What is Jenkins and How Can It Benefit Your Software Development Process

Jenkins is an open-source Continuous Integration or Continuous Delivery automation tool that helps in the deployment of several actions in an automated way. 

Programmed entirely in Java, Jenkins is one of the most popular open-source applications across the world that is used by software enterprises, big and small, to fast-track their development processes.

Thanks to its ability to automate, Jenkins can be used to streamline the entire lifecycle involved in the development of software, right from its phases of building to deploying static code and analysis.  This has led many professionals to take Jenkins training and become well-versed in using the tool.

How is DevOps Growing?

DevOps, in its fundamental stage, has gone above and beyond just developing applications, because of the continuously evolving market and the need to create relevant solutions.

Previously, developers had to get through code testing entirely before they could move on with error-compilation, which only slowed down systems since the independent team architecture didn’t work solely under such scenarios. The unique challenges posed by a highly-competitive business environment have led organizations to be on the lookout for end-to-end systems that cannot just support, but keep such crucial processes work in its optimum.

Today, the processes have become more simplified and instantaneous. The platforms like Jenkins.io can easily be worked up with several coding platforms like GitHub and BitBucket to work with apps like Maven and Gradle, as well as across containerized technologies like Docker and Kubernetes.

With the help of its Continuous Integration and Delivery, developers can now make changes from a shared repository, instead of waiting as well as seeing the changes in the source code take form in the building systems, without having to stop any other processes. 

What is Jenkins?

As defined earlier, Jenkins comes as an easy automation tool that provides a favorable environment for pipelines (Continuous Integration Workflows). For programmers who now have a headstart across all the stages of development, Jenkins facilitates quicker integration of all the steps involved in DevOps to yield a fresh build. 

Software Projects Testing Gets Faster with Jenkins

It is with the help of Jenkins plugins that you can test your software project in parallel as developers work together from their own specialties to deliver and continuously make changes. Today, it has more than 1600 plugins, specializing in UI, source code management, to build management that has helped programmers to test software projects simultaneously. For the integration of any tool, you can install the respective plugin to start the process. 

A Quick History of Jenkins

Initially built in 2004 and formerly known as Hudson, Jenkins came into being when a developer named Kohsuke Kawaguchi struggled with keeping up and successfully compiling code every time it broke the entire build. Therefore, he began to run tests on his system simultaneously as he made changes and only went ahead with the repository when things went error-free.  

Key Advantages of Jenkins

There are several advantages that come with Jenkins; some of these include: 

  • It is entirely free and open-source for developers to access.
  • It comes with good community support, in case you need any insights.
  • It has over 1600+ plugins to facilitate your work in a variety of ways, and in case you need a custom plugin, you can code it too and share it with the community.

Working Details of Jenkins

Jenkins runs entirely on pipelines that comprise a series of steps that a Jenkins server can undertake to complete several tasks, and then save them in a Jenkinsfile.

The programmers generally define these pipelines with the help of parameters and codes encapsulated in curly brackets syntax. Then, they are executed by the Jenkins server, which drives the system from its source to the buildup runtime. The code can be written via Graphics User Interface or by writing it directly. 

Jenkins Plugins

On the other hand, the Jenkins plugins are an extension of the tool as it primarily enables enforcement in terms of Software Version Control Systems (SVCs).

It does so to function seamlessly across various platforms, cloud, operating systems, as well as runtime machines like FTP, OpenStack, and VMWare. 

The Secure Environment

It’s the layered security measures that make Jenkins server fool-proof in nature, especially for its ability to undergo configuration based on the operating network. During its compilation, the server is engineered to provide access to the least or none entities that can communicate with it, thus increasing its overall efficiency and accuracy.

Such an environment is achieved through standard server OS and networking fundamentals. Jenkins can also be designed to adapt from its HTTP server and set up multi-factor authentication to host limited users when the Jenkins UI is in operation.

Similarly, Jenkins can also take care of the overall security of its internal user database, where it works on two distinct security models:

  • Security Model: It depends upon the developer to decide on the access points for the network.
  • Authorization Model: Jenkins also allows the developer to decide on the scope of the access points for the network, given accordingly to its users. 

Working Principle of Jenkins

It begins with a developer committing the source code to the mainframe repository, which the Jenkins server continually checks for any changes.

Once the commit takes place, Jenkins instantaneously responds to the changes by preparing the new build accordingly.

In case of a build failure, the respective team would be made to know, while in case of build completion, Jenkins would now compile feedback based on the test results for the developer to go through.

This whole process gets setting off on a loop for the developer to keep up with even the slightest change in the network.

The Bottom Line

Overall, Jenkins is one of the most effective ways to leverage the CI/CD scenario for the DevOps processes and can come through a majority of frameworks, pipelines.

In its unique style, Jenkins takes the time-taking processes involved in the development stage of an application and optimizes it to work in a self-aware environment. In this way, it can help developers multitask as they build, test, and deploy effective products for their clients.