Our space is about mobile CI/CD but, let’s start with the basics in this article before going into the details of why mobile CI/CD is actually different than other CI/CD flows in our future articles.
What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous Integration (CI) is the building process for every code pushed to a repository automatically.
This is of course a very simplified definition and CI contains a number of different components, which are like the building blocks that come together to become a workflow.
A CI workflow may include operations like compiling the app, static code reviews and unit/UI testing with automated tools.
There are a number of different tools for CI/CD, some of the most popular ones are Jenkins, Travis and CircleCI, but mobile CI/CD requires specialization and in our space, we will be talking more about mobile CI/CD tools like Appcircle and Bitrise.
What is Continuous Delivery (or Deployment)?
Continuous Delivery (CD) is the delivery of the application for use with the components like the generation of environment-specific versions, codesigning, version management and deployment to a certain provider.
For mobile apps, the deployment can be done to a testing platform like TestFlight (for end user testing on actual devices) or Appcircle (for actual or virtual device testing).
Similarly, the release version of the app can be deployed to App Store and Google Play for B2C apps or to an enterprise app store for B2E apps.
Finally, what is a CI and CD pipeline?
With all CI/CD components are in place and connected together in an automated manner, they form an application pipeline. You just push your code and the code is processed through the pipeline.
CI is mainly responsible for processing the contents of the pipeline and CD is mainly responsible for directing the contents of the pipeline in the right direction.
In a well-functioning application pipeline, you don’t see the actual contents, it just flows by itself, but you have a full visibility on what is flowing and to where just like an actual pipeline.