Continuous Delivery

Definition: CD aka Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery resolves issues related to the development of IT tools. It makes it possible to respond effectively to the requirements of end users and to continually improve the software without mobilizing a large team. Below are the details.

Continuous Delivery: What is it?

Continuous Delivery provides the means to automate the testing, improvement and deployment of software or an application using a dedicated infrastructure. By relying on this approach, developers are able to quickly identify and remedy any bugs affecting the tool under development.

This method is one of the pillars of the DevOps method and today finds its place in any structure operating in the field of new technologies. In particular, it allows teams to always have an improved version ready to be deployed at any time.

The team aims above all to protect itself against the famous “feedback loop”. By relying on a suitable ecosystem, managers will be able to anticipate feedback from end users. The code will thus be transmitted to the test environment (UAT) regularly so as to better gauge the performance of the application before its deployment.

Functioning principles

This approach is based on a “continuous Delivery Pipeline” which shapes the workflow. This provides a well-designed process so that no bug is left unresolved. Thus, the infrastructure supports and carries out a host of tests as soon as a developer validates a code.

Following the tests carried out, the system detects and resolves bugs. Subsequently, it will mount the executables which it will then route to another environment to be validated by an operator. If the new version meets the team’s expectations, it can be deployed whenever desired.

Overview of Continuous Delivery Components

The success of continuous delivery depends on the mastery of three elements:

  • Continuous integration: each developer participating in the project must integrate the piece of code under their responsibility. Everything will be compiled and integrated into a single directory. Enough to protect against possible conflicts compromising the proper functioning of the application.
  • Configuration management: The development team must translate features and end-user requirements into simple configurations. This abstraction work will help collaborators design a more stable application that meets user needs.
  • A “test-driven” approach: the test results will guide the development process. To continually improve the software, it is therefore appropriate to take all measures to accelerate the performance of these tests and then the deployment of the executables.
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Continuous Delivery: many benefits

Many specialized companies are hesitant to adopt continuous delivery due to its cost. This approach requires a fairly significant financial investment to set up a suitable infrastructure.

That said, the majority of professionals agree that this investment will be largely amortized. The “feedback loop” is indeed particularly costly for companies working in the IT field by delaying the launch of an application.

Continuous Delivery frees the company from the uncertainties linked to the development of a tool. It makes it possible to improve the quality of product codes. Enough to produce reliable, more secure and more efficient utilities.

By doing without any human intervention, we also protect ourselves from errors linked to negligence on the part of testers. Pre-production will go smoothly and finally the team will be able to relax as soon as the application has successfully passed all the tests.

Note that continuous delivery was designed so that a team can constantly improve software. Feedback from users can be processed as quickly as possible. The company will thus be able to capitalize on customer satisfaction and multiply projects without overworking its teams and without risking tarnishing its reputation.

Continuous delivery, continuous integration, continuous deployment: different concepts

As you might expect, these often wrongly associated terms refer to different concepts. In fact, they pursue the same objective: that of automating certain aspects of software development. However, the solutions proposed differ from one concept to another.

Continuous integration, as indicated previously, provides for the integration of a single code into a unified development environment. This approach aims to prevent any conflict and allows the entire team to complete a project without too many unforeseen events.

Continuous delivery goes further than continuous integration by providing different tests. These tests must prove the proper functioning of the software. Enough to subsequently allow the production of a version which will be deployed at the request of users or the ordering client.

As for continuous deployment, the team will anticipate user needs and requests. Thus, everything will be fully automated so that new versions are deployed after their pre-production. Under these conditions, the infrastructure continually improves the software throughout its life cycle.