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Hiren Dhaduk
Hiren Dhaduk

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How to automate CI/CD workflows?

CI/CD is neither a silver bullet nor a sure-shot medicine to your software development troubles. CI/CD implementation has specific challenges depending on your project requirements. Overcoming these challenges can mean better time-to-market, flexibility, and streamlined processes. In this article, we will discuss how to automate CI/CD workflows to improve the CI/CD implementations and enable higher security, flexibility, and reliability of software deployments.

Stages of CI/CD workflows

A CI/CD pipeline is divided into four stages namely - Source, build, test, and deploy.

Source - This is the first stage in any CI/CD procedure. At this point, the CICD pipeline will be triggered by any modification to the program or by a specified flag in the source repository. Source control, including Version Control and Change Tracking, is the main focus of this stage. At this stage, one can use popular tools like SVN, Git, AWS, CodeCommit, etc.

Build - During this phase of the pipeline, the source code and all of its dependencies are transformed into executable or runnable instances. The source code and its dependencies are combined at this point in order to prepare the application for compilation. The main goal of this process is to produce a software instance that can be distributed to the end-user and is ready for usage.

If the build phase fails, there may be a fundamental project misconfiguration that needs to be fixed as soon as feasible at the initial stage. A few of the CI/CD tools used during the build stage are - Jenkins, Gradle, Azure pipelines, etc.

Test - To validate the application conditions, binaries, configuration, environment, and data, multiple automated testing techniques are employed throughout the testing step of the CICD workflow. Eliminating software defects from affecting end users is the goal of the testing phase. At this point, the objective is not simply to ensure that all unit tests pass but to maintain test standards and requirements as the code base expands. Popular testing tools used during this phase are - Selenium, Jest, Appium, etc.

Deploy - Any deployment technique, including blue-green, canary, and in-place deployments, can be enabled by making necessary modifications during this step. Tools that assist with the deploy stage are - AWS Code Deploy, Ansible, Chef, etc.

Steps for building a CI/CD Workflow

Let’s try to grasp how to build a CI/CD workflow using Jenkins in the following steps.

Step 1: Make sure Jenkins is fully configured with the required dependencies before you start using Jenkins to generate CICD workflows.

Step 2: Start by logging into the Jenkins workspace and clicking on β€œNew Item” on the left side panel.

Step 3: In this step, you have to name your CICD pipeline. Select the β€œPipeline” menu and enter your pipeline’s name in the β€œEnter an item name” field.

Step 4: You are now prepared to set up the CICD pipeline. Jenkins' configuration for the pipeline is fairly simple. You can quickly configure any end-to-end CICD workflows or pipelines by configuring the pipeline's build triggers and other settings using the pipeline configuration interface. The most important component is "Pipeline Definition," which lets you explain the pipeline's steps.

Step 5: For example purpose, add a basic β€œhello world” pipeline script as shown below

pipeline {
    agent any
    stages {
        stage('Hello') {
            steps {
                echo 'Hello World'
            }
        }
    }
}

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Step 6: Select the Pipeline Definition section, enter the above code, and click Apply and Save. Now, you successfully configured the sample CICD pipeline.

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