Continuous Integration or CI is a development approach that includes testing and reporting of any changes to the given build. CI is not a new thing for the developers. it was not until 1994 when the term was used. And as you may see, it was long before modern mobile apps were launched.
But still let’s speak of the continuous integration in terms of the app development. The main goal is to establish an updated and consistent feedback system for developers to adapt and add changes to the apps or any other software.
CI is everything about the automation. While originally it was used for standard software development but soon CI was adopted for the mobile development, too. As it can be seen, automation has long been one of the cornerstone points for CI. Sometimes Continuous Integration is associated with the Agile methods of the development. But in fact, they have less than anything in common.
As a matter of a fact, Agile environment and other mobile app development methods have improved the Continuous Integration and made it popular among the Agile companies. CI requires special platforms and tools to ensure a smooth work of a development team.
CI for Mobile Apps
One of your primary considerations while implementing Continuous Integration for mobile apps is a platform you are creating apps for. For instance, Shippable supports only Android apps but not iOS. And in case you create apps for both Android and iOS, Travis CI as well as Circle CI are right up your street. Of course, it’s quite a challenging task to pick up a right platform as there are lots of pitfalls to consider. And if something fits one company, you can’t be 100% sure that it’s an ideal option for you.
If you develop for any platform, it would be great to look for a CI tool that supports multi-platform development. Since supporting more than one CI tool for different development team may result in increased maintenance cost as well as workflow problems especially if you run cross-platform testing.
Reasons Why Continuous Integration Is Popular
Continuous Integration remains a core element for many mobile developers but there are still companies trying to ho on the bandwagon. Especially the companies that aren’t mobile-first and it can be easily explained by having not enough motivation and skills to shift to the greatest mobile development methods as well as tools not to mention Continuous Integration.
Nevertheless, Continuous Integration is quite a popular approach among mobile development agencies. Due to the fact that there is no exact data on how many organization use CI systems to develop the top mobile apps, the growing number of CI providers has proven the ever-growing popularity of CI.
The Mobile Continuous Integration goes for process automation by speeding up daily doings and automating the develop-test-deploy flow. The Mobile Continuous Integration improves not only the workflow but the app store rating since the quality of mobile apps are growing, too. Moreover, the approach is said to generate more revenue thanks to the better usability, stability as well as improved user experience. The last but not the least benefit of CI is an ability to quickly turn around a new build for testing and deployment.
Benefits of Continuous Integration for Mobile App Development
- Automation of the development process
- Improved app store ratings
- Better app quality
- Improved stability and usability of mobile apps
- Increased profits
- Improved efficiency and productivity
How Does Continuous Integration Work?
As it was said above, the automation of the entire development process including the stages of development, testing as well as deployment is the key element that Continuous Integration provides. It’s common knowledge that all manual task are both time-consuming, inefficient, and error-prone.
Only the full adoption of the automation process may maximize the efficiency, effectiveness as well as productivity of the development workflow. All new builds should run a set of tests for compatibility, acceptance, performance, and integration. These are only the main aspects. And this is the point where Continuous Integration comes useful.
With the fully-automated continuous integration, every stage of mobile app development whether integration, deployment or testing will be going through and coming out from the development workflow for being tested and getting ready for the next development stage.
Developers Love Continuous Integration
First and foremost, mobile app developers love Continuous Integration. State-of-the-art Continuous Integration systems are both easy-to-integrate as well as easy-to-use. With CI systems, developers can get instant feedback on how their latest app versions works and what aspects need further improvements. The Mobile Continuous Integration provides developers with full logs of test runs, screenshots. hardware optimization details as well as recorded videos of tests. The logs themselves are essential for developers to fix any issues within a mobile app.
The management process within a CI system has become extremely easy. Managing the overall development process is likely to be more efficient, cost-effective and convenient when compared to managing each aspect separately.
And QAs are fond of Mobile Continuous Integration as they take care of all tests, test scripts, frameworks, etc. And it’s vital for them to have everything happening between the development and deployment.
Before implementing a CI solution, there are numerous things to consider. The CI system has to meet your business needs as well as provide an ideal environment for mobile app development. No matter what a CI system you will implement, automation and feedback are the keys to your success as mobile app entrepreneur.
Technical Writer At IDAP Group