DevOps Best Practices for Generating a CI/CD Pipeline
Ensuring a fast and effective process for deploying your custom software application is essential to keeping your business ahead of the competition. Automated testing and deployments ensure all developers are following best practices for code quality, testing, and deployment management. With the proper best practices in place, your business can scale without the risk of costly deployment mistakes that leave your application bug-ridden and broken.
To enforce code quality, automated testing is recommended. One tool for this is linting. Linting purposely sounds like removing the dust, fuzz, and hair from clothing. It performs a similar function for code. Linters enforce code consistency by checking indentation, spacing around mathematical operators, and syntax. Your linter can be set up to automatically fix some issues or simply alert you to the problem areas. In the long run, this means better code consistency because all developers are following the same standards.
At Scalesology, we also like to include accessibility tests in our automated testing. Code inspections can alert to form inputs without labels that are used by screen readers. Inspections can also show us color contrast issues that would trip up users with various forms of color blindness. These tests are about delivering a more accessible product to end users.
To improve the quality of code, it can be broken down into smaller pieces called units. These units can be tested individually in a process called unit testing. By breaking down into smaller pieces, it is easier to pinpoint where a failing test issue originates.
In the long run, automated unit tests improve quality. Should a past bug return, a unit test will catch the bug during the development cycle. This ensures that the team continues to deployment a high quality of code to the production environment.
Sometimes there are acceptable failures. For example, the unit tests alert the team to a small issue. This example issue is minuscule compared to the massive new feature in the release. In that case the business would have feedback on the risks associated with the deployment. Then, the business could make the decision to hold the deployment or call it an acceptable failure and proceed with the release. Of course, as a best practice, the bug will most likely be fixed in an upcoming release. The point is that you can get feedback on issues sooner and your team can make better decisions.
Continuous Building & Deployment
Once the code quality, accessibility testing, and unit testing are automated, the next level is continuous deployment, which is done by using code. Since the deployment is scripted with code, every deployment is the same. Coded builds mean consistent builds. The same can be said of deployments.
Using code to do build and deployment steps is also more reliable. There are no humans injecting human errors like forgetting to do a deployment step. At the same time, the script is optimized to avoid unnecessary deployment steps.
Over time the build and deployment script become more and more optimized. When a build fails, the build script can be updated to ensure that failure never happens again. The strength of a good team is not only fixing issues, but ensuring they never happen again. Since the build and deployment scripts get better with each deployment, you can trust them for more frequent code deployments. In fact, iterating more frequently feeds back in to continuously making the whole process more reliable.
At the end of the day, all the above automations go into a Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployments (CI/CD) to create a CI/CD Pipeline. This is also known as DevOps. Your team benefits from consistent, quality code that is always up to date in the target environment. A reliable DevOps implementation consists of a clear understanding of your development objectives, the proper deployment, and the expectations of stakeholders.
Our staff at Scalesology can help. Contact us today. Let’s start a conversation about implementing strategies to allow your business to take full advantage of DevOps techniques allowing a CI/CD Pipeline to update your application code and/or data in a seamless process.