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Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) is a software development approach that aims to automate the process of building, testing, and deploying software changes. It is an essential part of modern software development practices and plays a significant role in delivering software products that are reliable, efficient, and scalable. In this blog post, we will discuss the basics of CI/CD, its must-have steps, possible automation, and reporting, continuous deployment processes, and some of the available platforms for modern-day web applications. Additionally, we will compare Jenkins and GitHub Pipeline and explore the benefits of using them.
What is CI/CD in layman's language? CI/CD is a software development approach that involves continuously integrating changes to a codebase and automating the process of building, testing, and deploying these changes. It allows developers to work on small increments of code and quickly integrate them into the codebase. This approach ensures that software changes are validated and tested regularly, which reduces the risk of introducing bugs or errors into the system. The ultimate goal of CI/CD is to deliver software products that are reliable, efficient, and scalable.
📍 Steps of Modern CI/CD:
Must-have steps in CI/CD There are several steps involved in a typical CI/CD process. The following are some of the essential steps:
🔹 Version Control - GitHub:
GitHub is a web-based version control tool that is widely used for software development projects. It provides a centralized platform for storing and collaborating on code, as well as a range of tools and features to help manage the software development lifecycle.
Create a new repository on GitHub by clicking on the "New repository" button on the GitHub homepage. Give the repository a name and select any other settings as necessary.
🔹 Build Stage:
The Build stage involves compiling the code, packaging it, and creating a build artifact. A build artifact is a deployable unit that contains all the necessary files and dependencies to run the software.
Testing is a crucial part of the CI/CD process. It involves various types of tests, including unit tests, static code analysis, and code quality/vulnerability scanning.
⚜ Unit Test:
Unit testing involves testing individual units or components of code to ensure that they are working as expected. It is usually automated and tests the functionality of a program by passing test values to it.
⚜ Static Code Analysis:
Static code analysis involves analyzing the code without executing it. It checks for syntax errors, indentation, formatting, and other coding standards. It also helps in avoiding extra allocation of memory.
⚜ Code Quality/Vulnerability Scanning:
Code quality/vulnerability scanning involves checking for security vulnerabilities and ensuring that the code is of high quality.
Automation is a crucial aspect of the CI/CD process. It involves automating various tasks such as building, testing, and deploying software changes. Automation ensures that the process is efficient and reliable and reduces the risk of human error.
Reporting is essential to monitor the progress of the CI/CD process. It involves generating reports on the build status, test results, and other metrics. Reports provide visibility into the development process and help identify areas that require improvement.
🔹 Continuous Deployment Process:
Continuous Deployment is a process of automatically deploying changes to the production environment as soon as they pass the CI/CD process. It eliminates the need for manual intervention and ensures that software changes are delivered quickly and efficiently.
📍 Widely Used CI/CD Platforms:
CI/CD Platforms available for modern-day web applications: Several CI/CD platforms are available for modern-day web applications. Some of the popular ones are:
Jenkins is an open-source automation server that supports the entire CI/CD process. It provides a vast number of plugins that allow users to customize their CI/CD pipelines.
⚜ GitHub Actions:
GitHub Actions is a CI/CD platform that integrates with GitHub and allows developers to automate their workflows directly from their repository. It provides a wide range of pre-built actions and allows users to create custom workflows using YAML files.
🔹Benefits of using Jenkins Pipeline:
Jenkins Pipeline is a powerful tool for building and managing CI/CD pipelines. Some of its benefits are:
Easy to use: Jenkins Pipeline is easy to set up and use. It provides a graphical user interface for configuring pipelines and allows users to create pipelines using a simple script.
Customizable: Jenkins Pipeline is highly customizable and supports a wide range of plugins and integrations. It allows users to add custom stages, steps, and actions to their pipelines.
Scalable: Jenkins Pipeline is highly scalable and can handle complex pipelines with multiple stages and parallel execution.
🔹Benefits of using GitHub Actions:
GitHub Actions is a popular choice for CI/CD because of its simplicity and tight integration with GitHub. Some of its benefits are:
Integrated with GitHub: GitHub Actions integrates seamlessly with GitHub and allows users to automate their workflows directly from their repository.
Easy to set up: GitHub Actions is easy to set up and requires no additional infrastructure. It provides a wide range of pre-built actions and allows users to create custom workflows using YAML files.
Cost-effective: GitHub Actions is a cost-effective solution for CI/CD as it provides a generous free tier and allows users to pay for only what they use.
📍 Comparison between Jenkins and GitHub Pipeline:
The following table provides a comparison between Jenkins and GitHub Pipeline:
|Feature||Jenkins Pipeline||GitHub Pipeline|
|Cost||Open source||Free for public repositories, paid for private repositories|
|Integration with GitHub||Requires plugin||Built-in|
|Customization||Highly customizable||Limited customization|
|Plugin ecosystem||Vast plugin ecosystem||A limited number of pre-built actions|
|Ease of use||Moderate to advanced||Beginner-friendly|
|Documentation||Extensive documentation||Clear and concise documentation|
CI/CD is an essential part of modern software development practices and involves several steps, including DVC-GitHub integration, Build, Test, Automation, and Reporting. Continuous Deployment automates the deployment process, eliminating the need for manual intervention. Several CI/CD platforms are available for modern-day web applications, including Jenkins and GitHub Actions. Both platforms have their benefits and limitations, and the choice ultimately depends on the user's specific requirements.