Bluegrass Digital CEO Nick Durrant states that continuous integration prevents bigger problems later. Building apps is incredibly complex and getting it right is a fine art.
To stay ahead of the competition, business owners need to use the right development tools that will keep them on track and support their development processes in a meaningful way. Continuous integration offers many advantages for businesses and developers alike. This development methodology helps bring products to market much faster by identifying problems at an early stage and not waiting until they are too big or too difficult to fix. It also helps businesses respond to new requirements whilst sites are being developed.
It allows software development team members to integrate their work frequently with unlimited integrations per day. Each integration is verified by an automated build and then tested to detect errors as quickly as possible. This approach significantly reduces integration errors and enables a team to develop cohesive software more rapidly. The aim of continuous integration is to identify errors at an early stage and to ensure rapid feedback in order to rectify them immediately. It offers software tools that can be used to automate the testing and to build a document trail.
Software teams can certainly benefit from agile development methods like continuous integration where solutions evolve through collaborative development. It is part of an architecture-based approach where continuous integration and Test-Driven Development (TDD) extend basic agile practices to provide improved quality and higher flexibility.
Created for agile development, continuous integration organises development into functional user stories that are then divided into smaller tasks. The aim is to identify problems quickly and to provide each developer with feedback through TDD.
TDD enables developers to build a test and then develop functionality until the code passes the test. When new additions are made to the code, new tests can be added and run when the integration is done. This will ensure that new developments don’t affect the already functional product and developers are notified quickly if their code does not pass the test.
Agile methods enable software development teams to respond quickly to changes. Similarly, continuous integration helps development teams to be agile and respond to rapid business changes while also ensuring that the software and hardware are in constant sync.
Continuous integration also enables development team members to work effectively in their domain groups, focusing on specific tasks. Once each task is completed, it is tested and integrated and each team member knows whether their contribution is successfully integrated and that the respective components work together. By doing so, errors are quickly discovered.
It helps development teams work more efficiently from a technical perspective, and they can be cross-functional and geographically distributed because continuous integration allows for individual developers to work in a large team on different components of a complex system. More importantly, continuous integration solves many of the early pitfalls that traditional development teams might have experienced.