Continuous integration and continuous delivery in web application development

Continuous integration and continuous delivery in web application development

From client information management to automated billing and accounting, businesses turn to custom web applications to solve the problems that cause bottlenecks in their workflows. Companies invest a lot of time and money to have developers build such bespoke apps, so it can be utterly frustrating to find out that critical functions don't work upon deploying the apps into the real world.

When you commission our experts at MXOtech, you will never experience such frustration because we implement the interlinked processes of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CICD). Here's how these processes ensure that your app will work flawlessly with your existing systems.

Continuous integration

Developers build components of an app separately and write code using different tools and platforms. Consolidating these disparate components all at once on release day is a recipe for disaster because it needs effort and time to piece all the parts of an app together.

To avert such a disaster, developers implement an iterative process called continuous integration (CI), or the practice of regularly merging new code to the main (release) branch to guarantee that new components work, before making any more developments to the code. In other words, developers construct components separately, then put these together and trigger automated tests on the resulting build as one iteration. Only when that single iteration is satisfactory (i.e., every component works as expected) will the process repeat, with new components added and/or old ones tweaked to form subsequent iterations.

Related article: Why data integration is the first step towards smarter business decisions

Implementing CI helps avoid technical fiascos on release day, as it not only glues together code but also validates them every step of the way. Much like test-driven development (TDD), CI emphasizes the importance of short project cycles and creating something big by starting with something small.

Continuous integration and continuous delivery in web application development

App development is akin to playing dominoes: every turn needs to have the perfect piece before further developments can proceed.

Continuous delivery

Software is inherently human-centric, and because of that, long release cycles have been proven to be failures. Many firms still obtain customer requirements, issue a statement of work, then go away to build the application for several months at a time. At the end of those several months, the customer finally gets to see the working software, only to find it isn’t what she/he wanted, which can lead to rewriting significant portions of the software, often on the customer’s dime.

Related article: Benefits of custom web applications for your business

Good development firms solve this issue by shortening the cycle wherein the customer gets to see the working software - implementing continuous delivery (CD), or the automatic and simultaneous deployment of an app to its end users. Because of CD, makers of software start with the minimum viable product — a barebone app produced and released to the client quickly. Then, follow up with short (two week) iterations that deliver additional features — versions with new and improved features and functionalities. Through CD, daily, weekly, or bi-weekly releases allow customers to make micro changes to their application instead of major changes at the end of a long development cycle

The benefits of CICD

By compiling all code branches into one singular branch and releasing apps or updates in one go, CICD gives you the following benefits:

  • Minimal bugs – Enjoy smoother app development with fewer interruptions due to bugs, as automated tests easily catch code errors.
  • Faster compiling and building of the app for release day – Experience few to no integration issues, because they will have been resolved early on in the development process.
  • Lower testing costs –A CI server saves you time and money by running hundreds of tests within seconds.
  • Improved QA team productivity – Because your CI server takes the bulk of testing your app, your QA team spends less time doing tests and more time on improving the quality of the app.
  • Increased customer satisfaction – With continuous deployment, you can release updates as often as necessary to address customers’ concerns.

Custom web apps have merits that commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) software don’t. While COTS are a one-size-fits-all solution, custom-tailored apps fit perfectly within your systems and let you save on operating costs by being the only solution you need.

Do you have technology problems that can be fixed by a custom web application? MXOtech builds customized web applications for businesses in the Greater Chicago Area. Contact us today.

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