Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) is a method of frequent delivery of software to customers introducing and perfecting automation within the app development process. CircleCI is a CI tool. Developers use it to build, test, and deploy projects. This article dives into the software and its capabilities.
The concept of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery
CI mobilizes developers to regularly integrate code they are currently working on with a shared code repository. As frequent as possible. Merging of the code triggers then a process of automated tests and builds, which unloads a lot of work and makes more space for development.
CD, on the other hand, is a further automation of the previous integration process. CD allows for automation of the previously created integration process. CI/CD platforms are made to inform the team about bugs, help deliver a stable product, and increase effectiveness.
What is CircleCI used for?
CircleCI can be configured to run very complex pipelines efficiently with caching, docker layer caching, resource classes and many more. The platform tools can be configured to trigger the app’s build and run whole sets of automated tests before merging the code. You can also prepare a configuration where CirleCI will stop the integration, if it spots any failures. This way the team will be notified of the problem early on and have the chance to quickly fix it.
CircleCI helps implement a continuous integration approach in the development of software products.
The CircleCI’s building blocks
CircleCI has components that greatly improve the process of software development. You can either work on end-to-end software development or hire mobile app development specialist to enhance the product. It doesn’t matter, the platform got you covered.
Steps. This is a basic tool to automate… the automation. Steps lets you run executable bash commands. They also enable predefined steps made by CircleCI. These steps cover common behaviors like checking the code from a respository or working on pipeline cache.
Jobs. This element has two configuration options. They run based on a list of steps, so they need them badly. Then, they can be run just is – in order, as a single unit. But executing a job requires an executor program. That’y why Circle CI supports Windows, macOS, virtual machines and Docker.
Workflows. They are made of jobs, which are made of steps. Jobs are run in many different ways to minimize long execution times.
Orbs. To avoid duplication of workflows configurations, the company behind CircleCI creates orbs. They give you reusable snippets of code that cover common use cases. The platform has an orb repository that’s easy to use, further simplifying the process of creating the code.
Context. CircleCI provides context to create configuration options. This is done through sets of environment variables. You can use them by browsing values in different projects in your company. By using context, you can secure and share environment variables across many projects. They are defined as name/value pairs and injected at runtime.
Other interesting features
To topple it all off, we need to talk about few other features.
Parameters. It’s best to use parameters as a tool to define dynamic workflows. Combine them with conditions for the best effect.
Commands. They define a sequence of steps that are used to make the code reusable.
Branch-specific configuration. With it, you can include or exclude jobs based on the current branch the pipeline is running at the time.
Conditional execution of steps. You can write conditions. If they are tested true, a given step is executed. In orbs, you can view the source code; there you can also browse through examples for steps execution.
CirlceCI – how to start?
If you don’t know how to start, this section is for you.
1. Go to the CircleCI’s webpage and setup an account.
2. Then link your respositories to CircleCI. For each repository, you will see a link or button that says “Set Up Project”. Click on it to begin.
3. Finish initial configuration. If everything went smoothly, you should be able to see a triggered pipeline after a pushed commit.
4. Set up a basic pipeline config.
5. Customize the Config file.
6. Set up the Context.
7. Setup the AWS Environment Variables.
For extensive step-by-step guide, go to DevOps Authority page.
Please note, that Circle CI provides a practical Docs section on its webpage. There, you can find language and configuration guides for Python, Node.js, Java, C, .NET. There are also tutorials for Linux, iOS, macOS and of course Windows platforms.
It’s important to complement your tech stack with additional tools that can squeeze everything from the tech you have chosen for the job. Especially today, with the API-first design, where apps are made quick yet efficient. They should be as spottles and well-rounded. They should run on efficiency alone, not report bugs from end-users. Its fuel should be a good design and spotless UX/UI.
That’s why it’s important to make projects with specialists that can utilize platforms and tools like CircleCI. Projects become more complex, especially under AWS development where cloud integration is important. You don’t want a setback. Consider going with engineers that know what they are doing and why.