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What is Continuous Integration?

A new paradigm in coding, where new code is tested and deployed as it’s written.

Overview

What it is: Continuous Integration (CI) is a paradigm of software development practice in which developers integrate and test new code as it is written. This makes it easier to isolate problem code early, encouraging rapid development without loss of quality. This is different than the traditional model, in which developers work on features or fixes in isolation before committing them.

What it does: In CI, developers “commit” new code (make it permanent) frequently, often many times a day. The new code is tested automatically and stored in a central repository. This entails code being committed and tested in small chunks, which then enables the frequent, automated rebuilding of the application.

Why it matters: In CI, the speed of this process encourages developers to enact bug fixes and incorporate new features as the need arises, rather than lumping them together in large batches. Additionally, CI allows for Continuous Delivery, where applications are built, and potentially deployed, continually as they are updated.

What to do about it: Most organizations today are looking to deliver on digital transformation goals through the adoption of faster, more responsive software delivery. Depending on your own organization’s goals, review whether your development teams are practicing CI. If not, examine the business case for how CI can support and catalyze your wider technology-driven business goals.

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