The software development landscape is increasingly getting more and more competitive. Organizations are looking to speed up time to market while improving the quality of software and reducing development costs. DevOps concepts like CI help in this as they make the process of integration a simple, easily repeatable everyday development task. 

But for CI to work, organizations need to adopt the best tools. Tools such as Jenkins, Bamboo, and Cruise Control, have been helping us build, test, and deploy software most efficiently and reliably. 

Want to know what our favorite CI tools are? Read on to find out! 

Introduction to Orchestration

Have you ever wondered how DevOps shortens an application’s time to market? It is through orchestration of several automated tasks DevOps can create standardized, repeatable, reusable workflows. Orchestration takes the burden of managing normal, day-to-day operations of development teams, so they can focus on strategic activities that add value. 

It optimizes and standardizes processes and deploys application components while allowing for efficient communication and integration between them. This is made possible through the use of modern orchestration tools that simplify the communication and connections and ensure links are correctly configured and maintained. 

Let’s look at Jenkins as an example. Being an open-source automation server, Jenkins provides a pool of plugins that you can use to build, deploy, and scale any project. Build and deployment automation makes seamless integrations with VCS, Code Analysis, and Artifactory Manager - allowing you to orchestrate a bunch of actions to achieve CI - in an automated manner. The minute you commit code, Jenkins will build and test it - several times a day - and automatically identify issues, thus saving time and reducing the impact of defects. 

Bamboo is another popular orchestration tool that allows you to achieve continuous integration, deployment, and delivery. Bamboo automates release management; it creates a continuous delivery pipeline, ensuring new changes integrate well into the existing codebase while providing quick ‘fail fast’ feedback on the quality of the changes. Its build and deployment architecture helps manage continuous integration for all developers and integration branches automatically.

Now let’s move on to the various stages in orchestration, and the tools we use for each: 

DevOps Engg. Tools -01.png

Version Control

You must adopt a robust version control process to drive better automation, testability, quality control, and predictability with DevOps deployments. Version control helps in efficiently storing infrastructure templates and other artifacts. It allows everyone on the DevOps team to get a clear picture of all the resources (and their versions) required to support an application.

When it comes to version control, our most prized tool is undoubtedly Git with Bitbucket. Git is probably the most commonly used tool that not only allows developers to work with local, offline copies of the codebase, but also allows them to push changes to a centralized version control repository on a remote server. 

Since each member can synchronize a copy of the code from the repository, Git enables teams to remain up to date about all changes, while allowing them to merge code and reduce conflicts seamlessly. With simple pull requests, members can have discussions with peers in the source code with inline comments and approve code reviews more efficiently. 

Build

Compiling source files, packaging them, and converting them into a software product is an integral aspect of the application development process. Build automation allows these steps to be repeatable – with no human intervention – so the number of defects can be reduced, and the product can be deployed sooner. 

One of our favorite build tools is Ant. Using Ant, we’ve been able to drive processes described in build files, and compile, assemble, test, and run our applications with increased efficiency. Since it is incredibly flexible, it does not impose coding conventions or directory layouts – allowing us to build products with ease. 

Maven is also a tool we often use for build automation. Maven describes how software is built, along with its dependencies on external modules, directories, and more. Since it is created using a plugin-based architecture, it allows us to make any application controllable through standard input, while identifying the external dependencies a code has. 

We also like to use Make that helps us to build and install programs efficiently. Since all the information of how to build the program lies in the makefile, the tool automatically figures out which files it needs to update, while automatically determining the proper order for updating files. 

Code Analysis 

When it comes to application development, the need for tools that carry out efficient code analysis to detect quality or security issues is pressing. Code analysis tools not only help identify problems, but they also expose areas of code that need refactoring. The resulting analysis reports state programming errors and flaws, allowing teams to take immediate action so that high-quality code can be guaranteed. 

Sonar has been helping us write cleaner and safer code for years. By referring to thousands of automated code analysis roles, Sonar catches tricky bugs, fixes vulnerabilities that compromise app security, drives code reliability, and makes sure our codebase is always clean and easy to maintain. 

We are also particularly fond of PMD, a source code analysis tool. PMD is exceptionally efficient at spotting inefficient code and programming flaws such as unused variables, duplicate code, unnecessary object creation, and more. It does this by using built-in rules while allowing us to write custom rules. 

Checkstyle is another tool that helps us write code that sticks to basic coding standards. It automates the process of checking code – without needing any human intervention. And because the tool is highly configurable, it allows us to tweak it to support almost any coding standard. 

Artifacts Management

For organizations that seek to deploy products frequently using a smooth application development workflow, having a central repository manager is critical. It allows them to efficiently manage an ever-growing matrix of binaries, environments, and geographically distributed sites. 

For repository management, we love using Artifactory. This tool helps us ship updates continuously and automatically. The speed at which it does this has completely transformed the way we manage and release software. Artifactory has allowed us to achieve high code availability, integrate our CI/CD ecosystem to increase productivity and scale to meet our growing needs. 

Conclusion

Over the last several years, application development has evolved from being a one-time process to one that ensures working software is always available. 

How organizations support this continual flow of code from individual developers to the production environment is through the use of the right CI tools across all stages of the development lifecycle. Using tools such as Git, Bitbucket, Ant, Maven, Make, Sonar, PMD, Checkstyle, and Artifactory, we at Addteq have been able to get visibility across our development life cycle, drive efficient application development, and meet the needs of our customers.

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