CI systems allow detecting integration errors as quick as possible because each integration is verified by an automated build. Another good thing about it is that with the help of CI tools developers can find errors sooner than later. It is well know fact that when some part of a code is not properly tested, developers may face with blocking issues right at the demo version. So, if you want every part of your code work nice with other parts of your system, CI system can be a wonderful solution of your problem.
What is CI?
First of all, let’s try to understand what is Continuous Integration (CI). According to Wikipedia CI is the practice of merging all developers working copies to a shared mainline several times a day.
This method was firstly proposed by Grady Booch in 1991, though he did not prove that developers need integrating several times a day.
However, five years later Kent Beck created Extreme Programming ( XP), where he advocated integrating more than once per day, perhaps even more than ten times per day.
Benefits of using Continuous integration tools
Now let’s look at the benefits you can get using CI. There are many advantages of CI systems, but in this article we decided to emphasize only four of them.
Reduced integration risk
This is not a secret, that large products require many developers working on different parts of the code. If you have beginners in your team, the process of integration can become very risky. Though, if you have integration on a daily basis, it helps you to reduce integration risk.
Reduced deploying time
Another advantage of CI system is that it helps to reduce deploying time, and most experienced developers know that the process of deploying projects is usually very difficult and time-consuming.
Do you remember your first days at work? When you were afraid to break the code and that is why you prefered to do nothing? This is how beginners feel or people who have just come to the project and do not know much about it. But this fear to break something block their ability to work and create something new.
To put it another way, people need to feel confident in order to work, they should not be afraid to break something and get fired. That’s why developers need CI systems in order to help people to integrate easier to the project and feel more comfortable doing their job right away.
Easier life for QA team
We think that you already know that this is task of QA team to fix everything that is broken in the process of project deploying. So, CI systems help isolate and trace bugs efficiently and the earlier bug is found the better it is for QA engineers.
Top 10 continuous integration tools
According to Wikipedia Jenkins is an open-source CI system written in Java. This CI tool helps developers and QA engineers quickly find and fix bugs in the code. Here is the list of Jenkins features:
It is easy to update Jenkins with all versions of Linux, Mac OS, OS and Windows.
It can help to scale out to a large amount of nodes and distribute workload proportionally among them
Easily to set up with the help of its web interface
Easily spread work across several machines
It is easy to install, because it comes as War file
Like Jenkins, TeamCity is another popular CI tool that has many features:
Pre-tested commit and remote run
Even when no builds are running, TeamCity support CI server stable and healthy
TeamCity provides configure builds in DSL
Another TeamCity benefit is project level cloud profiles
Maintain better code quality for any project
Travis CI is a continuous integration and deployment system. You can find travis-ci.com for private repositories, and travis-ci.org for public repositories.
Here are some features of Travis CI:
You can connect Travis CI to your Slack, HipChat, Emails and get notifications.
Travis allows running parallel tests
Easily updated with Linux, Mac and iOS
Travis is easy to setup, no installation required
This CI tool uses the virtual machines to build applications
Powerful command line tool and API
Bamboo is another very popular CI system among developers. It works nice with Bitbucket and JIRA software. Here are some Bamboo features:
Easily create multi-stage build plans
You can triggers to start builds upon commits
Appoint agents to your critical builds and deployments
Parallel automated tests make catching bug process easier and faster.
Offers first-class support for the “delivery” aspect of continuous delivery
Circle CI is continuous integration system. It runs in any environment like Python API server, cross-platform mobile app or Docker cluster. Like other CI, Circle CI helps to find and fix bugs.Here you can find out more about some Circle CI features:
Cicle CI allows to choose Build Environment
Easy to set up and maintain
Circle CI improve iOS and Android store rating by providing bug-free applications
When newer build is triggered, automatically cancel any running builds or build that are waiting in line
Reduce build time by spliting tests across multiple containers
Parallelism that make performance as fast as possible
Codeship is a flexible CI tool that like other CI systems help to reduce the bugs and improve the quality of the app. You only need to push your build to repository and Codeship CI triggers automated workflow.
SSH helps to debug right from CI environment
It gives control over optimizing and customizing CI/CD workflow
Parallel pipelines, concurrent builds
Tight security ( SSH key access, single tenancy, cache encryption keep your CI projects safe in the cloud)
It would be nice to mention that Gitlab is an integral part of Gitlab project. It is open source and continuously improved CI tool that deliver modern software development product for today’s software developers.
Secure registry for Docker images
Gitlab provides APIs for most features
Confidential Issues help to keep your information secure
Convenient way to change metadata of an issue
Shorten feedback cycles with cycle analytics and out-of-the-box automation.
Gitlab Geo allows you to have fast download wherever your developers are. Scales to support large amount of users, millions of projects, terabytes of data, etc.
Integrity is a strong CI tool which works only with Github. According to the Integrity website, this tool builds your code and run your tests, as soon as you push your commits.Furthermore, Integrity reports the build status using various notifiers back to you and your team. So, all members of your team can be on the same page, and bugs can be fixed right away.
Integrity supports some notification mechanisms like Email, HTTP, Amazon, AMQP.
Can mirror with other SCM, but now it works only with Github
HHTP notifier that sends an HTTP POST request to the particular URL
Another popular CI system is Nevercode. The motto of Never code is “ Replace manual intervention with complete automation”.
Automatic setup for Android, iOS, Cordova, Ionic and React Native projects
Concurrent build features let you automate several builds at the same time and very fast
Parallel testing combined with code analysis, UI and Unit tests maximized code quality
Release automation let you easily integrate with Google Play, iTunes Connect, Crashlytics, TestFairy, HockeyApp.
Nevercode can help you share status of your pull requests and tests builds via Hipchat, Slack, email, etc.
The last but not the least CI tool is Buildbot. This CI system is written in Python and it can be heavily customized through configuration file.
Supports many operating systems like Linux, Windows, Solaris, AIX, Oracle Database, Oracle Tuxedo and even old HP-UX with PA- RISK CPUs.
Buildbot has a nice performance
All changes are build on a fast server first and then sent to other slower servers only after builds and tests succeed
You can request to build a list of modules on a specific combination of Oracle and OS
You can get notification when the build is ready
In conclusion, it would be nice to mention that while choosing perfect CI tool for your project you need to pay attention on several things.
First, this is flexibility of the build processes. Your CI tool should contain special feature to control number of merging processes, so you can merge once a day, two times a day or more.
Second, it is better to choose CI tool that is easy to set up, because most developers do not want to spend their precious time on it.
And the last but not least feature, it is essential to pick up easy-to-use CI system, so pay attention to your CI user interface.
What we offer
We hope this article was helpful for you and, we managed to answer all your most important question about Continuous Integration and best modern CI tools.
Though, if you still have some doubts about what CI tool would be better to use with your project, you can always count on our help.
KeyUA is a company that is successfully working in IT sphere for more than 9 years. We have many clients and most of them are clients from the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe ( Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, etc) and other developed countries.
KeyUA team consists of experienced developers, QA engineers, sales managers and copywriter, who are always glad to help you with you large, middle and small projects.