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Developers practicing continuous integration merge their changes back to the main branch as often as possible. The developer’s changes are validated by creating a build and running automated tests against the build. By doing so, you avoid the integration hell that usually happens when people wait for release day to merge their changes into the release branch.
Continuous integration puts a great emphasis on testing automation to check that the application is not broken whenever new commits are integrated into the main branch.
Continuous delivery treats the commonplace notion of a deployment pipeline; a set of validations through which a piece of software must pass on its way to release. Code is compiled if necessary and then packaged by a build server every time a change is committed to a source control repository, then tested by a number of different techniques before it can be marked as releasable.
Developers used to a long cycle time may need to change their mindset when working in a Continuous Delivery environment. It is important to understand that any code commit may be released to customers at any point.
Continuous deployment can be thought of as an extension of continuous integration, aiming at minimizing the time elapsed between development writing one new line of code and this new code being used by live users, in production.
To achieve continuous deployment, the team relies on infrastructure that automates and instruments the various steps leading up to deployment, so that after each integration successfully meeting these release criteria, the live application is updated with new code.
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