Increasing technological advances are changing the software development world as we know it, whether that is pure native Windows development or a more blended approach targeting multiple device types. If you don’t keep up there’s a definite nagging doubt that you might get left behind. Organizations and developers alike are beginning to realize how critical development process automation is to the success of any project. By automating build processes, you can speed up application development, free up developers to focus on business-critical solutions, boost productivity, reduce human intervention and errors on repetitive tasks, and ultimately increase ROI.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, many enterprises implement automation the wrong way. For example, in a bid to automate build processes, they may employ the wrong tools that, rather than speed up the process, would slow it down, or even worse, combine too many tools and end up over automating. Practically, no automation effort is without challenges. However, it will definitely live up to all its promises if done correctly. With that in mind, here are a few quick tips to guide your automation process.
Table of Contents
How Can You Define Your Automation Strategy?
Given automation’s inherent benefits, many organizations are guilty of carelessly employing automation where it seems to make sense, without giving any thought to strategy. Like any IT initiative, to yield rewards, you need to plan for using automation — a robust and well-thought strategy that holds everything in place and prevents mishaps due to lack of foresight.
To drive his point home, senior vice president and business head for cloud, infrastructure, and security services at Infosys likened a “strategy-less” automation journey to embarking on a road trip without a defined destination, a GPS, or a map. You’re not quite sure where your journey ends.
Instead of embarking on a dimensionless automation spree, identify problem areas; small operational areas with business potential, for example, repetitive processes, start from there.
What Is The Right Tool To Manage Your Automation?
It takes more than “just technical skills” to successfully manage automation. You need to ensure you’re leveraging tools that will improve operational efficiency and performance. RAD Studio Delphi is the most powerful Object Pascal IDE and component library for single-source multi-platform Native App Development with flexible Cloud services and broad IoT connectivity. It provides modernized VCL controls for Windows 11 and enables FMX development for Windows, Mac, and Mobile. Delphi is your choice for ultrafast Enterprise Strong Development. Enhancements include support for high-DPI and 4K+ screens, extended multi-monitor support, improved Object Inspector, and much more. Delphi is 5x faster for development and deployment across multiple desktops, mobile, cloud, and database platforms, including Windows 11.
Successful automation projects require communication and organizational skills. With Delphi’s enhanced Remote Desktop support (for VCL and IDE), you easily collaborate remotely with your team.
How Can I Build Automated Security Check-ins?
Automation can create an attack surface for vulnerability, as we have seen with recent supply chain attacks. Your pipeline can be compromised in different ways. For example, let’s say you’re running a node.js project and you rely on certain npm packages. If you’re pulling these packages from an online registry, you run the risk of your packages being compromised by malicious code. To avoid this type of attack, you can have a local repository of packages and do a manual code review of the packages you use.
Also, we have the more sophisticated attacks where if a malicious group of people is attacking your supply chain, they can, for instance, patch your build process to insert code in it. This can become really dangerous, especially when you’re doing your release bills, and you’re signing your application with your certificate. Then you suddenly have a signed application you’re distributing, and you don’t want that.
Fortunately, with automation, you can build automated checks, which would reduce your attack surface and make you more secure.
How Can I Establish Code Quality Metrics?
The importance of tracking the quality of your code over time cannot be overstated. You can leverage tools to track metrics like the build failures and testing results over time. For example, a tool called the Pascal Expert can analyze your code quality from its set of 140+ warnings. However, with RAD studio, you don’t need to incorporate another tool for your code metrics, in-built to every version, is a set of source code audits and metrics. You can easily run these tools within the IDE before running code checks.
Are You Ready to Automate Your Build Process?
Automating builds can result in massive throughput improvements for developers looking to make various build scenarios and automate repetitive processes. If you’re looking to develop your own build tool, Delphi can help you with that. You can also get started on CI/CD using Delphi and Jenkins on Windows.