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What is Continuous Integration and Does My Business Need It?

Software development is an extremely complex process, and these days, there are often multiple software developers working on a single project. This can already cause additional complications, for each developer. Must alert the others when they introduce new code into the process. Consider the fact that team members are often in different time zones, and you can see how difficult this becomes. Still, in a world of big data, automation, and digital transformations, large enterprises need to build better software solutions and keep them continuously maintained in order to stay competitive.

Communication in a large-scale development process can quickly start to break down, and things can become overcomplicated. This can result in poor code quality or slow changes, as well as higher rates of failure as code size increases. Fortunately, there is a way to produce a better production environment with continuous integration (CI). But what is continuous integration?

Continuous Integration Defined

Continuous integration is a software development practice where code changes from a different developer working on the same project are continuously integrated through automation. In other words, code changes are automatically recorded and implemented as an ongoing process. CI is a critical component of Agile software development, which is meant to allow for greater collaboration between developers, so they can make scalable products that are built to last.

You can think of continuous integration as being similar to a construction project. Construction managers and workers go by a blueprint to construct a new building, but you have multiple workers contributing to different parts of the project at once. You also have to select a logical order to sequence the construction. It wouldn’t make sense to start building anything else before the foundation, for example. Each part of the building that’s constructed needs to be carefully installed in the correct way.

It’s the same for development teams. They write new code at different paces and intend for the code to add new features or fix problems in the software. CI tools help ensure that code is integrated in the right way and at the right time. Which helps keep the workflow going.

Benefits of Continuous Integration Tools

Without a CI pipeline, it doesn’t take much for communication between developers to break down. And it can be harder to get a software product ready for launch or to fix bugs in a timely manner. By implementing continuous integration in your enterprise, you’ll reap a variety of benefits.

Continuous Deployment (CD):

CI allows for a CD pipeline. Deployment is the final phase of the development pipeline. This is where the software product is launched and distributed to the end-users. With continuous deployment, new versions of software can be automatically distributed to users whenever code changes pass testing. Think about every time your PC updates or when your smartphone gets on OS update. That’s a CD pipeline at work.

Faster Turnaround: 

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of CI is the time it saves. When software testing and merging processes are automated as much as possible, the development team is freed up to continue focusing on features. Rather than having to hunt down each individual bug in the system. If problems or new viruses do appear that can affect the latest software, developers can address these problems much faster as well. Ultimately, continuous integration ensures that all your data analytics software and other business solutions will be easy to develop, will be scalable, and can achieve sustainability.

Team Synchronization: 

CI also ensures that developers are only ever working on the most recent version of any given software. This is important since even a slight error in code can completely disable software features. Eliminating confusion regarding which version of the software should be developed further reduces. The likelihood of small changes derailing the project and also makes it easier to find any bugs in the software. If you want your organization to have the most up-to-date software available. And to have easy paths toward new software development to remain competitive. Then continuous integration will give you the competitive edge you’re looking for.

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