Jenkins and Jira as CI/CD Solutions: A Developer’s Master List

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Jenkins and Jira are well-known to developers: Jenkins was one of the first CI/CD solutions and is now used by 45% of developers, and Atlassian Jira is the most popular project management system among agile software development companies. However, you may not know the history of these solutions and how CI/CD and agile concepts are related.

This is your resource for the background of Jenkins and Jira, their inter-related history, and how integrating the two is an ideal CI/CD solution.

What are CI/CD solutions?

Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) refers to an automated process of delivering frequent releases of software or apps to customers. The integration stage involves building, testing, and merging new changes to an app to a shared repository. The delivery stage automatically sends the tested changes to production, where they can be released to customers.

CI/CD streamlines the development process: it improves communication as all developers can access the repository, reduces the risk of human error, and enables faster fixes and feature releases. It works well with the principles of agile methodology, allowing flexibility and encouraging continuous review and adaptation.

CI/CD solutions are the tools used to automate the process. The most popular and one of the first CI/CD solutions is Jenkins, an open-source automation server that can be used throughout every step of development.

Evolution of CI/CD tools

The concept of CI/CD was first suggested in the 1990s, a time when software was manually developed and tested and releases were infrequent. Customers had to wait months for updates, and installing the updates would take time and cause business disruption. The solution of continuous integration, merging code from all the developers into one repository frequently, first appeared in Grady Booch’s 1991 book, Object-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications.

Later, in 1997, following Booch’s ideas, developers began to put the concept into practice and took it further to not only merge the code updates but also release them on the same day or even multiple times a day. However, this was still largely a manual process for developers.

The first open source continuous delivery tool was CruiseControl in 2001. This was at about the same time that agile methodology was introduced. The scrum method went hand-in-hand with the CI/CD concept with its focus on team collaboration and continuous improvement.

In 2002, Jira was introduced by Atlassian to help developers organize the scrum process and stay aligned. Software companies embraced the solution and implemented it in their project planning.

Early CI/CD solutions were rudimentary and still required manual processes. But in 2005, a groundbreaking new solution was released to automate the software delivery pipeline. This was Hudson, which was renamed as Jenkins in 2011. Jenkins made it easy for developers to track all code changes and incorporate them into regular releases.

In 2012, the Atlassian Marketplace was launched, which allowed developers to buy and sell plugins for Jira and Confluence. This greatly increased the popularity of Jira and made it easier to use, even for non-developers.

The infographic illustrates the evolutionary history of CI/CD solutions.

Now that we know the history of Jenkins and Jira, let’s look at why both are significant.

Why is Jenkins so significant? 

The rise of Jenkins made CI/CD more attainable as it reduced the need for manual processes and improved communication among developers.

Automates the integration process

With Jenkins, every code change is automatically added to a shared repository, so all developers have access to the changes. In the past, developers needed to upload changes to a repository manually. This was a tedious process, and if someone forgot to update a change, a project could be derailed. Now that developers can instantly view the latest code, they can be sure everything is included in each release as it should be.

Allows an immediate feedback loop

Bugs or build failures are also automatically logged so developers can address them immediately as they occur. Without automation, failures can be difficult to trace and may only be discovered once a release is out and customers start to complain. Dealing with issues right away saves time and leads to more satisfied customers.

Supports continuous development

The automation prepares code for production, so as soon as a build is finished, it can be released. There can be multiple releases every day, so software products are constantly improving.

How does Jira help with CI/CD?

Designed specifically for software development projects, Jira is an ideal solution to organize and manage releases and track progress.

Facilitates Agile project management

Jira is designed for scrum teams to categorize projects, assign tasks, and track progress. Dividing tasks by sprint and displaying them across Kanban boards ensures transparency and helps project managers avoid scope creep

Enables efficient issue tracking and traceability within CI/CD pipelines

Jira allows project managers and developers to set issue priorities and update issue progress. They can label versions so it’s possible to look back and track changes that have been made, and plugins allow users to generate reports. 

Integration apps streamline workflows and enable seamless collaboration between Jenkins and Jira 

Both Jenkins and Jira automate the CI/CD workflow process, but often, the information in the two is not synchronized, and this leads to delays and blockers. Project managers typically use Jira and developers prefer to work in Jenkins. In Jenkins, developers are aware of the latest changes, releases, and build failures. However, if the information is not updated in Jira, project managers may be in the dark. That’s why an app to automatically integrate Jenkins and Jira is necessary.

With a Jenkins and Jira integration, you can seamlessly send information between the two platforms, so everyone involved in the software project is up to date:

  • Bi-directional data transfer and action triggers
  • Accessibility to all users to prevent scope creep
  • Workflow automation
  • Information in context

It’s the best of both worlds. Jenkins and Jira work efficiently together, so developers like you can stay agile and release every project smoothly and on schedule.

Looking for an integration app? We break down the top three apps on the Marketplace here.

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