The Continuous Integration model, often shortened to CI, refers to the software development practice where developers frequently merge their code changes into a central repository. After changes are committed, automated builds and tests are run to verify code quality and ensure new changes don't break the existing codebase. This process allows for earlier detection and resolution of bugs, improves software quality, and fast-tracks the delivery of software.
How it works
In a Continuous Integration model, developers regularly commit their code to the central repository, often multiple times per day. This ensures everyone is working on the most recent version. After code is committed, automated processes take over that both build the software and run a series of tests, validating the correctness of the new code. This process can be set to occur on every commit (push-based), at regular intervals (pull-based), or a combination of the two.
If the build or tests fail, developers are alerted immediately so they can fix the issues right away. This immediate feedback loop helps keep the code in a state where it can always be safely released. Additionally, most CI systems produce a report indicating exactly what changes caused the build or test failures, aiding developers in quickly pinpointing the problem.
The Continuous Integration model promotes a culture of shared responsibility for the codebase's stability, accelerating team productivity, and enabling faster and safer code delivery. It's a key component of modern agile and DevOps practices.
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