Continuous integration and continuous delivery are commonly used terms in software engineering. However, coders often mix up these two concepts or think these terms are interchangeable. To clear up the confusion, here are the main differences between continuous integration software and continuous delivery software.
What Is Continuous Integration?
Continuous integration lets developers build, package and test their software on a continuous basis. Companies can make immediate codebase changes automatically and ensure applications are working properly before deployment. Continuous integration lets developers detect software errors early on in the production process, and enables quality assurance teams to identify weaknesses in a piece of software’s code. This reduces the risk of bugs and viruses having an effect on new programs.
Continuous integration tools provide developers with real-time insights on software deployment. These tools produce valuable metrics on code smell — issues within the source code of a program that indicate a deeper problem — code complexity and code dependency.
Some of the most frequently used continuous integration software programs include CircleCi and Microsoft Team Foundation Server.
What Users Say
“I use continuous integration builds for open source projects,” says a user who reviewed Travis CI, a type of continuous integration platform. “The benefits of this software includes free builds, notifications and reports and dashboards for open source projects.”
“This solved the problem of how to automate the deployment of my applications to many environments of varying configurations,” states a user of continuous integration software, Distelli. “I no longer have to spend time making sure everything gets deployed or find out what is malfunctioning. Distelli does it for me.”
What Is Continuous Delivery?
Continuous delivery is an extension of continuous integration. This process delivers stable software to a non-production environment, so developers can ascertain whether the software is releasable. Continuous delivery enables developers to distribute applications more easily, as software builds can be released within seconds and reach the end user at any time during the production lifecycle. These programs also allow developers to test software in a quicker time frame, allowing for more updates to be made to applications.
Continuous delivery goes one step further than continuous integration systems, which are primarily used to build and test software. This software facilitates processes throughout the deployment pipeline, from initial code analysis to the application’s release. Developers use this software to examine and monitor updates in real time and test the functionality of their applications.
Continuous delivery can also be used with configuration management and continuous deployment software. Some of the most popular continuous delivery software includes Apache Maven and Ansible.
What Users Say
“Remote work while out of the office used to be a pain in the head,” says a user who reviewed Codenvy, a type of continuous delivery program. “I had to login through several layers of security to get into our code base. Now, I simply login into Codenvy’s workspace, make my changes, run some backend magic and my changes will be uploaded to our private servers effortlessly.”
“I am using this software for build automation,” explains a user of continuous delivery software Gradle. “It helps in increment builds of my software. There are different alternatives but I found Gradle to be much more stable and more popular for build automation.”
Continuous integration and continuous delivery are not one and the same. They both serve important functions in software engineering, but follow different processes. Continuous integration lets developers test and integrate code, so they can reduce errors early on in the software production cycle. Continuous delivery, on the other hand, lets developers deploy software frequently to test whether it is releasable.