The path to continuous delivery starts with a focus on Agile development and perfecting your continuous integration practices.
Let’s talk about continuous integration. And, yes, I do mean “continuous integration” — not “continuous delivery.”
Continuous integration — the Agile technique of checking in code in small increments and testing it against the larger code base — is a longstanding development practice. But as software pros set their sights on continuous delivery, continuous integration gets short shrift.
Instead of seeking to perfect the practice, software pros take continuous integration for granted. They have been doing it for so long, they no longer question whether they’re doing it right. In a recent conversation, software development consultant Jeffery Payne, CEO of Coveros, in Fairfax Va., told me this approach is wrong.
Continuous integration: Not just the build
Payne said that when software pros talk about continuous integration, most are referring to the automated build process. “Build is their definition ofdone.” But build is only half the battle. A successful build tells you that, syntactically, the code holds together, he explained. “But it doesn’t say a thing about how the code works.” The practice of continuous integration should also include automatic deployment of the code to the platform on which it will reside, Payne said. “You’re making sure it is configured properly and that all of the integration issues are addressed.”
Making sure continuous integration also includes automated deployment — rather than outlining a broad strategy for continuous delivery — is a practical approach because, done right, the former naturally leads to the latter, Payne said. “When you start with continuous integration, you set the stage for continuous delivery. When your continuous integration [practice] is good and strong, continuous delivery is the next logical step.”
In our conversation Payne also discussed how he sees continuous integration, continuous delivery and automated testing as part of the largerDevOps environment. In the process, he shared highlights of his keynote address, “Why DevOps Changes Everything,” which he will deliver at the Agile Development Conference West, in Las Vegas in June 2015.
Everything is code
So, let us know what you think. Does your continuous integration practice encompass DevOps? Or are you narrowly focused on automating the build? Are you doing continuous delivery? If so, how well does your integration process work?
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