What is a software artifact?

A software build contains not only the developer’s code also includes a range of software artifacts. A DevOps artifact is a by-product produced during the software development process. It may consist of the project source code, dependencies, binaries or resources, and could be represented in different layout depending on the technology. Software artifacts are usually stored in a repository, like JFrog Artifactory, so they can be retrieved on demand and shared across teams.

Build tools often refer to source code compiled for testing as an artifact, because the executable is necessary to carrying out the testing plan. Without the executable to test, the testing plan artifact is limited to non-execution based testing. In non-execution based testing, the artifacts are the walkthroughsinspections and correctness proofs. On the other hand, execution based testing requires at minimum two artifacts: a test suite and the executable. Artifact occasionally may refer to the released code (in the case of a code library) or released executable (in the case of a program) produced, but more commonly an artifact is the byproduct of software development rather than the product itself. Open source code libraries often contain a testing harness to allow contributors to ensure their changes do not cause regression bugs in the code library.

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