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Enterprise Application Development Best Practices

by Marisa Vesel, on Aug 26, 2019 1:45:00 PM

Enterprise application development best practices all come down to building effective CI/CD pipelines. The goal is to develop an iterative, ongoing system that merges all developers’ working code into a shared repository (CI) and to ensure code can be released easily at any time, even as it constantly changes (CD). 

Once CI and CD are integrated, the deployable unit path is the pipelineCode changes committed to a shared repository trigger pipelines. Pipeline steps often include build, the five stages of testing, version control, and eventually, deployment. 

This is important as it ensures that software is deployed only after its “ready,” meaning that there are no known bugs or vulnerabilities and that the software will do what it is expected to do. 

#1: Automate Each of the Software Testing Phases 

First, your organization will want to automate each of the software testing phases. Software testing is a crucial part of the software development lifecycle, as testing ensures that your software is ready for deployment.  

There are countless types of testing, but there are five main categories of testing that can be accomplished with automation. Here’ a quick rundown: 

  • Integration Testing: Integration testing serves as a verification that the changes to code are integrated properly into the larger application and are ready for the next stage of testing. This is the earliest opportunity to find bugs and issues and implement fixes.  
  • Functional Testing: Functional testing determines the quality of software by verifying that all necessary features meet the formal test scripts. When functional testing is completed the results from the test are compared to the expected results from the environment. If this type of testing is not performed, then glitches in functionality may not be identified until the software has been deployed.  
  • Acceptance Testing: Acceptance testing is a way to validate that the correct software was created to meet the end-user’s needs. In automated testing, you are able to send the software down two different paths. One path is the ideal scenario, where the user completes everything correctly, and the software performs appropriately. In another scenario, there is some sort of error (for example, the user forgets to fill in a necessary form). This testing sees how the software would perform under less-than-ideal circumstances and how they can be fixed. 
  • Quality Testing: Quality testing is completed in order to ensure that all non-functional requirements are met. The goal of non-functional testing is to increase reliability, usability, and maintainability of the product. Quality testing looks at the way the system operates, rather than how the software behaves overall. 
  • Staging Testing: Staging testing is the last type of testing and should be completed after the software is considered ready for deployment. In staging testing, there is verification that the software can be deployed to an environment that matches the production environment. 

a diagram depicting the complex software development lifecycle

By understanding the distinct requirements of each stage, you will be able to create a seamless and effective testing plan. 

#2: Ensure Security Throughout the Process 

Auditing and compliance should be a priority throughout the software development lifecycle. The last thing a company wants is their confidential data getting into the wrong hands. While compliance issues can be time-consuming and frustrating, putting them on the back burner can result in major consequences such as data breaches, audit failures, and decreased brand reputation. 

Inedo’s BuildMaster integrates with issue tracking and performs other automated checks to keep human ingenuity in your release process while eliminating human error that costs your organization time and money. BuildMaster offers user approvals to document and notify users or teams when their approval is required to deploy builds into testing environments or production, providing auditability and compliance for regulatory requirements or organizational change control policies. 

#3: Never Let One Person Have the Key to Deployment 

When setting up a deployment process, your organization will never want just one person to hold the key to deployment. Using BuildMaster, user approvals can be put into place to ensure that only certain users are able to send a build to deployment. This increases security and ensures that builds are only going out when their ready. 

Additionally, you don’t want just one person to know how to deploy a build. This can cause problems if a user leaves the company or goes on vacation for a period of time in which a deployment needs to take place. By keeping careful documentation of deployments, this ensures other users are able to step in and deploy a build when necessarily.   

#4: Manage Your Applications Properly 

In order to keep your applications safe, predictable, and confidential, you’ll want to make sure your organizations applications are managed properly. This includes utilizing universal packages and not relying solely on public repositories to store your software.  

Inedo’s ProGet allows users to easily package applications and components. ProGet allows you to use universal packages to uniformly distribute your applications and containers. Additionally, ProGet integrates with Docker images for containerized software.  

Additionally, ProGet allows you to build a dependable infrastructure on your own servers or the cloud, allowing you to replicate feeds among different ProGet instances across the globe to allow different teams to share feeds without setting up complicated, global infrastructure.  

#5: Make Sure You Are Load Balancing 

Additionally, it is important that organizations load balance in order to ensure uptime of servers. Modern day computing includes high-traffic websites having to juggle millions of concurrent requests. In order to cost effectively handle these requests, best-practices call for the addition of more servers. 

Load balancers make sure your servers do what they are supposed to do (routing client requests) while maximizing speed and capacity and ensuring no one server is overworked. Load balancing is the process of efficiently distributing incoming network traffic across a group of backend servers. When more servers are added to a system, these servers automatically receive requests from the load balancer. Load balancing is important because it allows companies to work collaboratively without any problems.  

#6: Minimize Configuration Drift Across Teams and Locations 

Ideally, configurations across developers’ environment servers would be uniform. However, as new features are introduced, changes are consistently made to hardware and software infrastructures. This results in non-uniform infrastructures across environments. 

Ignoring configuration drift has several serious consequences that you’ll want to avoid. Some consequences of configuration drift include security breaches and security outages. Additionally, configuration drift can result in a poor experience for users and a lack of visibility into the impact of the changes. 

Inedo’s Otter ensures applications will run properly by minimizing configuration drift. Otter continuously monitors your servers for configuration changes, and reports when there’s configuration drift. You can set servers to automatically remediate drift or schedule remediation and other configuration changes as needed. 

a diagram showing servers being configured to their desired state after configuration drift

#7: Keep Versions Organized 

In order to ensure that all developers are working on the same version of a build, your organization will want to keep versions organized. Version control is the process of recording changes to a file or set of files over time so that versions can be recalled alter.  

If developers must work on different versions, BuildMaster allows users to create multiple pipelines for the same project or application, enabling the ability to have separate release processes for different versions such as hotfixes without locking in the complete release process at build time. Additionally, BuildMaster allows users to deploy previous released versions to roll back production bugs that impact the business. 

#8: Stay Up-to-date with the Latest Tools 

DevOps is a relatively new methodology, meaning that there are constant new technologies and tools showing up in the industry. For organizations to stay competitive, they must stay on top with the latest tools and practices.  

There are a lot of categories of DevOps tools including automation toolsconfiguration management tools, and enterprise application development tools. While the number of tools existing can be overwhelming, we have created a blog of how to evaluate tools to help you out. 

Inedo’s BuildMaster tool helps organizations continuously deliver their applications anywhere. BuildMaster is a fully functional Continuous Integration tool for a variety of platforms. It allows you to start using CI/CD today with your current technology stack. Additionally, BuildMaster also supports referencing or importing artifacts from other popular CI tools. 

Inedo Can Help You Implement Enterprise Application Development Best Practices

Developing a new application can be a tedious and overwhelming process. Luckily, there are several best practices to help your organization reach their fullest development potential. By taking care to follow these enterprise application best practices, software development will become less complicated.  

Inedo DevOps tools maximize developer time, minimize release risk, and empower stakeholders to bring their vision to life faster—all with the people and technology you have right now. To get help streamlining your CI/CD processes, contact mgoulis@inedo.com 

Topics:Enterprise DevOps

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