A CI/CD pipeline is a method that builds, tests, and deploys code by using automation. It includes a group of practices known as continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment.
A CI/CD pipeline is a series of steps designed to take source code all the way into production. It is an agile DevOps workflow that focuses on a frequent and reliable software delivery process. The framework includes CI (continuous integration), CD (continuous delivery, continuous deployment, and continuous testing methods).
Continuous integration is a software development practice that requires developers to integrate code into a shared repository several times a day. Every single code change should prompt an automated build-and-test sequence. CI ensures that code written by different developers is error-free.
Continuous delivery (or deployment) is the practice of automating the entire software development and production process, ensuring that changes of all types go into production quickly and seamlessly. New code is released in small batches. No need to wait for a major release to correct bugs or add new features. Continuous deployment is the constant and automated production and deployment of every change made to the code.
A CI/CD pipeline can be triggered by an event (e.g. the presence of a new artifact in a repository), or some sort of regular schedule that matches a release cadence.
A CI/CD pipeline has numerous advantages. It allows you to reduce the time to deployment through automation which speeds up the development life cycle. While working in a CD/CD pipeline, teams have a clearer understanding of what is required to get their ideas into production. CI/CD pipelines are systemic which means bottlenecks can be easily seen and remedied. Code quality is improved, and the time-to-market of new functionalities is shortened. On top of that, you get instant feedback about the code—every time code is tested, developers can quickly take action on the feedback and improve the code. Communication is streamlined and customer satisfaction improved. Finally, you collect detailed metrics about your software performance and decrease the costs associated with traditional software.