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What is the CI/CD pipeline?

A CI/CD pipeline allows you to automate steps in the delivery process of your applications, such as initiating code building, performing automated testing, and deploying it into a staging or production environment. Automated pipelines eliminate manual errors, provide consistent feedback loops for development, and allow fast product iterations. Continuous Integration (CI), is a software development process where all developers integrate code updates into a central repository multiple times a day. Continuous Delivery (CD) applies the practice of automating the whole software release cycle on top of Continuous Integration. With CI, for a given project, each code change activates an automated build-and-test sequence, providing feedback to the developer(s) who made the change. CD involves the provisioning and deployment of infrastructure and can be manual and consist of several stages. What’s crucial is that all of these processes are completely automated, each run being completely logged and visible to the entire team.

CI/CD pipeline

So, a CI/CD pipeline is an integrated deployment pipeline, with automation tools and improved workflow. If properly conducted, this can minimize manual errors and enhance feedback loops throughout the software development life cycle, allowing teams to deliver smaller chunks of releases in a shorter time. The components and tools needed to build a pipeline depending on the specific needs of the team and the workflow already in place. Following phases are essential in a typical CI / CD pipeline:

  • Build phase
  • testing Phase
  • Deployment Phase
  • Automated testing phase
  • Deployment to the production phase

Benefits of Employing a CI/CD Pipeline

A well-functioning CI/CD procedure is a successful approach for improving the speed of delivery and making each release more useful to end-users. It streamlines the deployment cycle by allowing constant communication among teams and the use of automated processes. Having a CI/CD pipeline has more positive effects than just making what has been done a bit more efficient:

  • Developers can focus exclusively on code writing and control of system behavior in development
  • CI/DG pipeline adds technical values and automates repetitive processes for the product teams
  • When the process in a pipeline is automated and streamlined, it effectively reduces the complexity and cost of producing repetitive tests
  • The latest, or any, version of the system is widely available to QA and product stakeholders.
  • Updates to the Product are not stressful
  • Logs of all code changes, tests, and deployments are available at any time for inspection
  • Rolling back to a previous version is a standard push-button operation in case of a problem
  • A simple feedback loop helps to create a culture of learning and responsibility in the company

It is important for QA and other stakeholders to have access to all iterations of the program. In addition, keeping the latest version updated will help improve the quality and reliability of bug-logged QA feedback. When the release process in the CI/CD process becomes streamlined, product updates are much less stressful to the development team. Being able to put up a CI/CD pipeline provides many opportunities not just to the product team but also to the corporate values of the organization. As they can generate builds quicker, boost launch time and code quality, enhance the productivity of developers, and draw more talent.

Best CI/CD Tools

With the overflowing number of CI/CD tools available on the market, selecting the best tool for projects and teams may be a struggle and to make difficult decisions to pick the right tools is quite a tedious task. This list contains some of the market’s Best CI/CD tools, along with their main features, to help the selection process. Another important requirement for a quality CI/CD tool is the ability to interface with the software for continuous testing.

Jenkins

Jenkins is a continuous integration tool that is open-source and is written using the “Java” programming language. It allows testing and reporting of independent updates in a broader codebase in real-time. This software helps developers find and solve weaknesses quickly in their codebase & automate testing of their builds.

Key features of Jenkins:

  • Provide support for a large number of nodes, and evenly share the workload between them
  • Easily updated to all Linux, Mac OS or Windows operating systems and versions
  • With the aid of its web interface, Jenkins can be easily configured
  • It can easily distribute the work across multiple machines
  • Extensible with significant plugin tool contributed by the community
  • Configuration of a easy environment in a user interface
  • Support distributed builds of master-slave architecture
  • Create schedules based on expressions
  • Supports execution of shells and Windows commands in pre-build phases
  • Supports Build Status Notification
  • It provides simple deployment, as Jenkins comes as a WAR file, all you need is to drop into JEE container and the set up is ready to run

Homepage: https://jenkins.io/

Available to Download: (https://jenkins.io/download/)

License: Free. Jenkins is an open-source tool with an active community

CircleCI

CircleCI is a CI / CD tool that supports the rapid development and release of the software. CircleCI enables automation from code building, testing to delivery, across the user’s pipeline. CircleCI can be combined with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, and Bitbucket to create builds while committing new lines of code. CircleCI also hosts ongoing integration within the cloud-managed option or operates on the private infrastructure behind a firewall. Circle CI is a flexible CI tool that is capable of running in any environment such as a mobile cross-platform app, Python API server, or Docker cluster. This tool reduces bugs and improves app quality.

Key features of CircleCI:

  • Allows to select Build Environment
  • It supports various languages including C++, Javascript, NET, PHP, Python, and Ruby
  • Docker support lets you build a custom environment
  • Every queued or active build immediately cancels when a newer build is triggered
  • It splits and balances tests over multiple containers to reduce overall build time
  • Provides Integration of VCS tools
  • It does not allow non-admins to change critical project settings
  • Boost the rating of Android and iOS stores by offering bug-free applications.
  • For fast performance, it provides efficient caching and parallelism.

Homepage and Download: https://circleci.com/

License: Linux plans to begin with the option to run one job at no charge without any parallelism. Open-source projects are receiving three extra free containers. You can see the price for determining which plan(s) you need at sign-up.

TeamCity

TeamCity is a build management and continuous integration server for a JetBrains. TeamCity is a tool that helps to build and deploy various types of projects. TeamCity runs in a Java environment and integrates Visual Studio and IDEs. The application can be deployed on both Windows and Linux systems and supports projects such as .NET and open-stack. It offers new integration of the UI and the native GitLab. It also allows pull requests from the GitLab and Bitbucket servers. The release contains token-based authentication, detection, Go test reporting, as well as requests from AWS Spot Fleet.

Key features of TeamCity:

TeamCity platform provides important features

  • Extensibility and customizing
  • Gives greater quality of code for any project
  • It maintains a safe and stable CI server, even though no builds are running
  • Configure builds in DSL
  • Cloud Profiles at the project level
  • Comprehensive integration with VCS
  • Creates progress reports on-the-fly
  • Remote run, and pre-tested commit
  • Parallel runs build on different environments simultaneously
  • Flexible user management, assignment of user roles, grouping of users, different user authentication methods and a log with all user actions to ensure transparency of all server activities

Homepage: https://www.jetbrains.com/teamcity/

License: TeamCity is a free- and proprietary licensed commercial tool.

GitLab CL

GitLab is a suite of tools designed to manage various aspects of the life cycle of software development. The main product is a Git repository manager focused on the web, with functionality such as issue monitoring, analytics, and a wiki. GitLab helps each commit or push to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy code. You can build jobs on a virtual machine, Docker container, or on a remote host. GitLab CI has become a part of GitLab. It is a web application with an API that stores its state in a database. It manages projects and provides a friendly user interface, in addition to offering the benefit of all of GitLab ‘s features.

GitLab key features:

  • GitLab Container Registry is a secure Docker Image registry
  • GitLab offers a convenient way to change or merge metadata of a request without adding slash commands to the comment field
  • It provides APIs for most features, allowing developers to integrate more deeply into the product
  • Helps developers to put their ideas into production by finding ways to improve their development process
  • Confidential issues help you to keep your information secure
  • Internal GitLab projects allow for the development of internal repository sourcing

Homepage: https://about.gitlab.com/
Download link: https://about.gitlab.com/installation/

License: GitLab is a free package but a commercial tool. It provides on-site and/or public cloud hosting of SaaS on GitLab on your instance.

Buddy

Buddy is a smart CI / CD platform for web developers intended to lower the DevOps entry threshold. It builds, tests, and deploys software using delivery pipelines. The pipelines are constructed with more than 100 ready-to-use actions that can be configured in any way-just like constructing a brick house. The Buddy CI / CD software builds, tests, deploys GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab code websites and applications. This employs Docker containers with pre-installed languages and frameworks to build on, monitor, and notify actions along with DevOps.

  • Quick deployments based on set of changes
  • Builds are run in separate containers with cached dependencies
  • Supports all common languages, task managers & systems
  • Dedicated list of actions of Docker / Kubernetes
  • Comprises AWS, Google, DigitalOcean, Azure, Shopify, WordPress and more
  • Supports parallel configurations & YAML configuration

Homepage: https://buddy.works/

License: Buddy is a free commercial tool.