Continuous Integration and Delivery

Continuous Integration and Delivery

As programmers, there may come a time where you may have to work with others. The workflow of partner or even group programming may seem like a daunting task, but in all actuality, it can be as easy as programming by yourself. The method of integration, more specifically continuous integration and continuous deployment (sometimes referred to as delivery) helps in easing this process.

So what is integration, to begin with? Integration is in short, a process of maximizing workflow efficiency by merging your code with other programmers’ code. This happens through a circular process that can be incorporated into both large and small teams or even individual projects. And while integration is the focus of a team, its by-products can also improve the quality of the code. Some by-products that integration can have, especially on a larger scale are syntactic sugar, where the code looks more appealing and readable; more frequent and appropriate commits; and more reliable unit testing through CI services like Travis CI. The basic process of Integration relies on planning the implementation of features, design, etc, actually coding for those plans, building tests, and lastly testing. The difficult part is more often than not the actual coding aspect as it relies on every person working with the same code. Without integration through frequent commits and pushes for others to pull and work form, team members can run into merge conflicts that are called “merge hell”.

Merge Conflict aka “Merge Hell”

Merge conflicts happen when multiple people modify the same region of code and the version control doesn’t know which to approve. Though it may seem like a small inconvenience, it can severely disrupt the pace of development but there is a solution. Say 2 people are working on this file. If person A made a change first then pushed their work, then person B can pull the main code and work from their leaving only one branch being changed at a time. This prevents merge hell and allows for each developer to continuously add to the code. Not only does this prevent any issues, but it can also build communication which is necessary to any team as it can only help in fostering help and progress.

After the integration stage comes the delivery of code. The process of delivery is mostly through automation of tasks that happens through applications such as Travis CI and Heroku for example. Tasks that can be automated can include the building and passing of tests and deployment after successful builds. Travis CI is a phenomenal source as it includes a diagram of its pipeline which offers direct deployment with Heroku.

In conclusion, the implementation of continuous integration and continuous delivery allows for the betterment of not only your code but also helps foster a productive team workflow environment.