What is CI/CD and How Does it Operate? | Testworthy

Working in the current agile age, you might have come across the phrase “CI/CD pipeline”. But what exactly do these terms mean? CI stands for Continuous Integration whereas the abbreviation CD can either mean Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment.

CI/CD is a popular DevOps practice that automates the software development life cycle (SDLC) processes to integrate and deploy new code, faster. Through CI/CD, whenever developers alter code, it is automatically built, tested, and sent to production. CI/CD pipelines support incremental software development with shorter release cycles. This means new features can be delivered faster. Continuous feedback from customers is used to further improve software quality and maintain competitiveness. With the introduction of high-level end-to-end test automation, test case management becomes essential. Increased automation can be made successful through the right test management tools.

CI/CD involves the notion of continuous testing. Automated testing is introduced early in the SDLC and conducted frequently and continuously throughout the entire software development process. Integrating test management tools in the pipeline helps to simplify test case management. Testworthy is one of the best test management tools to help you manage test automation in your CI/CD pipeline.

Now you know what the CI/CD pipeline is, but what exactly is the distinction between CI and CD? Let’s dive deeper into what these words actually mean.

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Continuous Integration


With the fast-paced development of technology, software needs to be constantly modified and updated. For this, developers continue to change current code or write new code. With several developers working on the same projects, it is crucial that any new code written works seamlessly with the existing code in the system and is compatible with the work of other developers. This is achieved through continuous integration.

In continuous integration, all developers working on a project add their code to the same centralized source code repository (such as that of GitHub). Code from different developers is merged in this shared space several times a day, where it is automatically built and tested. The more often new code is integrated, the better. With good test case management, tests run smoothly and if any issue is found, an alert is immediately sent. Since code is being committed in small increments, issues caused by any change can easily be rolled back. Overall, the CI process ensures that any code addition or alteration is immediately integrated and works seamlessly with the existing system.

Continuous Delivery and Deployment


The term CD can denote either continuous delivery or continuous deployment. Sometimes people fail to differentiate between these terms, but there is an important distinction.

Continuous Delivery and Deployment both involve more automation further along the pipeline. The concept of CD encompasses CI and takes it a step further. Whereas CI makes sure that code is built and tested, CD ensures that it is always ready to be released as well. This does not mean that the entire application should always be complete, but rather that any new features and functionalities added incrementally should work without error. The CD pipeline consists of short sprints to release new features that can be deployed anytime.

The major difference between Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment is whether or not deployment is automated. In Continuous Delivery, the last step i.e., sending the final code to production, requires a human decision. The code is ready but teams decide whether or not to deploy it. However, in Continuous Deployment, new code is automatically deployed and no human intervention is needed. By establishing effectual test case management processes, tests are run automatically based on pre-defined criteria. Once code passes these tests, it is automatically released to customers.

In CD processes, continuous feedback from customers on new features can help improve the software. However, it is a better practice to initially release the code to a small percentage of your customers only, rather than all, so that any error in production can be rolled back before it reaches the majority of the customer base.

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Why Use CI/CD?


The CI/CD pipeline is a vital aspect of modern software development. Here are some of the key benefits:

  • - Automating tests allows developers to redirect their energy to other important areas.
  • - Test automation catches bugs with greater accuracy, hence improving code quality.
  • - Rigorous testing through good test case management improves software so customers face fewer problems and are more satisfied with the company’s products.
  • - Continuously releasing new features and improvements helps companies remain competitive.
  • - Early testing allows you to find errors before they grow unmanageable and turn into major expenses.
  • - Small sprints make it easier for developers to manage workload and meet deadlines.
  • - Continuous testing makes sure that time is not wasted on creating something that doesn’t work.
  • - Errors can be caught and rolled back easily and quickly.

Conclusion


CI/CD is a part of modern DevOps methodologies that allow smooth and fast software development through incremental steps. Good test case management practices provide high coverage test automation to improve software, faster. The right strategy for CI/CD can help organizations enhance software quality, raise customer satisfaction and earn greater revenue.