With more than 1 million users worldwide, Jenkins is the most used automation server across the globe. It can be used for automating the entire build cycle and is commonly used for the incorporation of a continuous integration pipeline into the project workflow and always keeping it in a production-ready state. Jenkins Pipeline, also known as Pipeline, is essentially a suite of plugins that allows the blending of Continuous Delivery (CD) into Jenkins. This allows the on-demand fetching from version control to perform testing for a seamless CI/CD pipeline.
Jenkins has been around for 15 years and became one of the leading automation servers, with hundreds of plugins that facilitate automation of building, testing, and deploying.
Jenkins declarative pipeline is a way to implement continuous delivery into the software development process. The goal is to accelerate the development cycle by automating the processes, even in complex delivery pipelines. The Jenkins pipeline represents a sequence of jobs that trigger each other. In a complex project, the number of jobs can significantly increase which makes the integration of the Jenkins pipeline more relevant.
But why is continuous delivery important? Basically, continuous delivery ensures that the product is always ready to be launched. Meaning that every change that is made on software is quickly built and sufficiently tested to be ready for the production phase. In other words, continuous delivery helps companies to release more frequently as well as reduces the time to market and lowers the costs.
Jenkins Pipeline as Code
Jenkins pipeline uses the so-called pipeline as code approach, whereby developers manually write scripts for every standard job and store them in a version control system. There is no need in creating jobs for each phase, teams can code the entire workflow and save it in a Jenkinsfile. Using Jenkinsfiles, you can access and edit the written code at any given time as per your requirements.
Here are some best practices – Always download the Jenkins from the Jenkins website and not from third-parties. Use the pipeline only for coding and use the stage block to make the non-setup work properly. Never use the node block to make inputs and always implement timeout to wrap them. Besides that, you should be archiving the stashing files of the Jenkins pipeline at all times. Also, try to use parallel steps to acquire nodes.
Benefits of Jenkins Pipeline
Jenkins Pipeline is very popular due to the following reasons:
- Jenkins pipelines vary from basic to complex due to the versatility of Groovy DSL (Domain Specific Language)
- Jenkinsfiles enable developers to create and edit multiple jobs and monitor them via SCM (Source Code Management)
- Jenkins pipeline considers user input by collecting the feedback and implementing it into the decision-making process, thus gradually enhancing the user interface.
- The platform provides a recovery process in case of an unplanned restart.
- Jenkins facilitates parallel task execution and conditional loops thus allowing developers to build complex pipeline builds.
Disadvantages of Jenkins Pipeline
Among the disadvantages that Jenkins has, we can name outdated user interface, a steep learning curve that requires server administrator skills, as well as complicated installation, setup, and configuration. Despite having a huge following and a lot of community support, at least a few dozen plugins are required to “modernize” Jenkins and there is no YAML (maintained) interface for Jenkins Pipelines right now.
Besides that, the Jenkins Pipeline also relies on a series of jobs and scripts. There is the build, application, service, and environment, but it doesn’t stop there. You will have to make sure that nothing is going wrong with the deployment workflow, have proper rollback provisions and decide on the right release strategy, amongst a plethora of other technical requirements. Do you really have the capacity to deal with these things?