DevOps is quickly becoming a buzzword and for good reason. It’s all about bringing the same dedication to software development and delivery that you would to any other aspect of your business, but with the focus on extra attention to detail and less human error. Whether you are just getting started or are already working in a DevOps environment, this article will help you identify best practices and skills that you can immediately apply to your own development routine so you can hit the ground running when your project goes live.
Do Your Research
Approximately 85% of software releases are considered defects and if you are developing an app you know it’s a quick way to get your app back on track and into the hands of your users. There are numerous tools and resources available to developers and IT teams that can help with this, from automated testing suites to various kinds of software licenses that allow you to test your app’s functionality before going live. Doing your research before you start coding can save you countless hours of pain and ensure that you are not making any critical design mistakes that could cause serious issues when your app is eventually released to the public.
Continuous Integration (CI) is a process of integrating code from multiple sources (usually developers’ computers) on to a server and playing back the changes that were just made. This can either be done manually by a Developer or by using a CI tool like GitLab. CI can be a huge timesaver because it ensures that the developer’s code is always up to date and ready to be deployed to a production environment, but it also allows for multiple people to work on the codebase simultaneously which can speed up the development process. It can be a very democratic and inclusive process too because it allows anyone with access to the CI server to pull down and review the latest changes made by anyone else in the project.
Version Control (VCS) is a method of keeping track of changes that have been made to a codebase over time and allowing users to go back in time to see what previous versions of the code looked like. This can be hugely beneficial because it means that even if you do make a critical mistake and have to go back and fix it, you’ll have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you can always go back and look at what was done previously to see how it was supposed to be done. This can save you a great deal of heartache and wasted time if you are ever unsure of how something should work or if you’ve made a mistake.
Code Review is quite simply coding standards and code quality control which ensures that all the code developed by one or more individuals is of a certain quality standard and that there are no major design or implementation flaws. This can be done either manually by one or more reviewers or automatically using a tool like Code Climate. You would want to have Code Review wherever possible because it can stop a lot of problems from ever occurring in the first place and help you become a more professional and efficient programmer. It can also help you spot any bad practices or design decisions you might have made that could have been better if you’d had someone else’s opinion to bounce off of.
Automated Testing is testing either done by a computer or a piece of automated software that can run tests quickly and reliably without human intervention. It’s a common misconception that automated testing means no human interaction whatsoever, in fact, most automated testing suites require a QA tester to go over the results with the programmers when the tests are complete so they can figure out what went wrong and how they can make the application perform better next time.
Continuous Deployment (CD) is the process of continuously updating and refining the software based on user feedback and new product features as they are introduced. In other words, as soon as a developer has code ready for deployment they can simply deploy it to a live environment and the software will automatically update itself and start functioning, all without requiring any manual interventions. Some CD tools like Travis CI or Circle CI can do this automatically for you so you don’t have to worry about remembering to manually update your app every time you push code changes to GitHub.
Manual Testing is exactly what it sounds like: doing everything by hand. Whether you are testing the app on your own devices or in a simulated environment (like a Virtual Machine or Browser Stack), there is usually some sort of manual testing involved in the app development process. This can be done either by a QA Engineer or by the developer themselves after every code change they make.
Manual testing has many advantages. Firstly, it is usually the only option available if you want to do everything by hand since automated testing usually requires some sort of manual intervention to configure the tests and get them running. Secondly, some of the testing can be quite challenging to automate, especially performance testing since it usually requires attaching some sort of hardware element (like a camera or a microphone) to your software and then analyzing the functionality of the application while it is under load. Finally, manual testing provides the advantage of constant supervision since you can always stop the test and check back in at any time to see what needs to be adjusted or changed.