CircleCI offers single-workflow (multiple-platform) CI/CD for Microsoft Windows

Developer-centric automation software company CircleCI has launched general availability of support for Windows in its product set.

CircleCI (the clue is in the name) has a specialism in Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD).

The company has attempted to validate this Redmond-focused release by pointing to Stack Overflow’s 2019 Developer Survey, which suggested that nearly half of respondents reported building on Windows, yet they also note that no native Windows CI/CD solutions exist.

Despite this spin, it is worth noting that Microsoft offers CI/CD functionality in many areas including a Continuous Delivery feature in the Azure Portal, which developers can use to build a complete CI/CD pipeline in Visual Studio Team Service and deploy to Azure.

Further, CircleCI is not the only third-party software vendor offering Windows CI functionality — another good example is Travis as noted here.

Single workflow

By adding Windows into CircleCI’s set of supported execution environments, Linux, Docker, mac OS — teams can run jobs across multiple platforms on a single workflow and achieve even further flexibility over their development pipelines.

“For the last few years, we have received an influx of interest from customers to build projects on Windows. We are excited to engage with the Microsoft ecosystem and help the companies using Windows, Azure, .NET and other technologies from the Microsoft stack deliver software,” said Rob Zuber, chief technology officer, CircleCI.

Zuber notes key benefits of CircleCI’s Windows support capabilities: Windows jobs are VM-based and provide complete build isolation; each new job uses a clean environment that gets created just in time and gets destroyed once the job finishes running — and this ensures build reproducibility and the security of the users’ code, data and secrets in their CI environment.

All the CircleCI features like caches, Workspaces, approval jobs and Contexts, with the same level of support and UI are available for Windows jobs. The Windows environment on CircleCI also includes support for Docker Engine – Enterprise for Docker-based Windows workflows.

Fewer tools, better builds

Single-workflow multiple-platform execution with an emphasis on continuous (as in CAPS CI/CD) is clearly the way forward, it reduces the numbers of tools developers have to learn, consult and monitor in order to build.

Perhaps Redmond itself will offer more CD/CI tooling across all platforms… just don’t hold your breath of Apple OS.

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