How to go from good to great with Jenkins CI and ECS Digital

ecs-admin 2nd April 2016

Jenkins CI is probably the most widely-used Continuous Integration platform in use today. Started in 2004 under the name Hudson, the platform quickly grew into one of the world’s most-loved Open Source build servers, and was renamed Jenkins CI after forking from the original project with Oracle. Today, Jenkins enjoys one of the most dedicated and active Open Source communities, with contributors from all around the world consistently adding new features, plugins and capabilities to an already robust software platform.

But for all the richness of features that Jenkins CI provides, many users stick to the bare minimum and don’t get as much value as they could out of their use, for example Jenkins new open source pipeline plugin. In this blog, we’ll look at the difference between good and great use of Jenkin CI, and how ECS Digital can help you get the most out of your Continuous Integration software.

Jenkins CI provides an intelligent CI platform – are you making use of it?

First off, it’s worth mentioning that not every CI pipeline needs all the bells and whistles attached – if a basic pipeline is all you need to ensure your software service is delivered on time and to your users’ expectations, you’re already making good use of your software. That being said, virtually every average CI pipeline stands to benefit from a more intelligent CI, even if it’s largely a means of shortening development windows or running more reliable tests. Many organisations use Jenkins as a glorified Cron job that runs static commands at predefined times rather than making the most of one of the thousands of potential plugins and features. The real power of Jenkins CI is its ability to act as an intelligent platform that understands how your software development journey fits together, ensures the output is of highest quality, and keeps the necessary tasks ticking over in the way that works best for your organisation.

Developers all around the world – including some members of ECS Digital – contribute plugins that make it easy to customise and optimise Jenkins CIfor particular needs. There are also a number of plugins that add cross-software support, such as the Docker/Jenkins plugins released in 2015. In this sense, Jenkins becomes much more than a CI tool – by centralising parts of the delivery and deployment pipelines, Jenkins becomes the roadmap and orchestrator for your entire software development journey.

What is the best way to become a Jenkins Jedi?

There’s only so much that you can read about getting the most out of Jenkins CI – for an in-depth understanding of the way the software works, and how to use its advanced features and plugins, it’s essential to have practical, real-world experience. There are a number of platforms for online Jenkins training, as well as some substantial forums, videos and podcasts that discuss best practices for creating Jenkins pipelines, but being walked through a practical example and having the opportunity to question one of our Certified CloudBees Jenkins Platform Engineers should you have any difficulty makes Jenkins training courses a far more beneficial option. For more about the benefits of hands-on DevOps training, read our previous blog on the subject. ECS Digital offers regular Jenkins training courses, ranging from basic introductory classes and general Jenkins best practices in our User course, to managing complex workflows and using Jenkins’ more advanced features in our Admin course. Our courses are a 50/50 split between theory and practical skills, which gives attendees a holistic understanding of how to build a good CI pipeline, and our experienced course instructors work on a one-on-one basis to ensure you get the value you need.

With over 12 years’ experience helping enterprises around the world deliver software faster and at a lower cost through the adoption of DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices, ECS Digital is the perfect DevOps training partner for anybody looking to grow their understanding of DevOps and develop their skills in a variety of software platforms. For more information, or to book a training course, view our upcoming courses by following the link below.

Image credit: tamaramccleary.com

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