To streamline app development and improve quality, IT managers should consider implementing framework that offers continuous integration, or CI. When it comes to software projects, most require several developers to process lateral work. As software projects get close to completion, it becomes necessary to combine these different lines of work to form a finished product. An integration program simplifies this process.
What is Continuous Integration with Xamarin?
In the past, software developers integrated separate lines of work when the project was completed. This process was challenging and risky since an early code error could result in lengthy repairs. CI eliminates this problem because the program constantly adds and combines each developer’s modifications into the project’s common code. The software usually completes this action when a developer checks his or her project changes into the collective code source.
Xamarin built its CI program to generate a build and run test anytime a developer activates a check-in. The build and run assessment confirms that the added code isn't causing a problem with the existing elements. This type of system catches errors and operational problems immediately to avoid later repairs. It also lets the developers stay current on each other’s work. These elements come together to create a codebase that is consistent and secure.
Diving Into the Specifics
With Xamarin’s CI system, companies will have access to two main software areas. The first one is the coding that combines a software project’s programming into a single source. Xamarin refers to this area as the version control, but it’s more commonly known as source code management or source control. This section of the system also stores a complete history of every file change while the master branch or the mainline features the single source. The master branch or mainline is the element used to release the app or build the project’s production.
When software developers need to test the program or make major changes to it without compromising the master branch, they can use commercial products or open source programs. If the changes provide an improvement, then the integration software will combine the different areas together into the master branch.
The system’s other main area is the CI server. This part of the program gathers a software project’s operational objects such as its source code, videos, databases, images and other system functions.
In the past, only large organizations with extensive budgets could afford comprehensive and continuous software tests. Xamarin brings this technology to all kinds of companies. With Xamarin’s system, companies will not only have access to CI, but they will also gain support for its operations.
When it comes to building apps, testing it is a major task. Before CI, developers were responsible for testing. Because of human error, it was easy for developers to miss things. In fact, companies often hire people to complete the task of systematically testing an app’s operational abilities and user interface. Despite specializing in the task, even dedicated testers overlook some systems.
Today’s app environment is complex, and testers must complete cross-platform assessments for intricate mobile device systems like Windows, iOS and Android along with dozens of other mobile device operating systems that feature their own screen resolutions and form factors. Xamarin’s CI software completes automatic testing on more than 1,000 different mobile devices. The company states that it is adding to this number at a rate of more than 100 new devices every month. In addition, Xamarin welcomes device requests from its clients. For even more convenience, deployment and testing processes can also be added to a company’s system.
To support CI, a number of open source and commercial tools are available. Microsoft offers Visual Studio Team Services, or VSTS, and Team Foundation Server or TFS. VSTS is available through the cloud, so companies can use it without updating their hardware or infrastructure. A company’s IT team can access it from web browsers and through well-known development tools like Visual Studio.
Microsoft developed TFS for companies that have onsite Windows servers that are accessible through a Virtual Private Network connection or a local one. This type of system permits a company’s IT department to add the software or services that a business needs to operate. These two Microsoft systems operate fluidly within Visual Studio, and this setup permits developers to complete different operations within a single Integrated Development Environment or ITE.
VSTS includes a build system that supports Xamarin projects. A company’s IT division can use it to develop a build definition for each platform that the business intends to target like Windows, iOS and Android. Be sure to obtain the proper Xamarin license for each build definition.
Team Explorer Everywhere is another system that supports CI. With this add-on service, a company’s software development team can connect to projects when they are onsite or from another location through the cloud.
Git also offers CI support. This open source program is fast and flexible. It will help a company’s software development team manage small and large software projects. The system easily scales between solo developers with limited Internet access to IT teams spread around the world.
If a company is upgrading its system to include CI, it will need to merge the version control system with its preferred build service. The two most popular build services are Team Foundation Build and Jenkins. Microsoft designed Team Foundation Build to work with Visual Studios. This feature makes the program ideal for builds. Developers can also use it to run tests and get fast results. With Jenkins, a company’s IT department will have access to an open source CI server. Jenkins runs on Mac OS X and Windows. It also supports different types of software development. Jenkins is not tied to any particular ITE. Instead, facilitators manage Jenkins through a web interface. This program is especially easy to configure and install, which makes it best for small teams.
Software Solutions with Continuous Integration
With Clarity, you’ll not only gain access to a customized system for your business, but you’ll also have the option of adding Xamarin’s CI program to your framework. Our software solutions are comprehensive, and we will design yours to make your company operate more efficiently. We hire software developers who have the work experience and educational background to customize your platform based on your business’s needs.
Please click below to contact Clarity with any questions about Xamarin development or for a free consultation.