DevOps Challenge Day 3⚙️: Continuous Integration (CI)

  • 8 October 2023
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Question: How does continuous integration help in the DevOps lifecycle, and what are some common CI best practices?
 

Answer in the comments below. Next task will be live tomorrow on Oct. 9.


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Continuous Integration (CI) is a key practice in DevOps that involves the frequent and automated integration of code changes into a shared repository or version control system. The primary goal of CI is to detect and address integration issues early in the development process, ensuring that code changes from multiple developers or teams can be seamlessly merged together.

Continuous Integration in DevOps is important because it helps to:

  • Avoid common development pitfalls.
  • Reduce the risk of integration challenges.
  • Automate deployment.
  • Enhance code security.
  • Improve code quality.
  • Identify and fix issues faster.
  • Shorten the time required for validating and releasing new software updates.
  • Establish an accelerated, reliable and sustainable development pace.
  • Improve quality and reduce the risk of bugs.
  • Enable better transparency and farsightedness in the process of software development and delivery.

Some common CI (Continuous Integration) best practices are as follows:

  • Commit early and often.
  • Keep the builds green.
  • Build only once.
  • Streamline your tests
  • Clean your environments.
  • Make it the only way to deploy to production.
  • Monitor and measure your pipeline.
  • Make it a team effort.

Source: DevOps.com, Jetbrains

 

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Imagine you’ve got a pot of spagetti (code) in your hands and you throw it against the wall (the server), hoping it’ll stick. But instead, it slides down and creates a gooey mess - that’s your code deployment without continuous integration (CI). CI serves as an integration guardian to you. It is like that meticulous friend who insists on fixing everyone’s collars at parties. Nobody likes a skewed bowtie or broken code on production. CI also serves as an early warning system. Do you remember that smoke alarm that went off because you tried to make toast? That’s CI for your code. It catches the issues before they become blazing production infernos!

There are several good practice one can follow:

  1. Don’t hoard your code like it’s the last roll of toilet paper during the quarantine. Small and frequent commits help spot the errors when they’re just baby issues and not full-blown crises. Try to commit little and commit often.
  2. I hate vacuuming which is why I got a Roomble. The same principle applies to CI’s as well. If you got a repepetive task, why not automate it allowing you to focus on the fun stuff.
  3. If your grandma knits you sweater, you wouldn’t go pulling threads, right. Once your code is built, don’t change it. It is like an immutable build.
  4. IaC also plays a huge role nowadays, think of it as LEGO instruction for your infrastructure. You wouldn’t wing building a LEGO castle, would you? Similarly your infrastructure should be cofified and versioned.
  5. Imagine IKEA furniture without the manual. That would be a pure chaos. Every CI process, tool, and pipeline needs clear documentation which is why the documentation is crucial.
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Continuous Integration (CI) is a central part of DevOps practices. It help to enhance software development in several ways:

  1. Quick Feedback: providing quick feedback to developers makes faster feature delivery.

  2. Early Issue Detection: CI automatically tests code changes, catching problems early and reducing later remediation efforts.

  3. Collaboration : CI encourages collaboration in the team, on both code and deployment side which in return can only lead to an increase in quality.

Some common CI best practices that I would like to add to the list are:

  • Automated Builds: Use CI tools for automated code compilation.
  • Automated Testing: Employ a variety of automated tests.
  • Version Control: Utilize version control systems like Git.
  • Parallelization: Execute tests in parallel.
  • Security Scanning: Integrate security scans.

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