How to Deploy Application Features Using CI/CD: A Comprehensive Guide

Author: Charter Global
Published: February 1, 2019

CI/CD deployment is a cornerstone of modern software development, allowing teams to automate the process of integrating, testing, and deploying code changes. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the steps of deploying application features into production using Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD).

Introduction to CI/CD

Continuous Integration (CI) is the practice of frequently integrating code changes into a shared repository. Each integration is verified by an automated build and automated tests to detect integration errors quickly.

Continuous Deployment (CD) extends CI by automatically deploying all code changes to a production environment after passing the CI phase.

Key Steps for Deploying Application Features Using CI/CD

1. Set Up Version Control System (VCS)

  • Use a VCS like Git to manage your source code.
  • Create branches for new features, bug fixes, or any other changes.

2. Establish a CI/CD Pipeline

  • A CI/CD pipeline automates the process of building, testing, and deploying code changes. Common CI/CD tools include Jenkins, GitLab CI, Travis CI, CircleCI, and Azure DevOps.

3. Automated Testing

  • Write unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests.
  • Configure your CI tool to run these tests automatically whenever new code is pushed to the repository.

4. Build Automation

  • Set up your CI tool to automatically build your application. This typically involves compiling the code, creating artifacts, and packaging the application.

5. Deploy Automation

  • Use tools like Docker, Kubernetes, or cloud services (AWS, GCP, Azure) to automate the deployment of your application.
  • Configure your CD tool to automatically deploy the application to a staging environment for further testing and, eventually, to the production environment.

6. Monitor and Rollback Mechanisms

  • Implement monitoring to track the performance and health of the application in production.
  • Set up rollback mechanisms to revert to a previous stable version in case of failure.

Detailed CI/CD Pipeline Setup

Step 1: Version Control Setup

  1. Initialize a Git Repository:
    git init
  2. Create Branches:
    git checkout -b feature-branch

Step 2: CI/CD Tool Configuration

  1. Choose a CI/CD Tool: For this example, we will use GitLab CI/CD.
  2. Create .gitlab-ci.yml:
    - build
    - test
    - deploy
    stage: build
    echo “Building the application…”

    stage: test
    echo “Running tests…”

    stage: deploy
    echo “Deploying to staging…”
    name: staging

    stage: deploy
    echo “Deploying to production…”
    name: production
    when: manual

Step 3: Automated Testing

  1. Write Tests: Use frameworks like JUnit, pytest, or Selenium.
  2. Run Tests in CI: Ensure your CI tool runs these tests. In the .gitlab-ci.yml above, this is handled in the test stage.

Step 4: Build Automation

  1. Build Scripts: Create scripts to automate the build process.
    echo "Compiling source code..."
    # Compilation commands
    echo "Creating artifacts..."
    # Artifact creation commands

Step 5: Deployment Automation

  1. Deploy to Staging:
    echo "Deploying to staging environment..."
    # Deployment commands for staging
  2. Deploy to Production:
    echo "Deploying to production environment..."
    # Deployment commands for production

Step 6: Monitoring and Rollback

  1. Monitoring: Use tools like Prometheus, Grafana, or New Relic to monitor your application.
  2. Rollback: Implement rollback scripts or use features provided by your deployment tools to revert to previous versions.

Example Workflow

  1. Develop Feature:
    • Developers create feature branches, commit, and push code changes.
  2. Automated CI:
    • CI tool detects changes, triggers build, and runs tests.
    • If tests pass, the code is merged into the main branch.
  3. Automated CD:
    • Code is deployed to a staging environment.
    • After successful testing in staging, code is manually or automatically promoted to production.
  4. Monitor Production:
    • Continuously monitor the application in production.
    • If issues are detected, roll back to a previous stable version.


Deploying application features using CI/CD deployment involves setting up an automated pipeline that includes building, testing, and deploying your application. By automating these processes, you ensure quicker, more reliable deployments and can respond rapidly to changes or issues. The key to a successful CI/CD pipeline is robust automation, thorough testing, and effective monitoring.