How to Leverage DevOps to Make Software Development Easier
DevOps is a new and up coming field in Information Technology. With My experience as a DevOps engineer, I wrote this article to show you how you can leverage DevOps in your software development to automate the boring stuff!
What exactly is DevOps?
The phrase “DevOps” refers to a method of process improvement that is mostly utilized in system administration and software development. DevOps is a “mashup” of the phrases “development” and “information technology operations.”
The goal of this strategy is to achieve more efficient and effective collaboration in development, IT operations, and quality assurance. Through the use of special incentives, tools, and processes, we can accomplish this goal.
The goal of improved collaboration between the various software development areas aims to increase the speed of software development and interaction between individual teams.
Situations that are often tough for us to handle and solve serve as the foundation for learning processes. As a result of our personal experiences, we extend our viewpoints if we learn in a sustainable manner. Software development is an ever-changing field, and the only way to traverse it is through experience. Experience aids in the development of intuition, which makes it easier to absorb new concepts.
What steps can you take to automate your software development process?
Automation is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Automation is not the end-all be-all solution to life’s problems. You can automate certain tasks to make life easier, but before you spend time automating it is essential to understand the business value an automation can bring. To demonstrate the business value of automation, you don’t have to automate everything all at once.
To begin with find common and often done tasks with a low level of difficulty. These are frequently the chores that gain the most from automation. Automation candidates are typically processes and operations that IT administrators conduct regularly and require a long time to complete. Resetting user passwords and provisioning VM instances are two such examples, as well as pushing code from development to production or automated testing of code.
Translating Actions into Automation
Organizations have a difficult time translating human procedures into automation workflows. Every single time, automation does the same steps in the same way. There are many variations to a particular task and automation systems sometimes don’t account for that. The DevOps team need to take care of these variations and carefully design the automation workflows.
You need to evaluate a wide range of automation alternatives, even if you don’t intend to adopt them all right away. Are there specific processes that you can automate? Do specific parts of a task take up more time with repetitive work? Seek for common sequences or sub-processes that can be automated.
IT can then implement and reuse these same automations in other projects. The more frequent the sequences or processes, the easier and more effective the automation task. Existing human workflows can often be adjusted or separated to benefit from automation.
Tools for Code Automation
With the world’s constant technological breakthroughs, software development has gotten more complex than ever. Many businesses have begun to use code automation for software deployment.
Some apps on the market today use hundreds of thousands of lines of code. Such large projects rely on a plethora of libraries and other modules. Any changes made to these programs tend to have an impact on the whole system’s functionality. When testing new features, errors can enter the system.
Even testers are sometimes unable to thoroughly test the entire system for problems. As a result, doing all testing scenarios manually with each deployment becomes extremely time-consuming and costly. This is one of the most serious issues in the software development industry. However, things are beginning to change. More businesses are beginning to use code automation for software deployment.
Here are some code automation tools that are worth having a look at:
Git is the name of a version control system. And what exactly is that? It’s very simple: A software project nowadays involves numerous, often hundreds or thousands, of developers. Each developer usually works on a separate part of the project. One major problem is when they want to put all of those individually developer parts together. Of course, each developer may communicate his or her updates to a central person, who would then just be responsible for always updating the received code. Rather than this clunky workflow, we can automate this process using a revision tracking system like Git. Because this is so practical and effective, many well-known open source projects are now available on GitHub.
There are a variety of Git client apps available, most of them are command line tools. Developers can use these to centrally submit modifications to a project, and GitHub presents these changes in full on the linked website. Furthermore, Git stores every version of the software project – regardless of how big or tiny a change is, you can always access the prior version with Git.
Using GitHub Actions, you may design any workflow in a GitHub repository and have it run automatically. These can be builds and tests for continuous integration, but they can also be fully distinct processes, such as regular testing of specific needs. Since this tool is baked directly into GitHub, IT will not need to keep track of another software. This feature can even be used to replace entire build servers. Deploying two (separate) Jenkins instances, for example, has become obsolete. Data and other secrets can be accessed and stored directly with the repository. Your workflows can be triggered by a wide range of events. These include not just timed triggers, pushes, and pull requests, but also activity related to tickets, wiki pages, forks, deployments, and even webhooks.
It is a version control system (VCS). It is totally based on Git, a distributed versioning system that is available as open source software. Git is by far the most used version control system (VCS) in the world. The primary function of web-based version management is to store and document all changes to files and their source code so that they may be tracked at any time. GitLab is thus particularly appealing to developers and programmers, and it makes their daily work easier. When employing a version management system, numerous programmers can work on different features at the same time.
If you want to use the agile Continuous Integration (CI) method in your team, you should use a simple but powerful CI tool. With Jenkins, you have such a tool at hand: The open source software offers you an enormous number of possibilities, especially through plug-ins, for making the Continuous Integration process more efficient. Jenkins is based on Java and therefore runs on every conceivable platform.
Kubernetes is only a few years old and yet already has a good reputation. The reason for this is probably – at least in part – the link to the tech giant Google. The company had initiated the open source project at the time, and some Google employees helped develop Kubernetes; at the same time, many developers outside of Google also worked on the software. This tool is available on many popular clouds like AWS or azure.
Today, website releases often take place several times a day. Terraform helps to automatically roll out virtual machines in your own data center or in the cloud. Rather than manually doing these actions, the systems administrator defines configuration files for Terraform. When deploying, terraform reads those configuration files and creates the proper software of hardware resources to run the software on. Gone are the days when admins spent their nights preparing their own infrastructure for new software releases. Development cycles are getting shorter and shorter, and development teams are becoming more and more agile. To that extent, DevOps is all about shortening that time between finishing the code and getting to production. One way to implement this is through configuration management. Here, for example, it is sufficient to describe only the configuration of virtual machines in order to deliver and update them later according to this blueprint.
Start learning your language
- It has a stronger focus on test automation, especially for front-end development.
Advantages of Python
- Python is the most popular automation programming language in 2021, according to statistics on stackoverflow.com. Because of this, there are plenty of Q and A post about common issues. Therefore, it makes it easier to find solutions to problems you may face.
- Python is free and open-source. Python is the driver in many mobile and desktop applications, machine learning, network servers, video tools, and more.
Advantages of Java
- Java is one of Oracle Corporation’s popular general-purpose automation programming languages.
- Java is used by businesses to handle back-end systems. Over 3 billion devices use Java-based apps.
How to automate a project from development to deployment?
First, off it is best to make sure that a single code repository is in place. This is the only place that developers will add their code–nowhere else. All developers place the code they write in the repository. Currently, Git is the most popular version control system. The code in the repository is the sole source of software in the project.
The build process is a standardized method for creating and building subsequent software copies. Every developer, tester, testing script and mechanism uses the exact same process for obtaining the current version of the software.
Obtaining the current version of the software does not require anybody to perform a large number of manual actions. In an ideal situation, the build process is another script or a piece of software, which is also versioned in the code repository. A developer downloads the latest code from the repository starts the build process (for example by starting a script) and obtains the current state of the application.
The testing environment should resemble the production environment as closely as possible. In an ideal situation, it would be a direct copy of a production environment.
Once DevOps is implemented properly, the process of pushing software to production is completely automated. In a best-case scenario, pushing new changes to production should be done by clicking a single button or running a single script.
Automation, when leveraged using DevOps best practices can save time, money, and human resources. Many tasks are perfect to automate, but the important aspect of automation is that it should actually help in saving time, money, or human resources. Also, often times automation creates more tasks if not done correctly. This is just the beginning and you will explore many things along your way in becoming a successful DevOps professional.
Matthew J Fitzgerald is an experienced DevOps engineer, Company Founder, Author, and Programmer. He Founded Fitzgerald Tech Solutions and several other startups. He enjoys playing in his homelab, gardening, playing the drums, rooting for Chicago and Purdue sports, and hanging out with friends.