What is Continuous Deployment? (Benefits and Comparisons)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 19, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Software developers use different approaches to create finished technological products for companies and consumers. These professionals usually use different practices to create and test new products or deliver changes in the software code while clients are using their applications. You may understand and master these practices if you're a developer or team leader who wants to create better products or update a program automatically. In this article, we discover what continuous deployment is, explain how it differs from continuous integration and continuous delivery, and discuss some tips for choosing development practices.

What is continuous deployment?

Continuous deployment is a method to test and send automatically the changes a web development team made to a program. It offers the opportunity to update software faster and give the customers what they're expecting. Using this strategy, developers can create new products, features, or fix irregularities and deliver them to their clients automatically. For example, the ability to provide quick feedback can allow businesses to extend the launch of a product.

During the deployment phase of software development, a developer can open the finished main branch of code and review it with a system of automated checks. If the checks find a faulty code, the system can reject the package. When the checks pass, the automated systems can deploy the package into production. This method puts the power in the hands of the clients because they can use the updated version of the software each time the development team deploys it. It can involve the entire production pipeline, which includes integration and delivery.

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How can businesses and customers benefit from it?

This technique offers significant productivity benefits for modern software businesses. For example, it can allow customers feedback in real-time, providing the business with information related to their clients' immediate needs. It can also affect a potential launch day, because some developers may choose to avoid setting a release day completely, while others may adhere to a specific day while also making modifications. This strategy might be beneficial for the following reasons:

  • Provide faster feedback: If customers submit bug reports, or if they mention a request they may like added, developers can answer immediately and deploy a response. This allows developers to update the product almost instantly and hand it back to customers.

  • Allow frequent updates: Frequent updates can help developers improve the customer experience more than if they waited to deploy their product changes. This strategy gives users the ability to use the company's products, learn about them, and gain interest in them.

  • Remove release day: It also fosters creativity in the development team by alleviating the pressure of a release. Removing a release day can actually allow the product to grow as the team learns more about what customers want.

Crucial tools for applying the strategy

This method is an excellent approach for time-saving practices and effective code deployment. To achieve this, software developers employ different tools that help them test and deliver their products and modifications. Below, you can find some of the most important tools used in software deployment processes:

  • Version control systems: Besides specialized systems like Apache Maven, version control allows developers the ability for continuous integration into the software pipeline.

  • Code review systems: One of the best ways to check whether a code is working is through code review systems. Developers can accomplish this through unit testing systems.

  • Continuous integration systems: These help to minimize development issues when several developers are working together. This allows for an integrated approach to testing code between several teams before automated systems merge the code with the central branch.

  • Monitor systems: Tools like AppDynamics and Splunk test and assess the main branch of code as the system merges the new code into it.

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Continuous integration vs. continuous delivery vs. continuous deployment

Development operations (DevOp) aim to reduce the time that it takes software designers to create a finished product. The three different methodologies used by DevOps include continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment. The key difference between the three is the level of automation applied at each stage. Each of these processes helps to automate the deployment process, allowing for organizations to focus on their overall needs and the customers' feedback. This also allows the freedom to automate the checking of computer code, which helps to mitigate human error and use fewer resources.

Effectively, these three systems allow for efficient production by ensuring that, at every step of development, developers check the product. This ensures that every product is ready as it can be before launch. For example, some developers use continuous integration and continuous deployment to describe the entire deployment process, but it includes continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment.

Continuous integration

Continuous integration is an important part of the software development process, you can find below its definition and benefits:

Definition

Continuous integration involves the process whereby software developers merge changes to the code into the main branch of code many times during the day. This repetitive activity allows developers to fix bugs quickly by addressing major needs in each building process. Each merge triggers both an automated code structure and a test sequence, and this usually requires less than 10 minutes. If a structure fails, then the team can quickly repair it. The results can be available to all developers, and this makes it especially useful when multiple developers are working on different aspects of the same project.

Benefits of continuous integration

Continuous integration allows developers to integrate new code through the use of automated processes. This is an automated process, which means developers can avoid repetitive work and human errors. An after any change in the main code, this method can then choose whether to accept or reject the code with no developer to oversee it. The benefits of continuous integration include:

  • Easier integration of code: Continuous integration (CI) tools allow for controlled changes in the main branch of code. A CI tool can also monitor any changes to the central code repository and run automated tests when a merger occurs.

  • Catching errors: Continuous integration allows the development team to make more frequent, smaller steps, which helps them to correct errors sooner. Usually, if the team introduces changes, more errors are likely to arise, but with CI tools, small, controlled changes can happen safely without the worry of corrupting the main branch of code.

  • Immediate alerts: After merging code changes into the main branch, developers can get specific alerts about errors in the branch of code on which they were working. This allows the development team to mobilize the correct resources to correct the issue.

Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery involves automating the entire software release process. You can find below its definition and benefits:

Definition

Continuous delivery is where the software development team automatically sends code changes in the main branch to a testing environment. Here, the team can test the usability of a project before it gets to customers and find errors they may have missed during integration. Delivery is the intermediary step in integrating code and deploying, and continuously delivering code allows the team to see how a product may perform after changes. Some ways that continuous delivery might benefit your team of developers include:

  • Smaller releases: Continuously releasing changes in code into a testing environment means that you have smaller amounts of code to test and troubleshoot.

  • Fewer preparations: You may also have fewer tasks to do to prepare for your product's release day when you use continuous delivery. When you constantly deliver and test your code, you can be more confident in its usability and focus on making improvements to the overall product rather than fixing bugs before release.

  • Less pressure: More confidence in your code may also mean less pressure on your team to decide which changes to make and how to implement them. Satisfied team members may also work faster and more efficiently, which may speed up production time and help you deliver your finished product early.

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Tips for choosing development practices

It's beneficial to work on minor projects to try different development methods and practices before using them on larger projects. You can talk to your team and review their performance to decide whether they can handle continuous development practices. As a software developer, you can use the following tips to help you choose development practices and methodologies best for your team:

  • Consider your team's preferences: It depends on whether your team prefers to see their work published as they make changes, or whether they prefer to create a finished product before deploying it.

  • Understand your resources: Existing automation scripts, the quality of the testing environments, and your team's overall knowledge are all resources that can affect how well these practices work for the team.

  • Get feedback from customers: It's important to understand the customers' expectations and preferences because this may help you make a decision that may satisfy the customers and help your team works toward solutions.

Please note that none of the organizations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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