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Improve Code quality using CI/CD and automated code review

Improve Code quality using CI/CD and automated code review

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What CI/CD has to do with code quality?

A successful development workflow helps a good developer become great and great developers exceptional. Nowadays, CI/CD is the most prominent method to achieve that success. CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment. Continuous Integration is the practice of testing each change done to your codebase automatically, as ahead of schedule as possible, while, Continuous Deployment follows the testing that occurs during Integration and pushes changes to an arranging or creation framework.

CI and CD make the keystone of the modern DevOps environment. Nowadays, the CI/CD concept is everywhere, as it makes deployment faster and effective. Through CI/CD, one can be sure that your system is working, regardless of the changes you make. This gives you the certainty to analyze, actualize new features, and ship updates quickly.

Concepts to assimilate before you set up your CICD pipeline

Version Control

Version control enables team members to work on a single project simultaneously. Each person edits his or her copy of files and chooses when to share those changes with the team. Thus, one person’s temporary or partial edits do not interfere with another person’s work or the complete project.

Continuous Integration

Continuous integration is the process of automatically detecting, pulling, building, and doing unit testing as source code is updated. CI is the primary step that starts the pipeline. The goal is to check the new changes from team members quickly are “good” and suitable for further use in the codebase.

Continuous Delivery

Continuous delivery is a software development system where developers build pieces of software to be released to production at any time. You’re doing continuous delivery when: 

  • Your software is deployable throughout its lifecycle.
  • Your team prioritizes to keep the software deployable for new features.
  • Anyone can get fast, automated feedback on their systems production readiness any time somebody makes a change to them.
  • Your team can perform deployments of any version of the software to any environment on demand.

Continuous Development

Continuous deployment goes a little further than continuous delivery. Every enhancement that clears all stages of your production pipeline is released to your customers. Without any human intervention, only a failed test will prevent new growth from being deployed to production. Continuous deployment is an excellent way to speed up the feedback loop with your clients and take the pressure off the team.

Why is CI/CD essential to improve the overall quality?

A CI/CD pipeline implementation is the keystone of the modern DevOps environment. It bring together the development and operations teams by automating the building, testing, and deployment of applications. With CI/CD, you need to decide what you want to test, and when you want to try it.
Often manual testing isn’t enough. Test automatization is required to make the testing process faster/cheaper and to be able to integrate it with the CI/CD pipeline. This makes the development process faster/cheaper and helps support code in high quality.

Your CI/CD pipeline is an integral part of your development process. It shortens the code-change-result cycle, making the code easier to fix and update as the turnaround is a lot quicker and cheaper. You can achieve a speedier build by triggering it as soon as code is pushed to the repository.

How to set-up a CI/CD pipeline. 

Implementing and adopting CI/CD will be transitioning from a very manual and slow process to one that is much more automated and rapid one. Simplicity is the key while setting up a CI/CD pipeline if you don’t want to create overhead in terms of implementation, operations, optimization, and other contexts that can immediately eat up any benefits. CI/CD can be set up based on some basic building blocks of a CI/CD pipeline to identify these blocks according to your team and establish your pipeline’s structure accordingly.

Just as you have to spend adequate time identifying the right building blocks for your pipeline, you should also devote sufficient time to ensure you’re choosing the suitable applications for your pipeline.“Do not skimp on testing and telemetry,” Berent-Spillson says. Automated tests and code-coverage metrics need to be part of your pipeline from the get-go as it will have compounding benefits in terms of continuous improvement and optimization.

How to optimize it for quality?

Anyone looking to or is middle of adapting a CI/CD pipeline must monitor the following matrix to optimize the development environment according to the results. 

  1. Lead time to production
  2. Number of bugs
  3. Defect resolution time
  4. Regression test duration
  5. Broken build time
  6. Number of code branches
  7. Production downtime during deployment

All the above will give you more information on the Maintainability, Reliability, and Agility of your software, allowing you to focus on improving specific areas of your pipeline. 

Integrating a static code analysis tool

The static code analysis is a useful tool to have a good overview of the project code quality and to be able to predict potentials issues that can arise. We can interpret code quality as it is related to code consistency, readability, performance, test coverage, vulnerabilities. This analysis can easily expose the block of code that can be optimized in terms of quality. Even better, by integrating these analyses into the development workflow, we can tackle these code quality issues in the early stages of the delivery.
Continuous Code Quality
is another layer in the CI/CD pipeline responsible for quality checks. You need to choose an appropriate tool accountable for running the analysis.

Things you need to look for a while choosing the static code analysis tool:
  • Full support for required languages from your projects.
  • Integration with source control of your choice to add inline comments and code quality checks on every pull request.
  • Good static code analysis with an extensive set of rules.
  • Cloud-hosted as you want to focus on software development and not spend time maintaining a server/tool.
  • Define code quality goals and refine thresholds for each code quality measure.
  • Well documented.

Suggested CI/CD pipeline

The code review should always be performed simultaneously for each pull request and commit performed on sub-branches as well as the master branch of all projects. Having an automated code review tool as a part of your CICD pipeline will allow you to monitor, quickly rectify, and grow your code with much higher code quality.


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