As a field that is growing exponentially in the tech world, software development requires efficiency, determination, and innovation to create and build new and streamlined software; many software engineers work for companies that have their own philosophies and methodologies to best guide and motivate their employees and thanks to their project management methods, software engineers have the best chance of achieving their goals.
Software development relies on a combination of some of these project management approaches and one of the most prevalent and crucial methods for software developers is DevOps, a method that focuses on defining developers’ roles in the development process. But what is this approach exactly, why is it important for software developers to know about it, and how does it make seamless software delivery possible? Let’s discuss.
What is DevOps in Software Development?
DevOps is a combination of two words: development and operations and although they are two very different parts of the development process, when put together, they allow for software developers to continuously create, design, run, correct, monitor, and test their products.
Development and operations teams have their own unique tasks that can be seen in the DevOps lifecycle and ensure that software developers have defined and distinct roles and responsibilities on their teams. In terms of their responsibilities, DevOps teams focus on the seven Cs:
From the very beginning of a project, it’s important to have a plan and vision that defines what the team will be building, coding, and designing throughout the software development process so that once the team does come to a consensus, the developers can begin coding and designing. As the project takes shape, developers must redefine the project’s parameters and needs and make adjustments to their code.
One of the most important parts of DevOps is continuously building upon and improving the code while fixing any flaws that may arise. Continuous integration inputs the new functionalities and codes into testing and then becomes a part of the overall code. This isn’t just a one time insertion of new code, but rather a never ending process of altering and enhancing the product.
Ensuring that the product’s new code and that there are no defects, flaws, or vulnerabilities that may ruin a client’s experience and subject them to a cyber attack is a key part of DevOps development process. Oftentimes testing is automated and allows for faster and more efficient use of developers’ time and in the case of any issues or bugs, the code is returned to the integration phase.
The code is finally ready to be uploaded onto the main server since it has been tested and constant deployment allows for instantaneous code insertion once the next upgrade is deemed apt.
To create a fantastic product, you need to know what the clients hate and love about it and the best way to do that is to get feedback directly from them. Clients know what they want out of a product and when new updates are deployed, their feedback can be extremely beneficial in pointing the teams in the right direction.
Although prior testing was conducted, operations teams must constantly monitor and watch over the product as clients use it and sometimes these bugs, problems, or performance issues may appear; however, they are usually revealed and dealt with swiftly. Any serious issues that do arise may require that the developers return to a previous phase and work out the kinks.
Minimizing product maintenance and other downtime is the goal of continuous operations since shutting down the product costs companies a lot of money. By automating the startup and upgrades, developers can eliminate downtime when they need to perform any updates.
The duties that fall onto the laps of developers have one thing in common: they are all carried out continuously and these responsibilities make up continuous parts of the steps that DevOps teams run to complete their projects.
DevOps Software Development Life Cycle
The DevOps software development life cycle is represented by a figure eight that emphasizes their continuous, boundless nature throughout the process. Team members that specialize in development focus on four parts in particular:
Planning: developers need to know the goal of the product and once they know the purpose, design, and full vision, they can move onto writing.
Coding: simply put, they write the code that gives shape, form, and interactivity to the computer languages behind them
Building: when the main framework and structure of the code is written, building upon the code enhances the product.
Testing: before integrating the code into the product, developers must ensure that the code is safe and effective.
On the other end of the continuous lifecycle, responsibilities to be carried out by operation team members include:
Releasing: after testing, this phase entails doing the final checks before deployment.
Deploying: everything is ready for the product to be used by clients; thus, the DevOps team launches the product.
Operating: as clients start using the product, teams will focus on testing and ensuring that it operates as planned.
Monitoring: any adjustments, issues, or feedback received is filed and leveraged for the next iteration of the development process.
Once the team reaches the monitoring stage, they will start the planning stage for the next iteration of the product and will not have to start over completely. Since these are all done continuously, they will repeat iteration after iteration or in some phases, it may be necessary to return to a previous step if there are any bugs or issues.
Pillars of DevOps
In addition to DevOps responsibilities and the software life cycle, DevOps practitioners need to know the important concepts that make DevOps such a strong methodology. There are four main pillars that hold up the software development process:
Infrastructure as code (IaC)
A major aspect of DevOps is infrastructure as code, or seeing and working with infrastructure in a manner similar to written code. By using code to manage and define infrastructure configurations, developers can scale, provision, and reproduce more easily and quickly.
At the core of DevOps lies automation since it provides the DevOps process with an efficient and reliable way to test, deploy, and provision infrastructure without redirecting developers’ time and energy. Developers can set automated tasks and not have to lift a finger; two of these important tasks include continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD). These pipelines are extremely important since CI guarantees that the new code is introduced to a shared repository and CD deploys the code.
Monitoring and feedback
Developers are always testing and retesting to avoid any errors or major issues; however, sometimes they appear after deployment, which is why vigilantly monitoring their work is so important. Not only is it essential for them to check in on their product, but also listen to feedback from team members and users. Developers hope to troubleshoot any potential or real problems and always improve their project.
In the past, development and operations tasks were divided, but that’s not the case for DevOps teams. Cross-functional teams and shared responsibilities force teams to be more communicative and many teams use applications like Slack or Teams to facilitate communication amongst all teams and their members. After all, they are coordinating on this project together and share the same goal: delivering a valuable product to their clients.
The Benefits of DevOps
After reading about all the DevOps entails, you may be thinking more about what benefits it has as a methodology; it’s safe to say that it is so popular in the tech world because it does provide developers a better software development model.
Thanks to automation, feedback, and the life cycle, developers are able to update their software in patches much more quickly than before. DevOps can be extremely efficient when teams communicate and collaborate when working through the life cycle.
As humans, we make mistakes, but with the power of computers and automation, the margin for error is almost null. Because of this, customer satisfaction is higher when a new reliable software is released and there are little to no issues when running it.
By scaling and provisioning their infrastructure smartly and efficiently with IaC, DevOps teams are reducing their costs and avoiding unnecessary spending and automation as a tool helps to lower expenditures for companies too.
The modern world depends on a variety of software throughout the day to accomplish the most basic of tasks from starting their smart cars to ordering their groceries and much of this software is thanks to the efforts of teams using DevOps. Despite seamless software delivery appearing to be a feat not for the faint of heart, DevOps practices and tools support teams in making it a reality and continues to push teams to make an improved final product that never stops evolving in the end.
If you would like to learn more about how to become a developer and use DevOps on a project, look no further than our Web Development course.