Continuous Delivery

What Is Continuous Delivery?

Continuous Development (CD) is an approach in software development that involves teams working in short cycles. It entails pushing out code to production as they become ready, rather than waiting until the end of a schedule. The approach focuses on building software in such a manner that it can be deployed at any time.

CD is predicated upon two principles: reduced feedback loops and instant improvement to user experience. As developers push out updates more frequently, they get a chance to get quicker feedback to guide improvement to the overall experience. 

This concept shouldn’t be confused with continuous deployment or continuous integration, as some people do.  Continuous deployment is about frequently deploying updates – even multiple times in a day – but with CD you may choose not to push anything out even when you’re able to.  As for continuous integration, it has to do with the automated verification of code prior to being added to the central codebase.

You know you’re doing continuous delivery if you can deploy your software at any time in its lifecycle.

How Continuous Delivery Helps

Among the major benefits that you can get from doing continuous delivery are the following:

Evident sign of headway – It can prove a bit difficult convincing some key stakeholders, including executives, that you’re making progress. There may be a doubt on the part of these people if you aren’t deploying anything. CD can help to make it more convincing that you’re making progress.

Faster learning – You don’t want to take your time to build something only to find that it doesn’t resonate with users. With its shorter feedback loops, CD enables you to gather user feedback faster to ensure you’re on the correct course.

Ease of fixing issues – Following from the foregoing, it becomes easier to correct issues that may arise. The fact that you’re doing things bit by bit, and learning, means that you are less likely to find bugs hard to fix.

Key Steps When Adopting the Continuous Delivery Approach

Decide fit – Before doing any other thing, you should first consider how suitable CD will be for your product. Will your customers be okay with seeing frequent changes? This approach may not be ideal when your product is for enterprise users that tend to prefer stability.

Consider your organization – It is key to think of what the response will be in your organization to adopting this approach, which requires a mindset shift. Will people be open to the idea of pushing out frequent updates? If they are, how do they think code should be activated – automatically or otherwise – even when already deployed?

Think data – Determine how you’re going to collect and analyze data. You can make use of a combination of data collection tools, including analytics and surveys. The information you collect is what enables you to make the right, impactful changes.

Automate – There is a need for the automation of multiples processes when doing continuous delivery. This speeds up the process of deploying code more seamlessly. Committed code sets off a sequence of reactions that leads to a rapid update of the production environment. Automation is often done with the aid of a Deployment Pipeline.

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