The traditional waterfall method of software development doesn’t dictate how frequently or regularly you integrate all of your code during a project. In turn, software developers often work separately for hours, days or even weeks without realizing how many bugs they’re generating or testing their code.
Agile software development teams often find that they’re slowed down by the long QA sessions that occur at the end of long integration cycles. For this reason, continuous integration often proves beneficial and increases efficiency among Agile teams.
Continuous integration involves integrating code into a shared repository and producing a clean build of the software several times a day. It’s a way to increase code quality without putting an extra burden on your software developers.
Continuous integration involves several practices:
- Maintain a central code repository
- Maintain separate branches of the code for distinct features and bug fixes.
- Automate the build
- Make your build self-testing
- Every commit should build on an integration machine
- Keep the build fast
- Test in a clone of the production environment
- Make it easy for anyone to receive the last task
- Everyone should see what’s happening
Learn more about the benefits of continuous integration and how it helps improve efficiency among your software development team.
Benefits Of Continuous Integration
In the past, software developers finished a build, took all the code and compiled it into one location. This was done manually by the whole team and took a significant amount of time, resulting in QA waiting around for the build to finish before starting its work.
Continuous integration makes builds less of a burden and improves software development by automating the entire process. It allows QA to go into a build as soon as code is merged, and your developers don’t have to worry about getting everything done at once. Also, system administrators don’t have to stress about messing up the build at the very end.
Additional benefits of continuous integration in Agile software development include that it:
- Enables easier setup of automatic software testing
- Increases visibility to specific issues in the code, leading to better communication
- Allows you to fail early in the project and correct your mistakes
- Helps you solve problems quickly and makes bugs easier to find
- Reduces integration problems, allowing you to deliver software faster
- Allows you to spend less time debugging and more time adding features
- Reduces overhead across the software development and deployment process
How Continuous Integration Helps Teams Work More Efficiently
At the core of continuous integration is collaboration, which naturally leads to increased efficiency among software development teams.
Continuous integration helps your QA engineers, product owners and other stakeholders work seamlessly together. Instead of waiting for everyone to finish before moving onto the next task, teams are able to work at the same time.
It also takes the guesswork out of what features are ready to test. Proper use of Git workflows to segregate features and bug fixes in builds ensures software developers are communicating what’s ready for testing during their code submissions.
With continuous integration, you know that all of the right pieces, features, documentation and test cases are in the proper places. This allows people outside of your technology team to kick off deployment, allowing your developers to spend their time on other software tasks.
By integrating your code into a shared repository as often as possible, you help improve efficiency within your software development team. In turn, you’re able to deploy software in iterations as long as it passes testing. By adopting both continuous integration and deployment, you reduce risk, catch bugs sooner and reduce time to market.
Published first on Small Footprint website.