Continuous Delivery: What is it?

Continuous delivery is a methodology in which teams automatically push high quality items from the source code repository to production on a regular basis. This allows you to receive early feedback on the quality and effectiveness of your final product.

Some companies manually release products by passing them from one team to another. In this spectrum, developers are often on the left, and operations staff on the right. This causes delays in each delivery, which irritates the teams and makes consumers dissatisfied. After a long and error-prone procedure that slows down revenue generation, the product eventually goes to market.

In order to streamline the delivery process as quickly as possible to the market, we use the implementation of this methodology by adding verification processes using A/B testing, for example. This consists of the validation of two or more versions of the same application embedded in a shell, and verifying which one is more efficient through analytical metrics fed back by the end users.

Let’s understand how continuous delivery works!

In the last stages before manufacturing, a manual gate may be used in a continuous supply pipeline. There may be circumstances in your company that call for manual gates on pipelines. Manual gates require human interaction. Some manual gates might not be trustworthy, while others might be. The commercial team is in a position to decide on a release at the last minute under a genuine circumstance. The business team ultimately decides whether to release the product to all customers, a representative sample of the population, or possibly just those in a certain geographic region. The engineering team retains a version of the product ready to ship after each sprint. Location.

The many pipeline steps and the artefacts generated in each phase are also influenced by the product architecture. The smallest distributable and testable units of the product are built initially via the pipeline. For instance, a component may be a library built using pipelining. The component phase is right now.

The smallest implementable and testable units are subsystems, which are made up of loosely linked components. A server is an example of a subsystem. Another illustration of a subsystem is a microservice that is operating in a container. The subsystem phase is now. Subsystems may be set up and tested, unlike components.

As a result, it is possible to train the pipeline to put together systems from loosely linked subsystems into situations where the complete system must be deployed at once. The system phase is currently underway.

The methods at the heart of continuous delivery enable us to accomplish numerous significant benefits:

  • Superior quality: When developers have automated tools that detect regressions in seconds, teams are free to focus on user research and higher level testing tasks like exploratory testing, usability testing, and performance and security testing. These tasks may be conducted continually throughout the delivery process by constructing a deployment pipeline, ensuring that quality is incorporated into goods and services from the start.
  • Better products: Working in small quantities becomes more cost effective thanks to continuous delivery. This implies that we can collect feedback from users based on functional software throughout the delivery lifetime. A/B testing, for example, allows us to adopt a hypothesis-driven approach to product development, allowing us to test concepts with consumers before building out entire features. This implies we can avoid the two-thirds of things we design that add little to no value to our company.
  • Mouch faster delivery times to market: The integration and test/fix phases of the conventional phased software delivery lifecycle might take weeks or even months. Developers may include integration and regression testing into their everyday work and fully eliminate these stages when teams collaborate to automate the build and deployment, environment provisioning, and regression testing procedures. We also avoid the extensive rework associated with the phased method.
  • Reduced Costs: Over the course of its existence, any successful software product or service will develop dramatically. We significantly lower the cost of producing and delivering incremental changes to software by removing many of the fixed expenses associated with the release process by investing in build, test, deployment, and environment automation.
  • Happiest Teams According to peer-reviewed research, continuous delivery makes releases less unpleasant and minimises team burnout. Furthermore, by releasing more regularly, software delivery teams may connect with users more actively, learn which ideas work and which don’t, and experience firsthand the results of their labour. We can focus on what we care about most by eliminating the low-value, uncomfortable processes connected with software delivery.
  • Sustainability is essential for all organisations, not just in the technology industry. The Phrase “Software is devouring the globe” is no longer accurate: software has already swallowed the planet! At the end of the day, all businesses, whether in healthcare, banking, retail, or another industry, employ technology to distinguish and beat the competition. Automation reduces/eliminates error-prone and repetitive manual operations, allowing the organisation to create better and faster to fulfil the demands of its consumers.

Taking advantage of continuous delivery by adopting continuous integration

Although automating your tests is an important component of CI, it is insufficient on its own. If developers spend days working on a feature without merging their changes back into the main branch, your team’s culture may need to be altered. You’ll also need to adopt a green build culture.

Integrate frequently and early

Whether you’re working with feature branches or trunk-based development, it is crucial for developers to incorporate their updates as soon as they can into the main repository. When code is left on a branch or on a developer’s workstation for an extended period of time, it increases the likelihood that there will be too many conflicts to go through when the time comes to merge the code back into the main branch. Early integration reduces the magnitude of changes, which makes it simpler to comprehend conflicts when they arise. 

Developers will find it simpler to exchange information since the modifications will be easier to understand. You may use feature flags to temporarily stop changes in production if you find yourself making adjustments that might have an impact on an already-existing feature.

Continually maintain a green building

Fixing the issue becomes the top priority if a developer interferes with the main branch build. The more changes you make to a faulty build, the more difficult it will be for you to figure out what went wrong, and the more failures you risk creating.

To guarantee that you can fail quickly and give feedback to the developer who made the changes as soon as possible, it is worthwhile to invest effort on your test suite. You may divide your tests such that brief tests (like unit tests, for instance) run ahead of lengthy ones. You will waste a lot of developer time if your test suite consistently fails slowly since the developers will need to switch contexts in order to return to their prior work in order to correct it.

Remember to configure notifications so that developers are informed when the build is stopped. You can even take this a step further by making the status of your primary branches visible to all users on a dashboard.

Tests should be written as part of your story

Finally, make sure that automated testing is included for every feature that is produced. Although it would seem like it would slow down development, your team will actually spend far less time fixing regressions or defects that were added with each iteration. Your test suite will be able to swiftly verify that all previously produced features function as intended, giving you the confidence you need to make modifications to your code base.

Make sure developers are involved early on when designing user stories if you want to build effective tests. This is a terrific method to improve communication with product managers and gain a more comprehensive grasp of business requirements. You may even begin by writing the tests before developing the code to meet them.

When correcting issues, create tests

Whether you have an existing code base or are just getting started, you will undoubtedly encounter bugs in your releases. When you address them, make sure to incorporate tests to prevent problems from reoccuring.

Your quality control engineers will be able to scale quality thanks to CI

The job of the QA engineer will also alter when CI and automation are implemented. They no longer have to manually test the minor capabilities of their application and can now devote more effort to offering tools to support developers and assist them in adopting the appropriate testing methodologies.

Your Engineers will be able to focus on aiding testing with better tools and data sets, as well as assisting developers in developing their ability to create better code, once you begin using continuous integration. There will be some exploratory testing for difficult use cases, but it should be a minor portion of your effort.