Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, often abbreviated as CI/CD, have become crucial elements in today’s software development life cycle. For those preparing for the AWS Certified Developer – Associate (DVA-C02) exam, having an in-depth understanding of how branches and actions function within the CI/CD workflow is essential.

Table of Contents

I. Understanding CI/CD Workflow

To start with, the CI/CD workflow is a series of steps aimed at regularly integrating a developer’s changes with the existing code base, testing the integrated software, and delivering the tested software to production in an automated fashion. This practice facilitates early detection of integration bugs, reduces rework, and ensures that the software is always in a state ready for deployment.

II. Branches in CI/CD Workflow

Branches form a crucial part of the CI/CD workflow. In this context, a ‘branch’ is a unique set of code changes with a unique name. These branches allow multiple developers to work on different features or bug fixes concurrently without disturbing the main code base. Once a feature is tested and ready to be deployed, the branch can be merged back into the main branch.

In the AWS CI/CD service, CodePipeline, these different branches can trigger different pipelines. For example, a ‘develop’ branch can trigger a pipeline that deploys to a testing environment, while the ‘main’ branch triggers a pipeline that deploys to a production environment.

III. Actions in CI/CD Workflow

Within the CI/CD workflow in AWS, ‘actions’ pertain to the specific tasks performed within a pipeline’s stage. A pipeline is composed of multiple stages, and each stage can have one or many actions. Actions in AWS CodePipeline include source action (e.g., AWS CodeCommit), build action (e.g., AWS CodeBuild), test action, deploy action (e.g., AWS CodeDeploy), etc.

For example:

- stage: Source
- name: CodeCommit
category: Source
owner: AWS
provider: CodeCommit
version: 1
- name: SrcCode
- stage: Build
- name: CodeBuild
category: Build
owner: AWS
provider: CodeBuild
version: 1
- name: SrcCode
- name: BuiltCode

In the YAML code snippet above, we define two stages: Source and Build. In the Source stage, we perform a CodeCommit action to retrieve the source code. Similarly, in the Build stage, we perform a CodeBuild action to compile the app and generate the build artifacts.

IV. Merging Branches and Actions for Efficient CI/CD

To maximize the efficiency of CI/CD, branches and actions should be adequately integrated. Each branch, such as ‘feature’, ‘develop’, and ‘main’, can have different pipelines with different actions, reflecting the diverse states or environments of the application – feature testing, integration testing, and production.

In nutshell, understanding branches and actions within the AWS CI/CD workflow is pivotal for utilizing its functionality fully. It enables better collaboration among development teams, automates the process seamlessly, and fosters a much high quality and robust product creation.

Practice Test

True or False: The continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) workflow begins when developers push code to a version control system.

• True

• False

Answer: True.

Explanation: The CI/CD process typically begins when developers push code updates to a version control system, such as Git, which then triggers build and test processes.

In CI/CD workflow, where does the integration testing take place?

• A. Deployment pipeline

• B. Production environment

• C. Test environment

• D. QA environment

Answer: A. Deployment pipeline.

Explanation: Integration testing generally takes place in the deployment pipeline before the code is deployed to a production environment.

Which AWS service enables you to automate your release processes?

• A. AWS CodePipeline

• B. AWS CodeDeploy

• C. AWS CloudFormation

• D. Amazon EC2

Answer: A. AWS CodePipeline.

Explanation: AWS CodePipeline is a service that builds, tests, and deploys your code every time there is a code change.

In the CI/CD workflow, where does code compilation take place?

• A. Build phase

• B. Test phase

• C. Deploy phase

• D. Monitoring phase

Answer: A. Build phase.

Explanation: During the build phase of the CI/CD workflow, code is compiled into executable artifacts.

True or False: AWS CodeCommit automatically triggers the CI/CD pipeline as soon as developers push their code changes.

• True

• False

Answer: True.

Explanation: AWS CodeCommit is a version control service that can be configured to automatically trigger the CI/CD pipeline when developers push their code changes.

Multiple select question: Which AWS Services support the CI/CD workflow?

• A. AWS CodeBuild

• B. AWS CodeDeploy


• D. AWS CodePipeline

Answer: A. AWS CodeBuild, B. AWS CodeDeploy, D. AWS CodePipeline.

Explanation: AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy and AWS CodePipeline are services specifically designed to support the CI/CD workflow. AWS SQS is a message queuing service and does not directly support the CI/CD workflow.

In the context of CI/CD, what does ‘CI’ stand for?

• A. Continuous Integration

• B. Continuous Improvement

• C. Continuous Inspection

• D. Continuous Innovation

Answer: A. Continuous Integration.

Explanation: In the context of CI/CD, ‘CI’ stands for Continuous Integration, a practice that involves regularly merging all working copies of developers’ code into a central repository.

True or False: All branches in a version control system should directly be deployed to the production environment.

• True

• False

Answer: False.

Explanation: Not all branches should be deployed to production. Usually, only the code in the main branch, which has passed all tests and reviews, gets deployed to production.

The action ‘Deploy’ in AWS CodePipeline does what?

• A. Compiles and tests the code

• B. Pushes the code to the central repository

• C. Deploys the application to a production environment

• D. Reviews the code

Answer: C. Deploys the application to a production environment.

Explanation: The ‘Deploy’ action in AWS CodePipeline deploys the built and tested application to the specified environment, often a production environment.

True or False: Blue/Green deployments are a part of the CI/CD pipeline in AWS.

• True

• False

Answer: True.

Explanation: Blue/Green deployments are a part of the CI/CD pipeline and are enabled by services like AWS CodeDeploy. They help eliminate downtime by running two identical production environments.

Interview Questions

What is Continuous Integration in AWS?

Continuous Integration is a development practice in AWS where developers regularly merge their code changes into a central repository, after which automated builds and tests are run.

What is the function of AWS CodePipeline in the CI/CD workflow?

AWS CodePipeline is a fully-managed continuous delivery service that helps to automate the release processes for fast and reliable application and infrastructure updates.

What AWS service is used to automate the build and test phases of your CI/CD process?

AWS CodeBuild is used to automate the build and test phases of your CI/CD process.

What is the primary purpose of branches in CI/CD?

Branches in CI/CD process are primarily used to introduce isolated changes without affecting the main project, until they ready for integrating with it.

How do feature branches work in a typical CI/CD workflow?

A feature branch is a copy of the main codebase where a developer can work on a new feature without interfering with the stability of the main codebase.

Can AWS CodeDeploy be used to automate software deployments in the CI/CD workflow?

Yes, AWS CodeDeploy is a deployment service that automates software deployments to various compute services such as Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, and your on-premises servers.

What is a deployment pipeline in the context of AWS CI/CD practice?

A deployment pipeline is a sequence of stages from code commit to release where the software is progressively validated and made ready for production.

What is ‘source stage’ in AWS CodePipeline?

‘Source stage’ is the first phase of CodePipeline. Here, the pipeline is configured to automatically detect changes in the source repository and version control systems to source the pipeline itself.

How does a continuous delivery pipeline minimize risk?

A continuous delivery pipeline minimizes risk by automating the delivery of applications from commit to production. This increased frequency of delivering new features and bug fixes, and facilitates faster feedback.

How are problems detected in the continuous integration cycle of AWS?

Problems in the continuous integration cycle are identified through regular application builds, unit tests, integration tests, and static and dynamic code analysis.

How can AWS CodePipeline be integrated with Jenkins in a CI/CD workflow?

AWS CodePipeline can be integrated with Jenkins by configuring it as a third-party custom action, allowing CodePipeline to trigger builds in Jenkins.

What is the use of release branches in a CI/CD workflow?

Release branches are typically created from the main branch when a new version is released. It allows teams to add further tweaks or adjustments before the product goes live.

What is the role of AWS CodeStar in the CI/CD process?

AWS CodeStar enables you to quickly develop, build, and deploy applications on AWS by providing a unified user interface, enabling faster productive on varied AWS services.

What function does AWS CodeCommit serve in a CI/CD process?

AWS CodeCommit is a version control service hosted by AWS. It makes it easy for teams to collaborate on code in a secure and highly scalable ecosystem.

Can the AWS CI/CD pipeline be integrated with non-AWS tools?

Yes, AWS’s CI/CD services are designed to be open and flexible, and can integrate with popular third-party tools like Jenkins, GitHub, TeamCity, etc.

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