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The Role of Continuous Delivery in Accelerating Software Releases

By Arooj Shakeel
October 5, 2023

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Several obstacles frequently obstruct the path to creating exceptional software products; disjointed teams frequently affect release cycles, resulting in poor-quality products and increasing the overall cost of software development. 

Traditional software product development and delivery methods are rapidly becoming obsolete as the software development landscape evolves. DevOps can help you build high-quality software to improve your time-to-market, improve your software quality, and differentiate yourself from the competition. 

According to Puppet’s 2021 State of DevOps Report, 83 percent of IT decision-makers report that their organizations integrate DevOps practices to achieve higher business value through better quality software, faster delivery times, securer systems, and principle codification. 

Furthermore, this same report discovered that many people in the middle stages of the DevOps process have reached a plateau. Continuous delivery, a subset of DevOps, creates software in short cycles with consistent, manual releases. 

Let’s define continuous delivery, how it improves the speed, frequency, and reliability of software product development, and how it differs from continuous integration and continuous deployment.

What is Continuous Delivery in the Development of Software Products? 

Continuous delivery (CDE) is a software engineering approach that allows teams to produce software in short cycles while also ensuring that it can be manually and reliably released at any time. Its goal is to automate the software delivery process by rapidly developing, testing, and releasing new features and changes. 

Furthermore, the approach reduces the cost, time, and risk of delivering changes by allowing for incremental updates to live applications. CDE is enabled via the deployment pipeline and employs either automatic or manual processes to ensure bug-free software is regularly released into production. The deployment pipeline is made up of three parts:

Visibility: To encourage collaboration, all aspects of the delivery system, including build, deploy, test, and release, are visible to all team members. 

Feedback: Team members are made aware of problems as soon as they occur to resolve them as soon as possible. 

Continuous Deployment: You can deploy and release any software version to any environment using a fully automated process.

Why is CDE Important in Software Development?

CDE enables software releases to be small, predictable, less dramatic, and more interesting in an industry characterized by long periods of software development, looming deadlines, big releases, and stressful bug remediation. When done correctly, CDE enables businesses to respond quickly to market fluctuations and customer demands. Some of the advantages of CDE are as follows: 

Reduced Time to Market 

The software delivery lifecycle can take weeks or even months to integrate, which many organizations do not have. Because market conditions are constantly changing, CDE enables organizations to deliver the business value inherent in new software releases to customers faster. CDE assists them in staying ahead of the competition by implementing new changes and features regularly.

Quick Response 

Frequent releases allow application development teams to get user feedback faster. Teams can collaborate to create useful features. If they discover a useless feature, they flick it away and move on to the next useful feature. This aids in developing the right product and improves the overall end-user experience. 

Increased Productivity and Efficiency of Developers 

CDE decentralizes the responsibility for software delivery. This shared responsibility, and collaboration increases developer productivity and efficiency while making everyone’s life easier. It also saves a significant amount of time due to automation. This allows teams to devote more time to high-level activities such as testing.

Rapid Reaction 

Frequent releases enable application development teams to receive user feedback more quickly. Teams can work together to develop useful features. They simply flick away a feature that is no longer useful and move on to the next useful feature. This helps with product development and improves the overall end-user experience. 

Enhanced Developer Productivity and Efficiency 

CDE decentralizes software delivery responsibility. This shared responsibility, and collaboration boosts developer productivity and efficiency while making life easier for everyone. Because of the automation, it also saves a significant amount of time. This frees up time for teams to devote to high-level activities like testing.

Reliable Publications 

CDE enables developers to quickly and easily release small batches of working software to production. The risks associated with the release process are significantly reduced, and the process becomes more reliable. Because the deployment process and scripts are tested repeatedly, finding and fixing problems is easier, and the impact on the overall product is reduced. 

Greater Customer Satisfaction 

Because CDE values customer feedback, it ensures that every need is met. Furthermore, customer satisfaction rises as the number of open bugs and production incidents decreases significantly.

Conclusion: What distinguishes Continuous Delivery from Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment? 

Continuous Delivery, Continuous Deployment, and Continuous Integration are all DevOps software product development and delivery mechanism components. Continuous Integration (CI) integrates each developer’s working copies into a central repository several times daily. Because an automated build validates each check-in, teams can collaborate more effectively, detect problems earlier, and deliver a higher-quality product.

The primary goal of CI is to simplify the integration process and reduce overall build costs. Because developers regularly integrate their code into a centralized repository, software product development occurs collaboratively and in spurts rather than in isolation and at the end of the cycle.

Continuous deployment (CD) is the practice of deploying software functionality via automated deployments, which is usually preceded by continuous delivery. Because every change is subjected to automated testing, the code is automatically and frequently deployed to production. 

The primary goal of CD is to reduce lead time – the time between writing one new line of code and having it used by live users in production. This allows developers to achieve earlier RI for each feature developed while also receiving user feedback quickly. 

Teams in CD rely on infrastructure that automates and instruments the various steps preceding deployment. The live application is updated with new code as each integration meets the release criteria.

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