Jenkins is integral to the DevOps world as it is the leading open source tool for Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD) processes.
Continuous Integration is a process of building and testing the code whenever the developer pushes the code to source control. Continuous Deployment is the process of deploying the code to multiple environments without any human intervention, thus reducing the time to deliver.
There are several CI/CD tools in the market like Jenkins, TeamCity, Travis CI, Bamboo, CircleCI, and VSTS.
However, Jenkins tops this list of CI/CD tools being used in the market because of several reasons discussed in the section below.
Advantages of Using Jenkins
Open Source: Being an open source project, it has 482 contributors, 542 releases and 9,348 stars on GitHub, which is quite high in the open source world. It provides quick and efficient community support to its users.
Cross-Platform Integration Tool: It runs without depending on operating system type (Windows, Linux, and Mac).
Extensible: It integrates with almost all DevOps tools through plugins. It provides over 1000+ plugins to perform various build and deployment tasks. Users can also create their own plugins if required.
Command Line Interface: This makes this tool extensive, enabling users to write scripts that can perform any action. It can be handy for SysAdmins.
It also provides an API which triggers a job when an event arises. Jobs can be run in this tool as per the desired schedule. It can be integrated with SCM (Source Control Management), CM (Configuration Management) tools and containerization tools which forms a full DevOps cycle.
Apart from being open source, this tool is also popular for features like the easy way of installation and configuration with numerous plugins, and the master-slave concept which helps users distribute the jobs across multiple systems.
It has also taken a leap towards improving its UI/UX. It’s known as the “Blue Ocean”, which is the most intuitive approach to understand a key concept of this tool – the PIPELINE. This reduces clutter and provides clarity in what the user is doing. Blue Ocean gives newbies a jump-start towards becoming professionals in applying the pipeline concept in their workflows.
Apart from providing the option of notifying users about the build status through email, Twitter, etc., Jenkins is also going multilingual with i18n support, which will help users across the globe.
It can be secured by creating users and roles. Every user is assigned a set of roles to be restricted to a particular task. It also provides a plugin to integrate with AD (Active Directory) using LDAP (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol).
Summarizing Jenkins’ Features
To sum it up, here is what this tool can do:
- Trigger a build (Manual, periodic, Poll SCM …)
- Get the source code from repository
- Automatically build and test
- Generate reports (Static Code Analysis, Code Coverage)
- Notify (Email, Twitter, Jabber, Google Calendar …)
- Deploy to servers
Tools in the DevOps arena are vulnerable to challenges due to the fast-changing nature of this space and the presence of newly developed tools. But the versatility of Jenkins is helping cement its position as one of the best CI/CD tools, at least for the near future.