The mobile workflow has been improving a lot. If there would be only two things to thank for this achievement, no doubt those would be the Continuous Integration adoption as a part of the mobile development workflow and use of agile and mobile DevOps cultures inside organizations. In these, automation is the key for successful app development, testing, deployment, and eventually monitoring running in the user context.
Mobile app quality has become a crucial factor for success in the mobile ecosystem. From indie developers to SMB-sized app and game studios and larger corporations pushing apps for users in various app sub-verticals (banks, retail, insurance, travel, and dozens of others), they all understand what gaining a five-star feedback for their app means.
Let's take a look at what mobile Continuous Integration can contribute.
Historically, automation has been one of the cornerstones (and yes, selling points) for Continuous Integration, and today Continuous Integration is very much the most important core pieces of most agile, mobile, and DevOps-driven development efforts and processes. In fact, the agile methods and mobile DevOps approaches have put Continuous Integration in its position and it has worked both ways making mobile CI popular among the agile organizations.
The use of automation is already in an epicenter of how developers build their software. Typically, companies rely on Continuous Integration tools (like Jenkins) that bring clarity for development, testing, and deployment.
In a nutshell, Continuous Integration provides a workflow to help manage code and its regressions and then enable efficient testing of app builds. With this sort of agile approach, continuous testing can also happen every time code changes in repository and build gets automatically deployed.
Why Is Mobile Continuous Integration Popular?
While for many mobile developers, Continuous Integration is already a core element, there are still organizations jumping on this bandwagon. Those organizations that aren’t necessarily yet mobile-first with their doings may especially lag in regards to having enough motivation and skills to adopt all the greatest mobile DevOps tools and methods.
However, mobile Continuous Integration is popular among development organizations. Despite the fact that there isn’t much survey data available on how many organizations have produced the top mobile apps are using CI systems, the growing number of providers with various flavors in Continuous Integration have provided a boost for both agile and DevOps-minded organizations.
The mobile Continuous Integration flow speeds up daily doings by automating the development-testing-deployment flow. This has had a direct impact on improved app store ratings (as the quality of the app improves), generation of more revenue (better usability, stability, and improved user experience), and faster response to any app related issue. The last one is probably the most remarkable benefit coming from the mobile Continuous Integration and ability to quickly turn around a new build for testing and deployment for users.
Mobile Continuous Integration Workflow
As said, (full) automation of the entire development-testing-deployment flow is the most significant value that Continuous Integration provides. All tasks that would be done manually would only create a time-consuming and error-prone aspect to this sort of development flow.
Furthermore, in order to maximize the effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity of the development workflow, always start with the full adoption of automation. All builds should be tested for acceptance, compatibility, integration, and performance – and many more aspects – but this is exactly where mobile Continuous Integration has its value to offer. With automated and Continuous Integration, deployment, and testing, every application or regression going through and coming out from the development pipeline can be tested in a timely manner and provide results for the next iteration.
Who Will Benefit From Mobile Continuous Integration?
First of all, developers love Continuous Integration. Many modern mobile developers have found CI systems extremely easy to integrate with, to get instant feedback on how their latest app version and regression works, and to know what sort of issues might need attention. This all can be achieved with full logs of test runs, screenshots, hardware optimization details, and recorded video of that specific test run. The logs are vital for developers in order to fix any issues with an app.
Anyone managing the development, testing, and deployment aspects will also love Continuous Integration because managing the overall process and all the details of it is easier. Results can be gained from out-of-office hours. Managing this type of process is much easier (compared to managing all aspects separately). Furthermore, management will see impact both on the top line and bottom line as increased productivity, effectiveness, cost savings, and much better quality.
QA is a huge fan of mobile Continuous Integration as they are the ones who take care of tests, test scripts, frameworks, and basically all things happening between the build.