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Jenkins 2.0: A drama free, full increment release of the popular CI tool

A full increment release is usually a big deal. I mean, just recall for a moment all of the hoopla surrounding Java’s last full increment release… Actually, there’s never been a full increment release of Java since version 1.0 was unleashed upon the world twenty years ago. So yeah, full increment releases are kinda a big deal.

I don’t get the impression that the Jenkins jump to two-point-oh is by any means an Armstrongesque leap from a software standpoint. There’s no big migration planning that needs to be done to move from whatever version you’re currently on to the butler’s latest and greatest. All of the underlying metadata is the same, all of your settings get preserved, and there’s no notable data migration required, so the underpinnings of the technology are still fundamentally the same.

They’ve introduced the new Pipeline as Code feature out of the box, something you couldn’t previously get without doing some custom configuration and installing the popular workflow plugin, so that’s a bit of a big deal. Out of the box support for workflow is a big steer, and with that shift in their sails, the enterprise community should now have a better idea on both how to use Jenkins, and how Jenkins wants users to use Jenkins.

They’ve also bundled a bunch of plugins with the installation package so that new users will have a full featured product after unpacking the binaries. That’s an improvement, because before there was a need to download and install things like the Git or Gradle plugins, and with about fifty different plugins available with the word Git in their name, it could get confusing for continuous integration neophytes. So they’ve eliminated a few barriers to entry for new users, which will hopefully transitions those thousands of downloads into real, live implementations.

Security takes center stage with Jenkins 2.0

Security has come front and center as well. Previously, the Jenkins WAR had security turned off by default, but that’s become a bit of a worry as naive customers have deployed their all-access, continuous build tool into the cloud without so much as an authentication challenge. Now a basic installation requires at least some due diligence in the form of providing a username and a password.

My take? Jenkins 2.0 really does seem to me like a drama free release. From what I can see, the full increment is as much a mental and emotional move as it is technology driven. I think that the Jenkins team looks back at the 1.0 release and wishes they could have done a few things differently, but the community didn’t want to tighten any bolts or drain any pipes in a minor release for fear of upsetting their users. Now, with Jenkins 2.0, we have a mature product that has evolved to support the common workflows that most organizations wish to use, while providing simple and sensible defaults that will make the art of continuous deployment more user friendly. There doesn’t appear to be any serious migration issues, backwards compatibility problems or deprecated APIs that are going to send the enterprise community all aflutter. It’s just a nice, simple, drama-free release.

By the way, TheServerSide spoke with unethical blogger and Jenkins community leader R. Tyler Croy about the release, with that interview soon to be made available as both a feature article and a podcast, so stay tuned.

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