A Complete Guide – What is a CI/CD Pipeline?

a complete guide - what is a ci cd pipeline

Keep moving – a simple yet vital truth of life hides behind these two words because being stuck could only do harm. 

Interestingly, continuous movement cannot just pull you out of your stagnant state. It has the capability to keep the wheels of software development running smoothly and at an exceptionally faster speed. A philosophy behind the emergence of the Continuous Integration/ Continuous Delivery CI/CD pipeline framework. 

In this blog, we present to you a comprehensive guide to CI/CD pipeline, its benefits and the mechanism behind it. Stay tuned because you are up for a fun ride!

What is Continuous Integration (CI)?

Before we right away dive into defining what Continuous Integration (CI) is, we would like to delineate the software development process for you in very plain words –

  1. Firstly, many developers build a code
  2. The built code is tested 
  3. If it is flawless, the work of all the developers gets integrated
  4. The work is packaged and sent to the repository
  5. The software is then deployed to production

Before Continuous Integration (CI) entered, the software development process ran in batches. First, the developers will build a code. After they are done and dusted with the code, it goes through a rigorous and long testing cycle. If bugs are detected, the code is naturally sent back to the respective developers for changes. When they are done with the fixing process, the code is again tested. If things go all right, the code is integrated and the further process begins. 

When Continuous Integration (CI) happened, each step of the software development process started to happen simultaneously, all at the same time. This was made possible because CI automated the process through a build server. The build server receives the code changes, tests it and integrates it readily, if there are no glitches. 

Hence, the code was built, tested and integrated all at the same time through Continuous Integration (CI). 

What is meant by Continuous Delivery (CD)?

Your software is integrated. The work of Continuous Integration (CI) simply ends here. 

This integrated software has to be packaged and tested, before it is deployed to production. Before Continuous Delivery (CD) entered the software development scene, the software may fail the testing or suffer from bugging issues while being sent for production. All this resulted in delay in the release of a software product and infrequent modifications to it. 

Continuous Delivery (CD) solved this problem. It devised a repository that integrated the code changes made by a developer automatically into the software while it is being deployed in production. It is very clear that Continuous Delivery (CD) requires the whole software development process, from building to deployment, to be automated and hence, necessitates the use of Continuous Integration (CI). 

With CI/CD, all the stages of the software development process happen in melodic synchronicity, facilitating quality software development in significantly less time. 

What is the meaning of CI/CD Pipeline? 

When Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) are merged to form a single, integrated process, the resultant is CI/CD pipeline. 

The CI/CD pipeline illustrates a framework that enables reiterative and automated building, testing, packaging, and deployment of a software product. The pipeline facilitates testing of the software on a continuous basis via an automatic mechanism. When such happens, the software product is top-notch and the software development process is quick and rhythmic.

What are the various elements of a CI/CD pipeline?

what are the various elements of a ci/cd pipeline

The concept of CI/CD pipeline is dynamic and is bound to create boundless curiosity in your minds. To know the CI/CD pipeline framework better, let us get a detailed understanding of the various stages that constitute it.

A CI/CD pipeline produces eminent softwares frequently at a very effective speed by adopting an agile methodology throughout the software development process. We have enlisted below the various stages of a CI/CD pipeline framework below –

  • Source Stage –

The CI/CD pipeline will be initiated at the very moment a change is made by the developer in the code present in the source code repository. As soon as that occurs, the next stages of the pipeline start taking place automatically.

Most of the time, the CI/CD pipeline sets off because a change has been made in the code of the software. However, it can also activate when you want it to or if you have set a schedule for software.

  • Build Stage –

You are well aware that multiple developers are involved in building software. These developers have naturally used different tools and systems to produce the code. If you have to integrate such diverse codes, it may become perplexing for you. Their qualities may vary considerably.

Here comes the build stage of the CI/CD pipeline to save you from all the confusion. In the central repository for the build stage, all the codes from multiple developers will be automatically deposited. With the use of advanced techniques, the codes will be equalised in order to bring consistency on a whole.

Also, the build stage in the CI/CD pipeline will take care that the significant differences between the environments of development and production are neutralised for good. Doing so ensures that the software will be devoid of glitches.

  • Testing Stage – 

The codes have been standardised and hence, can be readily integrated. However, between standardisation and integration occurs a very crucial stage of the CI/CD pipeline framework. That stage is the testing stage. 

It is quintessential for you to test the code and be assured of its faultlessness before the software reaches the production stage. Through the CI/CD pipeline framework, the codes go through automated tests. These tests are conducted unit-wise and as a whole. 

Testing stage is advantageous for software development as it quickly detects the faults and sends them to the developer for the modification. Secondly, it saves the company from incurring expenses in case a faulty software had gone for production. Lastly, it produces a high-performing software which readily satisfies its users.

  • Deploy Stage –

The last stage in the CI/CD pipeline framework is deployment. You are required to deploy the updated version of your software to production. When using the CI/CD pipeline framework, you can do so automatically.

Through the CI/CD framework, you can schedule the deployment of the software to the production. You can even schedule the release of the software to a set of target audience. Everything can be done automatically from building to deployment via your CI/CD pipeline. 

Therefore, if there is a problem detected in your software, your automated system will roll it back on its own. 

What are the benefits of a CI/CD pipeline?

what are the benefits of a ci-cd pipeline itechnolabs

The CI/CD pipeline can bring a ground-breaking transformation in the way you develop your software. We have enlisted below the perks that you can enjoy using a CI/CD pipeline framework –

  • Lesser Time to Market – 

The very obvious benefit of a CI/CD pipeline is that it fastens the software development process. Consequently, your software reaches the market way before your competitors. Hence, the CI/CD framework enables you to capture more user base than your competitors. Also, with CI/CD framework, you quickly integrate changes to your software and give an innovative edge to your users.

  • Speedy Feedback –

Testing is a crucial part of the CI/CD pipeline framework. With all the stages of the software development life cycle happening simultaneously, you will be able to find out the defects in your software earlier and resolve it before your software reaches the production stage.

  • Reduced Costs –

As all the stages of the software development are automated, you save time and resources on testing and deployment. Also, early detection of bugs results in lesser time spent on fixing the code and hence, reduction in the overhead costs.

  • More Innovation –

When you use a CI/CD pipeline framework, you save a lot of developer-hours which you would have spent on reiterative, manual work. By doing so, your developers can focus more on devising a proficient development process and adding more creative features to your software to increase its user experience.

  • Quantifiable Progress –

The CI/CD pipeline framework offers you numbers at your fingertips regarding all the processes of software development. With such detailed analysis, you and your team members can determine the areas which need immediate attention. Also, the areas, which are showing exceptional performance, can be further improved.

With so many benefits in a row, it is very difficult to say no to CI/CD pipeline framework. Why will you say no when the framework can metamorphose the software development process for you and bring seminal results? You certainly cannot.

How can iTechnolabs help you for CI/CD pipeline?

how can itechnolabs help you for ci cd pipeline

iTechnolabs is an established web development company which has performed brilliantly on the software development front. Our developers are well versed with the latest technical know-how and hold the power to make your software ideas real. We have all the contemporary tech stack to support revolutionary software and app development processes.

Our digital wizards possess fluency in CI/CD pipeline framework. We have optimally automated the software development processes for our diverse clientele to help them design ultra-modern software seamlessly in a lesser time. Just contact us and accelerate your software development process right now. 

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