Pencils representing the difference between continuous integration and continuous deployment.

In the age of transformation, agility is critical for companies to remain competitive. Continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) is an automated software delivery process that empowers development teams to respond to market demands quickly. The process helps companies deploy new features as often as every few hours. This is ideal for teams using APIs to modernize legacy systems as a part of their digital transformation strategy. Let’s examine the differences between continuous integration vs. continuous deployment and how each helps speed software delivery for your company.

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Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment: The Methodology

DevOps is a development practice that combines Dev (software development) and Ops (operations) processes. This allows teams to work more efficiently while simultaneously improving quality, speeding delivery, reducing costs, and improving customer satisfaction.

In reviewing the difference between continuous integration vs. continuous deployment, it is important to note that they are separate processes in the DevOps workflow. 

CI/CD is a DevOps practice where source code gets tested and deployed automatically through a delivery pipeline, all without human intervention. The goal is to increase the frequency of deployments through automation while ensuring stable deployments. An additional consideration when comparing continuous integration vs. continuous deployment is that they improve collaboration. 

Improving Software Quality Using Continuous Integration 

Continuous integration (CI) is an application development process in which programmers sync new code changes from their local copy of the repository into the central repository called the main branch. Dev teams don’t need to wait for a release to sync their code. They can commit their changes at any time. 

In evaluating continuous delivery vs. continuous deployment, the key thing is that they work together to improve the developer experience. How? 

CI helps developers working on different parts of the same project have all feature flags merged into the mainline. Each time a developer commits code, the CI system does an automated build and unit tests each new version. The system alerts the developer if the automated tests fail. 

Why Continuous Integration Matters

  • Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment Improves Software Quality: Testing at each commit allows teams to fix things quickly, improving software quality. 
  • Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment Improves Collaboration and Communication: CI helps the team see the state of the codebase at any given time. This allows developers to assess where they are in their work and how their changes affect other areas of the system.
  • Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Deployment Enables Better Visibility Into Your Deployment Pipeline: By running your integration tests on every check-in, you’ll have a more frequent feedback loop for what is happening with the codebase to identify what to improve.

Accelerating Time To Market With Continuous Deployment

Continuous deployment (CD) refers to the practice of automatically deploying new software releases to end users once all automated testing is successful. This is a stark change from traditional deployments. 

In the traditional software release process, deployment is often manual and time-consuming. This was the case whether it was a major update, a bug fix, or a small change.

A CD pipeline automatically creates a new build for every code commit that successfully passes the build and tests. The system pushes the new release to the specific environment for the developer. 

With continuous deployment, developers no longer have to wait for the deployment process to finish before working on their next task. Instead, they can continue developing new features or fixing bugs while the release is being deployed.

 DreamFactory’s API Management platform integrates seamlessly into your DevOps automated process for quick access to your APIs from a central repository. Get started to see for yourself.

Why Continuous Deployment Matters

When comparing continuous integration vs. continuous deployment, the most notable feature of CD is that it allows teams to run the entire process multiple times a day. Additional benefits include: 

  • Quick time to market for new features
  • Reduced risk of introducing errors into production
  • Improved stakeholder satisfaction by releasing features quickly

Two Processes, One Goal

As mentioned earlier, comparing continuous integration vs. continuous deployment isn’t the best way to look at things. Why? Because CI and CD work together in the deployment workflow to reduce the time between code commits and deployment. The goal is to make it easier for developers to work on their code in a stable environment while still deploying or testing new features when they are ready without affecting the production environment. 

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Getting Started With DreamFactory

Digital transformation requires companies to adopt a more efficient and agile method to deliver software. When it comes to process, it’s not as simple as continuous integration vs. continuous deployment. It’s more about how they work together to achieve resilience.

Start your journey to digital transformation with DreamFactory, the no-code API solution that provides a complete REST API for web and mobile applications. Start your free trial! 

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