Building a DevOps pipeline for your App: Choose a CI/CD server
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By: Sagar Sharma

Building a DevOps pipeline for your App: Choose a CI/CD server

CI/CD is considered to be a complete build server that mostly functions as a virtual machine offered by a cloud provider to develop mobile apps, from anywhere in the world. Though techies can understand the technology well, for viewers, who do not know about CI/CD, CI is continuous integration, and CD is continuous deployment. DevOps CI CD pipeline is used for mapping the gap between development and operations teams by developing applications, testing, and deploying them. In other words, we call them the main source of building a DevOps pipeline for your mobile app.

Again, I know you are going to ask me what is a pipeline in DevOps. It is a set of processes developed in a software engineering team to make sure smooth development, testing, and deployment of applications happen appropriately. Hope, now you have some clarity on why you are reading this blog.

Now, what this blog brings you along? There are certain recommendations by experts as to what top CI/CD servers available, and which one to choose. This showcases which companies are offering DevOps as a service and maybe a short note on how to build a DevOps pipeline. Before we move into further sections in this blog, you must know what criteria should be looked into while choosing a CI/CD server provider.

What criteria with the CI/CD server provider should you look into?

While choosing a CI/CD provider, it is mandated that you verify whether the provider satisfies the following bunch of questions.

  • Does the server support all mobile platforms such as Android and iOS?
  • Is it tied up with Github and Bitbucket for hosting support?
  • Is it possible to utilize the free trial for both Android and iOS?
  • How easy it is to set up?
  • How many types of integration can it support?
  • Can developers operate different workflows?
  • Will it allow performing multi-tasking simultaneously?

So this is the checklist that you should have while choosing your CI/CD server provider.

Benefits of CI/CD server

  • Quicker software builds: Integrating CI and CD results in faster builds and delivers quicker outputs. It enables you to track the progress of a project and issue feedback in real-time when you carry out the implementation in continuous cycles.
  • Reaching market on-time: By introducing your app into the market in time, you get better customer engagement, amazing profits, supportive pricing, and advanced market goals as well.
  • Coding improvements: With CI, developers can integrate their code into a common warehouse, and it allows them to share their builds number of times a day rather than working remotely. Indeed, it helps them to develop a high-quality app.
  • Highly skilled developers: CI/CD pipeline implementation provides more profits by minimizing the cost of the software you use. CI helps to simplify your tasks into everyday tasks and identifies defects in coding in the early software development cycle.

Choosing the CI/CD server provider

Based on the aforementioned criteria, there are few CI/CD providers listed here.

1. Bitrise

Bitrise supports Android, iOS, and other native frameworks such as react and flutter and provides extended support to mobile app development. It provides Github and Bitbucket sign in so that you get hosting from the companies’ own hosting product. You can test both Android and iOS platforms through Bitrise. It is easy to set up and allows multiple integrations, along with tremendous workflow support. This way it is very useful to avoid the same steps for every build when code is published. It enables parallel builds but only two at a time until you complete your trial.

2. CircleCI

CircleCI is known to be the best CI provider because it lets you handle many diverse projects. It acts as a multi-purpose provider that not only companies that develop mobile apps can only use it, but it is friendly for non-tech companies as well. It also supports both Android and iOS and carries a pretty easy setup process. You get a .yml file which has to be configured to decide how you want to bring out your project.

It also supports Github and Bitbucket through which you can display your repositories on the server’s dashboard. The best part with CircleCI is you can even use it on Linux and Windows systems but does not support the Macintosh operating system. The scope of using integrations is very limited but provides an explicit workflow with CircleCI’s second version. You can very well build parallel apps in CircleCI.

3. Github Actions

This is a newly introduced server among the giants in existence, but it provides features similar to CircleCI. Actions are Github’s own products that can be used as a repository. It offers a few templates that even support non-mobile app development companies. However, Actions supports Android and iOS platforms for no doubt but not sure about how it supports Linux and Windows platforms. It provides required support to multiple workflows and allows you to configure each workflow by creating various workflows as per your expectations.

4. SemaphoreCI

SemaphoreCI was previously supporting the iOS and Beta version in Android, but now they have enhanced their service to the entire Android version as well. Unfortunately, it does not support Bitbucket but recently started supporting Github Sign In for repository dashboards. It offers an interesting and interactive workflow editor for you to utilize completely. It provides a 14-day trial of parallel builds and offers a free trial to try Android and iOS. You can avail support for Linux and macOS virtual machines as the server supports open-source projects. You can set up this server effortlessly and allows even third-party integration for your program builds.

5. TravisCI

TravisCI is the first CI-CD provider to build a DevOps pipeline. It is available in open source and so trying out several of its features is made easy. It initially had only Github Sign In and recently has included Bitbucket Sign In as a beta feature as well. It acts as a limiting factor if you use Bitbucket server as your build control. Since it is an open-source CI/CD provider, it allows you to build DevOps on both Android and iOS. It also has a premium version which is called Travis CI Enterprise. By simply adding a .yml file to your repository, you can set up the server within minutes.

Moreover, the .yml file allows you to send notifications or merge into a few third-party systems. So it is good at providing multiple integrations. You can very well manage your workflow but may not find a relevant document for the same. Instead, you can use the manual that is available for managing your builds, which would do the job for workflow as well. Consequently, you can run multiple builds on TravisCI as it supports parallel builds.

Several other CI/CD providers are Gitlab, Bamboo, AppCenter, Code Magic, and Jenkins, which you can also consider provided if any of them satisfy the factors mentioned as criteria in the previous sections.

Conclusion:

Building a DevOps pipeline is important for every developer to create a streamlined workflow and to manage both Android and iOS platforms on CI/CD server. Prefer to have a cloud-based server so that you can flexibly manage your features and resources accordingly. Meanwhile, if you are opting for a paid version of this server, cloud-based will reduce the cost incurred on it. Moreover, you can securely store your repositories in the dashboard that any server offers. If you have any queries on the same, do approach our technical support team for suggestions. We are easily reachable through phone, e-mail, and chat as well.

Frequently asked questions about building DevOps Pipeline

1. How to set up a basic deployment pipeline?

You have to follow three steps to set up a basic deployment pipeline or the first time setup.

  • Set up a build server
  • Install a few test suites
  • Add a deployment step and finally,
  • Run the server to publish what you have developed so far

2. What are the important phases in DevOps?

There are six phases interrelated and none of them can be skipped or changed. This is also called as 6Cs of the DevOps cycle.

  • Continuous business planning which begins with understanding the skills, results, and resources required
  • Collaborative development which starts with manual design plan of development and programming
  • Continuous testing which improvises your builds stage by stage
  • Continuous release and deployment
  • Continuous monitoring
  • Customer feedback and optimization

3. What does DevOps offer to developers?

You can speed up your application, development process and deployment facilities that should be faster to adapt to customer needs, market changes and new business goals in a better manner, reliability you expect, rapid delivery, scalability, security, collaboration, and commonly used best practices.

4. Is there any notable difference between Continuous Integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD)?

Yes! Continuous Integration (CI) is a simple process that allows you to integrate source code into a mainline code base, whereas continuous deployment (CD) is the next process after CI takes place successfully, before delivering your product to the client. It involves several processes such as testing, staging, and implementing the source code.

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