code. The developers commit the code into a version control system like Git, from where it goes to the build phase. The built is then sent to the next phase with a proper version tag.

    For instance, you have a code that needs to be compiled before execution. When the code enters the built phase, all the features of the code are merged from various repositories and compiled using a compiler.

    The next phase is the testing phase where various types of testing are performed. Sanity testing and unit testing are the most crucial part of this process as individual units of the built are tested to check if they meet the requirements.

    The builds are moved to the deployment phase after passing the test and then pushed into a test server. Here developers simulate the product in a production-like environment to examine the features.
    What is a CI/CD Pipeline?

    Before the build features are deployed to production, the automation test phase will perform the final tests to qualify the features. continuous testing is implemented in this phase to ensure there are no bugs remaining.

    In case there is an error at any stage of the CI/CD pipeline, feedback will be sent to the development team so that issues are addressed immediately. Thereafter, code changes will go through the production pipeline once again.

    In the final phase, the code is moved to the production server after code passes all the tests. The constant feedback loop helps make the CI/CD pipeline a closed process where builds are continuously committed, tested, and deployed to production.

    Challenges in CI/CD Pipeline

    Limited environments

    During the CI/CD pipeline implementation, a limited number of shared test environments increases the risks of a bottleneck. You would need to reserve an environment to avoid multiple CI/CD pipelines running side by side from attempting to deploy and test in the same environment. One of the leading causes of deployment failures is misconfigured environments modified by previous teams or test runs.

    Security and Ownership

    Sometimes it’s difficult to know who needs to fix the pipeline when the stages fail as delivery pipelines span multiple teams in an organization. An owner has to be assigned at every stage of the CI/CD pipeline who will be responsible to fix the issues and ensuring that the delivery runs smoothly. The owner will also contribute to the feedback-driven improvement of the pipeline.

    The orchestration tool used by the team should have an effective security model that could provide better visibility into the state of the entire CI/CD pipeline. For instance, to identify the causes of test failure, the team would have to examine the result of the test phase. But they should not be given permission to modify or disable the configuration of that test step.

    Managing multiple custom CI/CD pipelines

    There will be multiple CI/CD pipelines in large organizations as they have diverse portfolios spanning different departments, technology platforms, and customers. It would be difficult to analyze metrics like throughput, successful execution, and cycle time if every pipeline ends at different stages in the delivery process. It’s easier to manage a large set of CI/CD pipelines if each one is based on a standard template. This will help in meaningful comparative reporting and it will provide useful feedback to improve other pipelines.

    Massive applications

    Large apps with several components that need to be compiled, tested and deployed are tough to update incrementally which leads to long testing and deployment cycles. It’s harder to perform quality control and root cause analysis as multiple teams commit several changes at the same time. It’s difficult to create a standardized delivery pipeline as the release process needs to differ slightly. Teams often initiate a workstream to incrementally break out components of the app into different modules so that they can be built and deployed separately, allowing for faster feedback cycles with smaller sets of code change.

    Why CI/CD matters

    CI/CD provides several benefits for your software development team including improving developer productivity, automating the process, improving code quality, and delivering updates to your customers faster. Let’s have a look at some more benefits of implementing a CI/CD pipeline.

    Improve Developer Productivity

    CI/CD practices enhance your team’s productivity by freeing developers from manual tasks, working on complex dependencies, and returning focus to delivering new features. Instead of integrating their code with other parts of the business and spending time on how to deploy this code to a platform, developers can focus on coding logic that delivers the features you need.

    Automated Software Release Process

    Continuous delivery provides a method for your team to check-in code that is automatically built, tested, and prepared for release to production so that your software delivery is efficient, resilient, rapid, and secure.

    Improve Code Quality

    CD can help you discover and address bugs early in the delivery process before they grow into larger problems later. Your team can easily perform additional types of code tests because the entire process has been automated. With the discipline of more testing more frequently, teams can iterate faster with immediate feedback on the impact of changes. This enables teams to drive quality code with a high assurance of stability and security. Developers will know through immediate feedback whether the new code works and whether any breaking changes or bugs were introduced. Mistakes caught early on in the development process are the easiest to fix.

    Deliver Updates Faster

    CD helps your team deliver updates to customers quickly and frequently. When CI/CD is implemented, the velocity of the entire team, including the release of features and bug fixes, is increased. Enterprises can respond faster to market changes, security challenges, customer needs, and cost pressures. For example, if a new security feature is required, your team can implement CI/CD with automated testing to introduce the fix quickly and reliably to production systems with high confidence. What used to take weeks and months can now be done in days or even hours.

    In a Nutshell

    Continuous integration and continuous delivery is an ideal solution for an organization’s app development teams. Developers just need to push the code to a repository. The code will be integrated, tested, deployed, tested again, merged with infrastructure, go through security and quality reviews, and be ready to deploy with extremely high confidence. A CI/CD pipeline helps improve code quality and software updates are delivered quickly.

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    Suyash Dubey
    Suyash Dubey

    Suyash is a content strategist at pCloudy. He is a frequent contributor to the world's leading mobile technology blogs and tech forums. In his spare time, you will find him reading detective novels, watching a documentary or exploring a new destination.

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