Achieve continuous integration in the New Year
Continuous integration is a lot more than the tool you choose; it’s the way you do DevOps.
Continuous integration is the fulcrum of continuous delivery, since it allows you to optimally distribute work with confidence that your work will be properly assembled into target deliverables. By monitoring source code repositories, running builds whenever code changes are detected, running tests against compiled software, and generating artifacts like binaries and documentation, developers can ensure new features or fixes don’t have a negative impact on the existing product.
When looking for the best continuous integration tools we recommend you consider the following considerations:
We highly recommend using Jenkins as your continuous integration tool, because it answers all the above criteria and more. With Jenkins, you can easily create a workflow that will automatically run your tools and tests, providing you with anything you need to build test and deploy software.
Now that you have your continuous integration tool, either Jenkins or something else, you’re ready to move forward. Because effective continuous integration requires more than just a Jenkins instance. It requires a DevOps ecosystem that seamlessly interoperates with Jenkins or any other CI engine-of-choice.
A complete DevOps ecosystem can have dozens of tools, each one polishing, sharpening and improving the development and deployment process. To make things easier to follow, here are 5 categories you can divide your ecosystem into, with recommended tools.
Stage 1 – Plan
When planning, the product and features are thought of, displayed and analyzed together by the product management, developers and QA engineers. As this step requires a lot of thinking, collaboration and coming up with solutions, you can use different tools to help you with that.
These include CA Agile Central, Jira and Confluence for assignment tracking and management, Slack and HipChat for communication, Aha! For roadmap planning, and Mixpanel and Google Analytics for measuring user engagement.
Stage 2 – Develop
This is the stage when the ideas turn into code. Therefore, you probably need many tools for software configuration management, repository management, building and of course, Continuous Integration.
We’ve already recommended Jenkins, and we would also like to add Bitbucket and GitHub for Version Control System management, NPM for package management, and webpack for managing build modules.
Stage 3 – Test
Continuous testing is an important part of continuous integration, as this is the part that ensures that the newly developed features or bug fixes work, both on their own and as part of the complete product. Continuous testing includes performance testing, functional testing, unit testing, 3rd party integrations testing, and more. Results should be clearly displayed and analyzed, to enable product improvement.
Stage 4 – Release
There are many recommended tools to use such as: Chef, Puppet and Ansible for Configuration Management, Docker, Rocket, Kubernetes and Nomad for Container Runtimes and Orchestrators, and AWS, Google Cloud and Microsoft Azure for Cloud Infrastructure.
Stage 5 – Operate
As the cycle continues and we continue to plan, develop, test and release, we also want to maximize its features. Choosing the right infrastructure monitoring, application performance monitoring, aggregators and BI analysis tools, makes sure our product will raise to new heights and be kept error free.
We recommend: CA Digital Experience Insights, a SaaS-based digital experience monitoring and analytics solution, puts a holistic view of the user experience, application performance, and infrastructure management in the hands of developers and IT operations.
As you can see, continuous integration is a lot more than the tool you choose. Instead, it’s the way you do DevOps. It’s definitely worth putting in the time and effort to think how your engineering team can go agile. Then, teach each other about the different tools available and complement your strengths and weaknesses with them. Finally, automate everything, and go pour yourself an eggnog.