One of the best practices for developers, that is being used widely, is Continuous integration or CI, in short.


Understanding CI


It is a software engineering practice wherein developers merge working copies of their code in a mainline or source control server at different intervals (sometimes several times a day). The purpose of CI is to prevent integration problems that occur too late in the development cycle. The practice helps to improve the work in progress copy of the developer’s code and address quality issues early in the development cycle. Additionally, during CI unit and integration tests are performed in addition to static and dynamic tests for effective measurement and provide an insight to the application’s performance.


CI is known to give a more transparent picture to the entire project team on a continuous basis.


Some of the tools that can help developers to continuously integrate are:


Written in Java, Jenkins is a cross-platform and open source Continuous Integration application. It was earlier known as Hudson Labs and used to monitor execution of repetitive jobs. Organizations use Jenkins for building or testing while building software that needs to be continually integrated. Users have also appreciated Jenkins as it is easy to install and configure. The developers get an e-mail/real-time notification on experiencing errors and there is a provision to tag builds even after they are completed. Jenkins extends support to 3rd party plugins.


TeamCity is an intelligent tool that helps users to run a stable build and trunk. The tool allows developers to run automated tests on the server even before making the changes. So it ensures that the code base is clean at all times. It gives real time build progress reporting and various ways in which the user can get a notification.


Team Foundation Server or TFS is a build automation tool built on top of MSBuild. It integrates with other Visual Studio Team System tools and is known as to provide an end-to-end build process. TFS is known to offer all the features that are required during the continuous integration process. It is recommended for enterprises that extensively use Microsoft since Microsoft technologies, tools and Visual Studio are closely integrated to provide a higher value to them.


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