If you’re using GitLab to manage your software delivery, you should also look at GitLab CI/CD for your continuous integration and continuous delivery needs. We’ve found it especially useful when used with on-premise GitLab and self-hosted runners, as this combination gets around authorization headaches often caused by using a cloud-based solution. Self-hosted runners can be fully configured for your purposes with the right OS and dependencies installed, and as a result pipelines can run much faster than using a cloud-provisioned runner that needs to be configured each time. Apart from the basic build, test and deploy pipeline, GitLab’s product supports Services, Auto Devops and ChatOps among other advanced features. Services are useful in running Docker services such as Postgres or Testcontainer linked to a job for integration and end-to-end testing. Auto Devops creates pipelines with zero configuration which is very useful for teams that are new to continuous delivery or for organizations with many repositories that would otherwise need to create many pipelines manually.
GitLab CI/CD is a tool for software development using the continuous methodologies:
- Continuous Integration (CI)
- Continuous Delivery (CD)
- Continuous Deployment (CD)
From planning to production, bring teams together in one application. Ship secure code faster, deploy to any cloud, and drive business results.
What makes GitLab different
- It covers all stages of the Devops life cycle
- All the essential Devops capabilities in one application
- Cloud agnostic and deployment agnostic
- Saas and self managed options
- Security and compliance are built in
- A platform for all to collaborate
- It’s open and always improving
Simplify your workflow with a single application for all the stages
GitLab is The DevOps Platform that empowers organizations to maximize the overall return on software development by delivering software faster and efficiently, while strengthening security and compliance. With GitLab, every team in your organization can collaboratively plan, build, secure, and deploy software to drive business outcomes faster with complete transparency, consistency and traceability across the DevOps lifecycle.
Security capabilities, integrated into your development lifecycle.
GitLab provides Static Application Security Testing (SAST), Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST), Container Scanning, and Dependency Scanning to help you deliver secure applications along with license compliance.
What is CI/CD ?
CI/CD falls under DevOps (the joining of development and operations) and combines the practices of continuous integration and continuous delivery. CI/CD automates much or all of the manual human intervention traditionally needed to get new code from a commit into production such as build, test, and deploy, as well as infrastructure provisioning. With a CI/CD pipeline, developers can make changes to code that are then automatically tested and pushed out for delivery and deployment. Get CI/CD right and downtime is minimized and code releases happen faster.
There are eight fundamental elements of CI/CD that help ensure maximum efficiency for your development lifecycle. They span development and deployment. Include these fundamentals in your pipeline to improve your DevOps workflow and software delivery:
- A single source repository
Source code management (SCM) that houses all necessary files and scripts to create builds. The repository should contain everything needed for the build. This includes source code, database structure, libraries, properties files and version control. It should also contain test scripts and scripts to build applications.
- Frequent check-ins to main branch
Integrating code in your trunk, mainline or master branch — i.e. trunk-based development — early and often. Avoid sub-branches and work with the main branch only. Use small segments of code and merge them into the branch as frequently as possible. Don’t merge more than one change at a time.
- Automated builds
Scripts should include everything you need to build from a single command. This includes web server files, database scripts and application software. The CI processes should automatically package and compile the code into a usable application.
- Self-testing builds
Testing scripts should ensure that the failure of a test results in a failed build. Use static pre-build testing scripts to check code for integrity, quality and security compliance. Only allow code that passes static tests into the build.
- Frequent iterations
Multiple commits to the repository results in fewer places for conflicts to hide. Make small, frequent iterations rather than major changes. By doing this, it’s possible to roll changes back easily if there’s a problem or conflict.
- Stable testing environments
Code should be tested in a cloned version of the production environment. You can’t test new code in the live production version. Create a cloned environment that’s as close as possible to the real environment. Use rigorous testing scripts to detect and identify bugs that slipped through the initial pre-build testing process.
- Maximum visibility
Every developer should be able to access the latest executables and see any changes made to the repository. Information in the repository should be visible to all. Use version control to manage handoffs, so developers know which is the latest version. Maximum visibility means everyone can monitor progress and identify potential concerns.
- Predictable deployments anytime
Deployments are so routine and low-risk that the team’s comfortable doing them anytime. CI/CD testing and verification processes should be rigorous and reliable. This gives the team confidence to deploy updates at any time. Frequent deployments incorporating limited changes also pose lower risks and can be easily rolled back.
Apart from the basic build, test and deploy pipeline, GitLab’s product supports Services, Auto Devops and ChatOps among other advanced features. Services are useful in running Docker services such as Postgres or Testcontainer linked to a job for integration and end-to-end testing.
Testcontainers is a Java library that supports JUnit tests, providing lightweight, throwaway instances of common databases, Selenium web browsers, or anything else that can run in a Docker container.Testcontainers make the following kinds of tests easier:
- Data access layer integration tests: use a containerized instance of a MySQL, PostgreSQL or Oracle database to test your data access layer code for complete compatibility, but without requiring complex setup on developers’ machines and safe in the knowledge that your tests will always start with a known DB state. Any other database type that can be containerized can also be used.
- Application integration tests: for running your application in a short-lived test mode with dependencies, such as databases, message queues or web servers.
- UI/Acceptance tests: use containerized web browsers, compatible with Selenium, for conducting automated UI tests. Each test can get a fresh instance of the browser, with no browser state, plugin variations or automated browser upgrades to worry about. And you get a video recording of each test session, or just each session where tests failed.
- Much more! Check out the various contributed modules or create your own custom container classes using Generic Container as a base.
GitLab helps to automate the builds, integration, and verification of the code. With SAST, DAST, code quality analysis, plus pipelines that enable concurrent testing and parallel execution, teams get quick insights about every commit so they can deliver higher quality code faster.
A DevOps platform makes it easier to reduce context-switching and work cross-functionally because everyone is using the same tool. Built-in automation reduces the number of tasks that need to be done manually and aids in collaboration. At the end of the day, a complete DevOps platform isn’t a shiny toy, it’s a critical SMB tool.
Adopting a platform can make an SMB even more nimble, efficient, and able to scale. DevOps readies an SMB to take on bigger competitors with deeper pockets. And that will enable the business to become what its founders and executives envision.
For more details contact email@example.com
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