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Master Jenkins to Break Into the World of DevOps

Today, the world is highly reliant on information technology (IT). The field itself has expanded manifolds in the last couple of decades. The demand for IT and related fields has created many opportunities. Software development is one of the paramount occupations that has embraced new-age technologies. 

If you look at it from a career perspective, DevOps experts are currently ruling the IT job market. DevOps is a combination of development and operation. In short, a DevOps expert is responsible for developing, designing, and testing software to make it fully operational. 

This is where Jenkins comes into the picture. DevOps requires sharp, modern tools and Jenkins is just the perfect weapon for a DevOps expert’s armor. 

The Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) is a framework defining tasks performed at each step in the software development process. It describes phases of the software cycle and the order in which those phases are executed. Each phase produces deliverables required by the next phase in the life cycle. Requirements are translated into design. 

Code is produced according to the design, which is called the development phase. After coding and development, the testing verifies the deliverable of the implementation phase against requirements.

The six phases of SDLC are:

  • Requirement gathering and analysis
  • Design
  • Implementation of coding
  • Testing
  • Deployment
  • Maintenance

Jenkins is an open-source server, created with Java. Jenkins allows you to work seamlessly with all these steps with more than 300 plug-ins. Software and app development have become extremely easy with Jenkins. 

In the course of this article, we will focus on the basics of the CI/CD tools and how Jenkins empowers you to work efficiently with DevOps practices. 

Basics of CI/CD Explained

When we are talking about Jenkins, we must stumble upon the basic concept of CI-CD. Notably, CI-CD stands for continuous integration and continuous delivery. A pipeline is typically defined as a workflow or chain of tasks that make software release convenient and time-saving. Further, software development is a systematic process where multiple steps are involved. 

  • Continuous integration is a shared repository of numerous codes. CI is extensively used to verify and detect issues with coding. It is also used to detect bugs. However, CI does not eliminate bugs. CI is responsible for detecting bugs which in turn helps developers to get rid of them.
  • Continuous delivery is the penultimate step of deployment. Before the deployment, software developers must eliminate all possible glitches. Deployment is the final stage when the software product or the app goes live i.e. becomes available to customers (or clients). Therefore, continuous delivery should be taken as the litmus test before letting the software go live.

CI and CD combine to create a series of events or tasks that give rise to the CI/CD pipeline. Jenkins makes the process very smooth and that is the biggest reason behind the flavor it gets from the professional DevOps experts. 

CI/CD Fundamentals

Let us now try to visualize CI and CD working together in one server. Continuous integration takes care of the development, designing, analysis, and testing of a software product. Continuous delivery, on the other hand, makes deployment smoother and more effective. Together, CI and CD create an efficient pipeline to automate the software delivery process. 

Here are the basic features and pros of the CI/CD pipeline:

  • CI/CD helps develop and test a software product manually.
  • With the help of the existing repository of codes, it allows developers to maintain consistency in coding.
  • Combined, CI and CD can automate the process of software delivery. 
  • It saves you a lot of time and allows you to work in a flexible environment. 
  • Continuous integration can easily detect bugs or discrepancies in codes that are instantly fixable.
  • CI/CD enables you to deliver error-free products within a stipulated timeline. 

Difference Between CI and CD  

Continuous integration and continuous delivery (often described as continuous deployment) conjugate to form a workflow pipeline. The CI/CD pipeline is the fundamental DevOps tool for coding, testing, and deploying new products. Here are some basic differences between CI and CD:

  • Continuous integration (CI) is a part of building and testing whereas continuous delivery (or deployment) is a part of software deployment.
  • CI refers to a repository of existing codes to find glitches but CD has no such repository to refer to.
  • CI is an automated analysis (or testing) process while CD is an automated release (or deployment) process.
  • CI requires manual feeding of codes that need to be verified whereas CD is a mechanical process where human intervention is scarcely needed. 

Relationship with SDLC and DevOps

DevOps is a set of practices that enhances the efficiency of software development and deployment. In other words, the classical or conventional process of software development proves to be time-consuming. Moreover, the manual approach can lead to minor and major glitches. From that perspective, CI/CD pipeline is a foolproof DevOps tool. It allows you to multitask without committing a single error.

SDLC is a structure followed by a development team within the software organization. It consists of a detailed plan describing how to develop, maintain, and replace specific software. 

The crucial steps of software development are:

  • Planning: It ensures that the project is flawless and its progress is positive.
  • Analysis: This ensures that the software’s performance is on point and notes are made if any additions are to be made to the software.
  • Design: This step focuses on the architectural aspect of the grounds on which the projects are built.
  • Development and implementation: Software development begins with this step and in the background, data recording goes on. After the software development, it is implemented to see if the software is functioning or not.
  • Testing: This ensures that the software does not have any document bugs or errors.
  • Maintenance: This ensures that the developed software has proper periodic maintenance and upgrades.

CI/CD pipeline automates every step mentioned above. This makes software delivery a more agile process. You can create, test, and deliver the product within a small window of time. Furthermore, Jenkins is a contemporary open-source automated DevOp tool with multiple features. If you are into software development and deployment, you cannot simply resist the enticing advantages of Jenkins.

Benefits of CI/CD Tools

Today, the market is driven by tough competition. Every entity strives to stay ahead of others. In essence, time is money. Therefore, people are preferring tools that allow them to save a significant amount of time and money. 

However, that should not come in place of inaccuracy. CI/CD automated pipeline brings you the rare opportunity to enjoy seamless error-free workflow and that too within a short period. DevOps experts rely heavily on CI/CD pipelines to test and deploy new software or apps. Even repairing existing software is possible through CI/CD pipeline. 

Here is a list of amazing benefits of the CI/CD pipeline:

  • Reduce Risk Factor: The CI/CD pipeline is an automated process to test and deliver software products. The repository of continuous integration allows you to rectify minor and major mistakes in real-time. Moreover, automation empowers you with accuracy. All in all, you reduce the risk of manual mistakes and build a foolproof deliverable.  
  • Time-saving: Yes, CI/CD allows you to complete your work faster. With CI, you can detect bugs and fix them in the development phase. This saves a lot of time for you. Plus, you can run through a host of new releases multiple times a day using CI/CD pipeline. Companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Netflix are using this technology to release numerous new features every day.    
  • Cost-effective: On top of being a super time saver, CI/CD pipeline digs a small hole in your pocket. This is a one-time investment. Rather than implementing new tools or techniques every time to test codes, you should embrace CI/CD pipeline as a permanent solution. 
  • Observability: You would love to have detailed logging information during the development of a new code. This allows you to understand what went wrong or the discrepancies between the user interface and the study application. Once you have a clear picture of the issues, it becomes easier for you to mitigate them.  

The Growing Need for CI-CD

As we have already discussed, CI/CD helps you perform software deployment tasks faster. The complete automation process also enables you to be significantly accurate. Big companies are relying on CI/CD because of its fast and accurate nature. 

If you are planning to develop, test, and deploy a new software product, the CI/CD pipeline is the ideal solution for you. You can have detailed logging information from the development phase. This will be a great reference point. Plus, you can run through a bunch of codes multiple times a day. All in all, development, deployment, and maintenance have become extremely easy with the new DevOps practice of exploiting the CI/CD pipeline.  

About Jenkins

Jenkins is an open-source server. It deals with more than 300 plug-ins to make software testing and deployment swifter and safer. The CI/CD pipeline used in Jenkins allows you to take control of the full automation of the deliverables. 

Jenkins involves every step of a Software Development Life Cycle. From planning to deploying and managing, Jenkins is the final frontier to cater to all your software development requirements. 

Kohsuke Kawaguchi is the creator of Jenkins which was launched in 2004. Written in Java, Jenkins allows developers to develop, test, and deploy software products in real-time.  

Why is Jenkins Popular and Why Should One Learn it?

Jenkins is a cloud-based open-source server in Java that enables complete automation of the Software Development Life Cycle. DevOps experts are always looking for an option that saves them time and money. Jenkins makes the impossible possible with its native features. 

The integration of the CI/CD pipeline in Jenkins makes it stronger and way more efficient than a host of other similar tools. From fresh development to seamless monitoring, the task has become exceedingly simpler with Jenkins. 

Core Features of Jenkins

Jenkins is the most interactive tool for software developers. Let us take a tour of the core features of Jenkins to understand its architecture better. 

  • The integrated repository of codes in Jenkins allows users to verify and alter codes in real-time.
  • Jenkins continuously checks the repository of codes and sends users a notification when new codes are available.
  • Jenkins has built and tested properties that help developers to design and analyze codes in an instant.
  • Jenkins has a distributed master-slave architecture to handle larger files without causing a hassle. 

Pros and Cons of Jenkins

Jenkins is the ultimate solution for software development and there is no doubt about it. Today, DevOps experts use Jenkins to test and deploy new products. Constant monitoring of existing codes is also easier with Jenkins. If we talk about the pros of Jenkins, we must consider two factors. They are:

  • Enhanced Code Coverage: Code coverage is typically defined as the number of lines a code has and how many of these coding lines get implemented in the final product. Jenkins allows its users to make the most of the code lines i.e. use the major chunk of the coding in the final output.
  • Zero Broken Code: The implementation of continuous integration (CI) to test the codes creates an error-free environment for users. You can test the codes and have them rectified in real time if there is a glitch.    

Jenkins vs Similar Tools 

Currently, there are multiple DevOps tools available in the market. However, Jenkins is always ahead of others in the race. Following is a brief comparison between Jenkins and Github and Bamboo, two other popular DevOps tools.  

The biggest difference between Jenkins and other CI/CD tools is that Jenkins is open-source i.e. free to install and use. You can use Jenkins with Mac, Linux, Ubuntu, Redhat, and Windows. Moreover, a massive availability of existing plug-ins along with the strong repository of codes allows users to work efficiently within a short period.

On the other hand, Gitlab, Bamboo, and Github are licensable products. You have to pay to use these products. Technically, Jenkins uses Java which makes the work environment more seamless in comparison to others. If you are looking for the best CI/CD tool, needless to say, Jenkins is the ultimate solution.

Final Thoughts

If you do not want to only stay afloat in the IT market but to become the leading force, then you must use the new age CI/CD tools. You have to lay your hands on tools that give you the complete freedom of automation of every step of a Software Development Life Cycle. 

Jenkins is the right answer for you that lets you stay ahead in the race. Use the tool preferred by a majority of the leading DevOps experts today to feel the difference.

To learn how to use Jenkins and master other DevOps tools, head to our Certificate Program in DevOps & Cloud Engineering. The program is offered  in partnership with edX and from AWS, and includes comprehensive training from industry experts on leading tools such as Jenkins, Docker, Kubernetes, AWS, Ansible, Git, Python, Terraform, and more.

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