What is Continuous Integration (CI)?
Continuous Integration (CI) is a software development process commonly used with Agile methods like Extreme Programming. When used, the main code repository gets updated every time there is a new change. Developers must commit these changes in special ways, and automated testing ensures changes do not break the code. Continuous Integration has many benefits over traditional methods of integration.
When developing with continuous integration, developers must do several things to ensure quality code gets committed. They must commit their changes frequently. Before committing a change, they must ensure it works by testing it. They should check that their code does not cause other easily identifiable problems with the rest of the current build.
As developers commit code frequently, it is essential to build automated testing into the process. These tests include unit tests and integration tests. Unit tests make sure that each part of the build works as intended. All unit tests should run after a change to make sure no components broke. Integration tests run on a group of components that work together. These tests ensure the components are interacting properly and that there are no unexpected issues in systems of components when there is a code change.
Benefits of Continuous Integration
Continuous Integration allows the incremental adding and regular testing of code. Tests identify bugs quickly and save time by making sure all components work. As integration occurs throughout the development process, there are less frustrating problems caused by trying to integrate too many changes at once. Continuous Integration allows teams to build well-tested and easily modifiable solutions.
Continuous Integration is a great option for an Agile team to use to develop high-quality and rigorously tested code. Careful development and automated testing make sure that builds do not break and that they work as intended. For more information on software development techniques, please contact us.