“When a C-level person approves a project and analysts come up with a big list of requirements, these aren’t really requirements — they are guesses, or hypotheses,” as once rightly reckoned by Jez Humble, author of ‘Continuous Delivery: Reliable Software Releases through Build, Test, and Deployment Automation’.

As his co-author David Farley contends too; rapid, incremental delivery of high quality, valuable new functionality to users need to be enabled to survive in a world where software release is not just painful but also risky.

When it is hard to put a finger on how the product will actually address the needs of its target customers, continuous delivery jumps in, making it easy for both coders as well as business-suits to iron away the kinks.

It is all about small frequent changes, testing at every step, and discovering more quickly so that one has a good grip on how well a new product or feature will work.

Like using the notion of a deployment pipeline — an automated process for managing all changes, from check-in to release. Or wielding an ecosystem approach to support continuous delivery, from infrastructure, data and configuration management to governance.

Once the code is ready to be published, the developer delivers the readycode to the environment which falls under the process of Continuous Delivery. The delivery of code to the user base is constant, whether the delivery is made to the QA or the customers for feedback, review or inspection. In this process, business logic tests can be fed which usually do not take place in CI. This process is an easy task for the developers as various issues are detected before the task has been fed to the next step.

Welcome to the world of Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment.

For any quality software development, we need both Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. These two approaches are used together (CI/CD) to enable faster delivery of software, bug fixing and the addition of new features.

In Continuous Integration, codes are regularly tested to catch any issue that can be fixed immediately by the development team. In this practice, the development work is merged with the mainline to test the changes and check whether those changes are working or not. Mostly, the work is done by automated tests technique in CI that requires a build server created specifically to perform the required tests wherein simultaneously, the developers merge requests for changes during the tests.

How Does Automated Testing Fit Into DevOps?

For any business to be successful, it is imperative to focus on the quality and speed of the product or service. With an integrated set of principles and practices,an organisation can deploy software faster and better. This can be made possible by creating an efficient environment of accepted DevOps practices that use a shared set of tools to ensure software delivery success without having to compromise on quality. Needless to say that testing is a critical part of software success and so, successful teams are integrating DevOps practices and fully automated tests into their software development cycle. Many companies are now considering Agile software development to accelerate the faster release of the software.But for that, the testers should test the API services for business logic and processes to maximise the benefit of automation.

There is an increased need to develop and deploy cloud-based applications across different platforms more quickly,and so it compels the development and operations team to collaborate and provide quality results. Automated provisioning of the integration builds; test automation and deployment of the builds with the help of DevOps solutions greatly benefit the organisation by continuously providing a high functioning environment for efficient performance and correctness.

For example: Shipping the code on a regular basis has a great risk of being broken and as the codes are complex, even a small error can bring about repercussions. Not only there is a risk of breaking, frequent changes introduced by a group or a person involved also involves a higher risk of introducing errors. Automation of CI here plays a significant role by eliminating or reducing the introduction of errors caused by people. When the testing and deploying is taking place multiple times a day, with the help of automation, ultimately, cleaner codes are delivered quickly to the customers.

Understanding the CI-CD Pipeline

The following are the stages of a Continuous Integration-Continuous Delivery Pipeline:

The constant demand for faster delivery cycles is insisting more streamlined process,i.e. CI-CD pipeline to ensure that the team releases the regular flow of software updates into the production to fasten the release, lower the costs and reduce/eliminate the risks involved with the development. By streamlining the process, not only is the organisation able to deliver the process on time but is able to receive user demand, gauge market shifts and rectify any kind of errors.

The fully automated CI-CD pipeline is the most ideal proposition for any software developing organisation.

Commit: The development team takes a request and designs a solution around it, converts it into a code and after testing it, commits the code to the main repository. The developers commit the code after making the changes and update the change, sometimes, several times in a day.

Build: The new piece of software of the change is built from the extracted code and is unit tested. With the help of Continuous Integration, each step is automated after the codeis written.

Testing: To be able to meet the requirements, the software is tested thoroughly using various methodologies to make sure that the application is successful and without any errors. In this stage, the testing environment should mirror the production environment to test the software in the same environment that the end users are accessing it in.

Automated Deployment: The last stage is the automated continuous deployment of the application after any configuration changes are being made by the development and accepted by the QA team.

Benefits of an Automated Continuous Deployment Process

With the help of automated CD process, the time and cost of tests, QA and production processes are minimised and the time taken to deliver the production-ready code is reduced.

Following are the benefits of an automated CD process:

Low Costs: Various fixed costs are eliminated that are linked to building and testing changes.

Faster Release Cycles: Automation logically fastens the process of build and deploy wherein the team quickly works on the changes, releasing the product in user’s hands faster.

High Quality: With CI, the developers can find bugs and fix them faster. When the automated regression and parallel tests are run, the application is ensured to be bug-free and compatible to work in a wide range of environments. Also, continuous updates to the software will ensure customer satisfaction.

Risk Reduction: Since the new features are added regularly and bugs are being fixed continuously, the risk of finding bugs in the production is visibly reduced and those that are found are resolved faster.

Better ROI: With continuous features and bug fixes, the business will get a market advantage by meeting the rapid changes in the trends and delivering software that meets the current demands.