There’s a lot of talk about DevOps and Continuous Integration in the tech space right now, but sometimes the implementation of those methods can be tricky.
An effective Continuous Integration strategy requires DevOps teams to manage risks in software development with a range of practices.
Here are five processes you can use to make Continuous Integration work for you.
Automated and Self-Testable Builds
DevOps professionals can use separate machines for software integration to eliminate the tight coupling between the build process and Integrated Development Environment (IDE) that leads to last-minute integration concerns.
Everything needed to build the software should be contained in a separate version control repository.
Dedicated Continuous Integration servers and open source build automation tools can run these builds through continuous testing processes and deploy the product in the required environments.
Automated deployment further eliminates the bottleneck of waiting for other team members to deploy testable versions of the latest software.
Synchronize Version Control Repository
Continuous integration is only possible as long as Dev, Ops, QA and the wider IT team is tightly integrated, collaborative and supportive of each other’s efforts.
From a tooling perspective, effective collaboration requires a separate-but-unified master database updating changes in real-time.
All database artifacts — including scripts, procedures and other assets should be placed in this version control repository.
DevOps teams can enable Continuous Database Integration by using automated database integration, local database sandbox and version control repository to share database assets, as well as empowering developers with capabilities to modify the database and making DBAs a part of the Dev team.
Build a Stronger Foundation and Expand Test Coverage
Limiting test cases to individual assets executed at every check-in to the version control repository ensures the continuously integrated builds are defect-free in combined form.
Tests should be repeatable and performed continuously in virtualized systems replicating unavailable testing environments.
Continuous Integration methodologies allow you to determine how much of the code was actually tested without much manual intervention.
Although some code coverage tools can assess the percentage of test coverage by package or class, Continuous Integration systems ensure this coverage is updated in real-time.
For instance, DevOps teams can run these tools as part of the Continuous Integration server build script every time the version control repository is updated with a code change.
With this information, untested code would never get through to the next stage and the latest test will be conducted across all areas as required.
Enhance Project Visibility
With automated build testing and deployment using a centralized code repository, build feedback mechanisms update Devs and Ops with the latest test results and the necessary progress information.
In cases when the same level of automation for complex builds seems impractical, DevOps teams using manual procedures must establish a feedback loop to bring everyone on the same page with real-time communication and notification of accurate performance and results.
These capabilities ensure the same high standard of reporting is maintained for manual testing practices as available for automated build testing systems.
Follow Consistent Dev Standards
Quality code forms from the ground up, with adherence to common code and architectural standards established for an organization’s specific requirements.
Automated inspection tools enable Devs working on short and quick builds to maintain their focus on quality from the very foundation of the software itself.
DevOps teams should assess every integration build for potential defects that surface after integrating several iterative builds but should be taken care of far earlier during the development stages.
The right toolset is key to Continuous Integration, as is the cultural change that facilitates this DevOps practice.
Continuous Testing presents several areas of improvement for DevOps teams to develop iterative builds in individual, isolated branches and then merge the latest builds in a unified, single and well-synchronized Master branch.
The idea is to ensure all risks are mitigated beforehand so DevOps professionals are not bogged down with endless needs to rework the product — and that gives them time to focus on true Continuous Integration.