For almost anyone working in software development, the term ‘continuous delivery’ will be very familiar as a series of techniques designed to assure software quality. These techniques ensure that software is performing to its maximum capabilities, able to reliably push out enhancements, and capable of fixing bugs with minimal risk to customers. This form of design practice can be essential to many business owners trading online or releasing new applications.
Who should use continuous delivery?
There are numerous businesses and individuals who can benefit from continuous delivery including businesses or individuals who:
When you are developing a new product
When developing a new product, using continuous delivery can help test and evolve the product to its maximum potential.
Providing an online service
If you provide any online service from online gambling to mobile apps, implementing continuous delivery is essential to staying ahead of your competitors.
Releasing app updates are taking longer and longer
As you develop your app and it gets more complicated, you may find that updates are taking longer and longer to full test and release. This can aggravate your customers, potentially losing business, which is why continuous delivery should be implemented.
You have to release security patches frequently
Let’s face it, our systems are constantly under threat from hackers who want to display ads, steal sensitive information, and view company secrets. Using continuous delivery can maintain a healthy system and can be thought of as added security.
How does continuous delivery work?
In essence, continuous delivery grasps automated deployments in the software delivery process to allow the computer do what it does best. Over time, the process will become fully automated, allowing the release of software to be reliable and available at the push of a button. The ‘pipeline’ works as an automated implementation of the application from build to release and would usually follow these simple steps:
The commit stage
In this stage, the server moves the software repository into a temporary folder, executing environment agnostic tests to create documentation and installer packages for the software.
The acceptance test stage
In this stage, scripts are executed which create an environment which is almost identical to the production environment. Tests are carried out to ensure the services are up and running, with an acceptance test verifying the application is at business level.
The capacity test stage
Quite similar to the previous stage, tests are run to ensure the system can function under a defined level of service in simulated production conditions. It in this stage that the application is assessed as to whether it is fir in regards to throughput and response time.
The user acceptance test stage
A simple manual test is performed by the user to verify the application is functional and ready.
The release stage
Once all the previous stages have been completed and passed, the application is ready to be released at a time that suits the business. The release is still semi-automatic meaning it only needs to be selected and confirmed before it goes live.
The same process is implemented after release, building an ever-more automated relationship.
What are the benefits of continuous delivery?
There are numerous benefits to be gained from using the continuous delivery system to manage your applications, software releases, and online businesses which include:
Reports of the most essential bug fixes and improvements are delivered quicker and ready for release in a matter of hours.
You may think that you will be sacrificing quality for speed, however, this is untrue. You can choose whether you would like to release updates quicker or to hold back and release them as an upgrade to the application.
A continuous system means less time and money spent on management and meetings.
Focus/ClarityYour team will have more time to focus on the task at hand instead of having to continually switch their attention and will experience reduced stress due to small problems in the system.
Without continuous delivery, it would take an increasing number of people to organise, test, and release updates and new applications. Using continuous delivery allows better management of staff and effective distribution of teams.
Continuous delivery has been developed to maximise the process of software delivery in a way that will benefit businesses and individuals. By using this practise, software will be developed to a higher standard and provide a better service.