CI and CD, also known as continuous integration and continuous delivery are the two most important methods to help build and ship new features and bug fixes to the software that you love, but why should you invest time and money in continuous delivery?
Continuous delivery, or CD has been around for many years, it was a software engineering principle that first came to the development space back in 1991, so depending on how old you are, you could say it's still relatively new.
Businesses and software companies all over the world can benefit from using CD in their development workflow, and in this article I'm going to give you 5 reasons why it's worth using continuous development.
Sit back, relax, and let's jump right into reason number one...
When working on new software, adding new features and fixes bugs, you're going to want to get feedback on the work you've done as quickly and efficiently as possible right?
You don't want to be waiting many days to figure out whether that new feature has been approved by the relevant teams do you.
Continuous delivery allows for a faster feedback loop, meaning feedback from the operations team and stakeholders allow the development teams to respond quickly and start integration whatever is required.
In the case of a website, or web application, feedback might be as simple as changing the colour of a button on a web page from green to blue, without having a CD pipeline and workflow, it could take considerably longer to get this kind of feedback.
When was that last time that you remember a change being made to your website's API, or the core website itself and your revenue just bombed?
Likely, not that long ago if you're reading this article.
The problem with a traditional development and delivery process of a website or API is that the changes would be made to your API or website, pushed to version control and deployed.
Where were the automated tests in that process?
What about usability testing and other forms of tests?
As a result, things on your website broke, and although it's quite common for things to go wrong and break, you need a process that allows you to quickly fix and release those changes, or roll back your source code to the version that works.
Continuous delivery aids with this process since automated tests will run prior to deploying new changes to your website or web application, and if a test fails, the new changes simply don't go live.
If the tests pass, then everything seems good, and the changes can go live meaning reduced risk.
We live in a society where the internet and online services control and dictate the way we live, and there's a lot of competition out there.
If you're trying to build an online business and digital product, you're going to need to quickly adapt to consumer demand and potentially even move focus to building new features to meet consumer demand.
Without some kind of continuous delivery process, delivering new software, web application changes and bug fixes are all going to take considerably longer.
Now, I'm not saying to go away and implement a continuous delivery workflow and constantly change the focus on what you're building, but what I am saying is that by getting a workflow like CD into your processes will make it easier to adapt to new demands in a more efficient way.
The last thing you want is for your website to fall behind when the competition is speeding ahead.
Code changes take time, especially when working with legacy code, it can take even longer to work through.
That's why you're going to need to eliminate as many bottlenecks in the process as possible.
Start from the beginning...
There's one problem with that process...
Take a look at step two, we made hundreds of changes to complete our new feature, and as a result of this, it took longer to review in step three.
It also took longer for the quality checks to run before getting to step four, and finally, the deployment would've taken longer in step five as well.
Where's the bottleneck?
It's in step two, and so by implementing a continuous delivery workflow, you're able to make smaller code edits, more frequent updates and eliminate bottlenecks at this stage, allowing the whole workflow to become more efficient.
Customers want value, and it's your job to deliver value consistently, especially if customers are paying you for the service that you're offering.
Value is important, but without a continuous delivery workflow and environment, delivering value is going to be few and far between, think about it...
If you're not able to deliver value to customers quickly, they could end up cancelling their subscription with you...
But it's not always about even those subscription plans that you're offering, in fact, you might only have a blog, a website for you to post content and guides, when was the last time you posted a piece of content to your website?
Was it weeks ago? Or maybe months ago?
Continuous delivery, or CD really helps drive value to the customer and helps them engage more with what you're offering!
If you're implementing a continuous delivery workflow into your website, you can be assured that you're on the right track to delivering small chunks of value often.
So there you have it, 5 reasons why continuous delivery is absolutely worth investing in, for your business and for your team.
As a web developer myself, I use continuous delivery in several projects, and have been trying to automated as many processes as possible to ensure I'm delivering reliable code regularly.
Your website users and customers will appreciate new features and fixes, it helps build credibility as a brand, and as a business, and people love that.
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