With the increasing popularity for mobile apps, all mobile app centric organisations are focusing towards technological solutions which are faster as well as qualitative. Hence all the app developing and quality assurance teams are switching towards faster technologies and developing environments like continuous integration and mobile devops for achieving better efficiency in mobile app development. The CI/CD pipeline is a set of tools that regulates the complete process of app development i.e. from integration to deployment very systematically and also enables fast product iterations. To understand the CI/CD pipeline in detail let us understand continuous integration and continuous delivery.
In Continuous Integration the developer commits the code in a centralized repository several times in a day. Once the code is committed, the build is prepared and sent for testing. After testing, if bugs are detected then the code is sent to the developer for rectification and then deployed in the production server. There are various continuous integration tools available in the market. Jenkins is one of the most popular open source continuous integration tools with multiple plugins for integrating other testing and development tools. Apart from Jenkins, the other continuous integration tools are Bamboo, Gitlab, Buddy, Teamcity etc.
In continuous delivery the code gets deployed in a mock production server instead of a real production server inorder to avoid risk of failure. In continuous development the code is deployed to the main production server.
What is a CI/CD pipeline?
CI/CD pipeline is a deployment pipeline, integrated with automation testing tools,software development tools and servers that enable continuous integration and continuous delivery with the help of frequent feedback loops, allowing teams to deliver smaller chunks of releases in a shorter time.The pipeline builds code, runs tests (CI), and safely deploys a new version of the application (CD). The greatest advantage of a CI/CD pipeline is that it removes manual errors, provides standardized feedback loops to developers, and enables fast product iterations.
How CI/CD pipeline helps to streamline mobile app testing?
To understand how a CI/CD pipeline streamlines mobile application testing we need to overview its structure. Almost every organisation has the same structure for a CI/CD pipeline except for some customizations. So in a general CI/CD pipeline, a developer commits the code to the GitHub server, then the code is compiled and a build is created and is unit tested. This unit test is pushed further to the QA team for Automation testing. If some bugs are found then it is again sent to the developer for fixing the bugs.
The developer after fixing the bugs commits the code to the server (Github) and the cycle repeats. This time if there is no bug after the code is tested then it is pushed to the production server for deployment. Hence from the CI/CD pipeline, we can derive that small chunks of code are systematically run through the complete process of commits, testing, debugging and releasing. Also, we can see that the code is being continuously tested by automation tools throughout the cycle which guarantees the accuracy@speed for all the releases. So a CI/CD pipeline automates and increases the speed of testing in a very systematic manner. Hence from the very structure of the CI/CD pipeline we can understand how it streamlines the process of software testing.
In pCloudy we use Jenkins as a continuous integration and continuous delivery tool. It consists of various plugins used for integrating automation testing tools and collaborative tools like Appium, Jira, Github etc for automating and regulating the mobile app development process.