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Breaking Down Continuous Integration Tools

May 10, 2023 by Adam Frank

Continuous integration (CI) automates the integration of code changes from many developers into one deployable unit. Cl keeps the main code branch up-to-date and automatically minimizes code conflicts. Cl is vital to easing collaboration between development and ops teams. 

Specialized continuous integration tools are critical to enabling the Cl process. These tools typically integrate code at least once a day, eliminating conflicts. They also conduct tests to verify that the code meets specifications. Here’s an overview of six popular continuous integration tools. 

What are Continuous Integration Tools? 

Cl tools automatically integrate changes from multiple contributors, helping avoid merge conflicts. The tools also assess the fitness of the new code. Without Cl tools, development teams would integrate only with human intervention. However, human intervention fails to offer all the benefits of automating the development pipeline, especially the speedy delivery of quality software. 

What to Look for in a CI Tool? 

Many companies support continuous integration, so your company has many Cl tool options to consider. Although the right tool depends on your needs and context, you’ll undoubtedly want an easy-to-use tool with extensive architecture to add functionality. Compatibility with tools you already use is another consideration. Pricing and tiers are also essential aspects in choosing any software tool. Finally, the tools must be secure to avoid compromising your project data. 

Version Control System (VCS) 

Your Cl tool should include or integrate with a Version Control System (VCS) to detect source code changes and trigger a pipeline. A pipeline is a sequence in which tasks are performed. Popular VCS are Git, Subversion, Mercurial, and Perforce. Many cloud-based Cl tools will support one or all of these. 

Easy Setup 

You want tools that are easy to set up so that your team doesn’t have to take a long time away from software development to begin using the tools. 

Cloud Vs. On-Premises 

While both systems have pros and cons, a cloud-based tool allows you to outsource the management of the tool to a third party rather than having to devote staff time to the task. The third party will handle the support issues and scaling of the tool so that your team can focus on its core tasks. An on-premise CI tool requires your team to configure and manage the tool on your infrastructure. Managing the tool is often a significant burden for small departments trying to launch software quickly. 


Most modern tools support integrating containers into the process. Containers ensure the software will run the same way on any machine. Integrating containers into the Cl process will avoid the problem of software working on one person’s computer but not on another’s. 


Integrating the rest of your tech stack with your Cl tools will make them more valuable to you. The more integrations your tool supports, the greater its functionality. For example, integrations can help you gain data about your team’s performance from your Cl tools. They can also help you automate more of your processes. 

Execution or Coding 

Most software projects have a secondary code base, a test suite, to ensure the primary code base works well without bugs. Developers run tests to validate that new code hasn’t regressed on features from previous software versions. Cl tools can automate this validation process by automatically running the test cases based on user-specified events. 

Continuous Integration Tools 

Here’s an overview, summary, and comparison of popular Cl tools. 


Jenkins is a popular free, open-source Cl solution. It is written in Java and must operate on-premises on a Windows, macOS, Linux, or other Unix server. It is easy to install and has an active user community. 



CircleCl is a popular continuous integration and delivery platform with free and paid plans. It supports multiple coding languages and can be installed locally or in the cloud. 


GitLab Cl 

GitLab Cl is free and has open-source code. It can test projects and also deploy builds. It also allows you to build in a Docker container, virtual machine, or on another service. 



TeamCity is a powerful, intelligent, commercial Cl solution. It allows you to run parallel builds simultaneously, mark them, and identify the hung ones. Installation is easy, and TeamCity has good professional support and a robust user community. 



Bamboo, an Atlassian product, provides end-to-end visibility of releases. It also includes quality metrics and end-to- end status. It is a server-based DI and deployment tool. It has an intuitive drag n drop interface and allows building new branches automatically and merging them after testing. 


Travis Cl 

Travis Cl is a time-proven solution, primarily for open-source projects. It is a cloud-hosted service, so a server is not needed. One unique feature is that it backs up the latest build when you run a new one. 


Choose the Right Continuous Integration Tool 

Ultimately, you want to choose the tool that makes your developers happy. Happy developers create high-quality products. Armory offers Continuous Deployment solutions that integrate seamlessly with the CI tools you already use. Armory also partners with many of the top cloud-service providers. Contact Armory today for more about how we can integrate with your existing tech stack to elevate your deployments. 

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