Continuous Integration (CI) misconception

In some online resources the term Continuous Integration (CI) is always used in the broadest sense to mean that on some schedule or event the outputs of every ongoing project or separate teams are obtained, put together somehow, and then a test system is updated so that various tests can be invoked. No wonder some test and management professionals are wary of the concept.

The problem here is the “other” usage. More correctly CI can even be applied to one team on one project. One distinguishing feature of CI is that there are multiple developers*. Thus, as these developers complete various tasks and commit or push to a shared repository, a build and deploy process is run to create testable systems.

The term “integration” in CI is applicable to more inclusive senses, or a fuzzy continuum, from one project and one team to combinations of these. Thus, some processes are CI to a certain degree, or worse very CI anti-pattern to a certain degree.

In the modern CI best practices, CI is done via various build and deployment servers that automate some or all of the pipeline. In the past at some companies, the designated build person was doing manual Continuous Integration.

Sure, in CI there will be episodes of actual integration with other current projects, teams, or externally generated artifacts. If this is automated, then we have full CI.

* Even a single developer who uses various branching strategies on one code base may use CI practices.


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