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
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.
Patrick Turner doesn't like technology; he loves it. He discovered this passion at the age of ten on a trip to a local Radio Shack with his brother. Since then, Patrick has turned his love of technology into a thriving career, amassing over 20 years of experience producing software solutions for a broad range of business needs. Technical skills aside, he’s also known for being one who does the right things for the right reasons, even if it’s not the easiest. But this approach has led to the translation of business needs into viable software solutions. In layman’s terms, he’s a problem solver who’s not afraid to provide the right solution while showing the work it took to get there.
Outside of the Small Footprint office, you can find Patrick somewhere in nature. As an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys skiing and camping whenever he gets the chance. By his side, or by his own admission normally out in front, you'll find his wife Alison and their two children, William and Fiona. Patrick is a man of the world, believes in taking care of others and knows technology can reshape the boundaries of the previously unexplored.
the culture behind the code
Founded in 2003, Small Footprint is a software innovation company. We offer ideation, design, development and managed services to organizations that rely on innovative software to differentiate themselves and improve their businesses. Small Footprint makes custom software easy to manage through client partnerships based on collaboration, transparency and business value generation. We build intuitive software products, integrated enterprise systems and compelling digital experiences. Each of our employees shares the goal of being a part of innovation that impacts people’s lives and invigorates companies.
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