Best Jenkins Alternatives for Developer Teams
By Sakshi Pandey, Community Contributor - September 30, 2022
What is Jenkins?
Jenkins is an open-source automation server that has been around for more than a decade, and at the time of its release, it was a tool that completely revolutionized the software development world.
This highly efficient tool has been very popular for developing software applications, testing projects, and making continuous integration pipelines possible. Jenkins automates the build, test, and deploy processes to make streamlined continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines.
Additionally, Jenkins supports a number of plugins that have highly versatile uses, such as enabling teams to use it with languages other than Java. However, Jenkins isn’t perfect, and after over a decade in the industry, it’s inevitable that Jenkins has accumulated several competitors. This guide explores some of the most popular alternatives to Jenkins.
Jenkins’ Advantages and Disadvantages
Jenkins is the oldest open-source automation server and has one of the largest user bases. Additionally, Jenkins has over 1800 user-contributed plugins that cover nearly all CI/CD needs. However, over time its user interface has become antiquated and unfriendly; and regrettably, Jenkins setup can also be quite complicated and time-consuming.
Unfortunately, for all the positives, Jenkins possesses several disadvantages that deter new users.
- Jenkins is open-source which means it provides a more economical solution to teams on a tight budget.
- Jenkins has 1800+ plugins which makes Jenkins very flexible. These plugins contribute to making Jenkins more diverse, supporting more languages, and also aiding Jenkins users in designing more variegated pipelines.
- Jenkins can be used with several popular OS such as Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- Jenkins is the oldest open-source automation server and thus has extensive documentation and community resources. This makes it easier to use since guides are available for all possible functions of Jenkins.
- Jenkins is self-hosted, leading to the user having greater control over the CI/CD pipeline. This allows for more customized and tailor-made workflows to be developed.
- Jenkins is over a decade old and has gained a reputation for being highly reliable.
- Jenkins is based on Java, making it a very robust framework.
- Jenkins requires a dedicated team/person who is highly specialized and has extensive experience in how to use it.
- Jenkins is notorious for being difficult to set up and requiring a highly hands-on, manual approach to building pipelines.
- Although Jenkins has a plethora of plug-ins available, there is often little upkeep performed for these plugins. Additionally, there is no way to confirm that the plug-in that a team needs to use will be maintained.
- The user interface is not very easily comprehensible and requires some time to get used to.
- Jenkins relies on antiquated Java technologies and is rather brittle.
- Jenkins’ errors are difficult to resolve.
- If multiple teams are using Jenkins at the same time for a certain project, these multiple servers can become very difficult to keep track of and manage.
- Jenkins is a hassle to update.
Know all about Jenkins for Test Automation
The Best Jenkins Alternatives for Developer Teams
This CI server was first released in 2006 and is known to be one of the most popular alternatives to Jenkins. TeamCity is available as a cloud service and as an on-site installation.
In addition to this, TeamCity offers stable plugins, in contrast to Jenkins’ plugins which are dubiously maintained, and fantastic customer support.
Some of the capabilities that make TeamCity popular are:
- It provides a low-maintenance solution to developers.
- It doesn’t require a specialized team/person to manage it.
- TeamCity is highly compatible with .NET integration.
- It can be used for and monitor multiple projects and branches.
- The UI is very easy to use and aesthetically pleasing.
- It can be integrated with version control systems such as GitLab and GitHub.
2. AWS CodePipeline
This is a CI/CD service that efficiently automates release pipelines. It doesn’t require a multiple-stage setup involving servers and other provisions; This makes it very easy to set up, manage, and use.
It is a continuous delivery service that developers can use to model, visualize, and automate the steps required to release the software application. You can use AWS CodePipeline to quickly model and configure the different stages of a software release process.
Some of the capabilities that make AWS CodePipeline popular are:
- AWS CodePipeline can be integrated with AWS CodeCommit, GitHub, Amazon ECR, and Amazon S3.
- This CI/CD service also allows integration with custom or built-in plugins, as needed by the project.
- This service offers parallel execution to increase the speed of the workflow.
- Status notifications can be sent to team members via Amazon SNS.
Bamboo is a product under Atlassian and is a very powerful CI tool that has the added capability of being able to integrate efficiently with JIRA for better project management. Integration with JIRA allows the team to be able to communicate easily, fix, and keep track of issues that arise.
Some of the capabilities which make Bamboo popular are:
- Bamboo is highly scalable.
- A relatively easy setup process.
- Bamboo can be integrated with Atlassian’s suite of tools.
- It can be used to run parallel batch tests.
Also Read: Jenkins vs Bamboo: Core Differences
CircleCI is highly customizable and scalable, making it a very well-liked CI/CD tool in the industry. In addition to this, CircleCI can be used in almost any environment. To top it all off, CircleCI is very easy to set up, run, and maintain.
CircleCI reduces the overhead of having a dedicated server as it is cloud-based. The enterprise version is also low on maintenance. The cloud-based platform offers credit-based plans that are scalable and help in deploying applications faster.
Some of the capabilities which make CircleCI popular are:
- This CI/CD tool has an “Orb” system that allows users to set up third-party integrations or plugins with ease.
- CircleCI can easily be integrated with GitHub and BitBucket.
- It can use parallelism to expedite jobs.
- CircleCI can be run on Docker, macOS, Windows, Linux VM, GPU, and Arm environments.
- This tool is also very easy to maintain when compared with Jenkins since it allows for automatic updates.
Read More: CircleCI vs Jenkins: A Detailed Comparison
5. Gitlab CI
Every GitLab user has access to the built-in CI/CD tool GitLab CI. GitLab CI offers an excellent UI which makes it easy to implement CI/CD without employing another third-party tool like Jenkins. This tool is cloud-based and highly scalable.
Some of the capabilities that make GitLab popular are:
- It offers several APIs which can be used to implement more features in the CI/CD pipeline as required.
- It’s easy to use, especially if the project code is already hosted by GitLab.
- There’s no need to worry about set-up, configuration, and all the other headaches that come with using a third-party tool.
- GitLab offers security in the form of full control over access and the code storage location.
- No plugins are required with GitLab.
Also Read: Difference between Jenkins vs Gitlab CI
6. Travis CI
Travis CI is an open-source project which is simple to set up and use. Additionally, Travis CI offers easy integration with version control systems. Travis CI supports the build matrix, which is a tool allowing tests to run with different versions of languages and packages.
It was the first CI as a Service tool. It was introduced to build code in the cloud, where the user can link their repository, and build and also test their apps. . It is a tool created for open-source projects and focused on CI. It uses automated testing and an elaborate alert system to optimize the build process.
Some of the capabilities that make Travis CI popular are:
- It can integrate with version control systems such as GitLab, Assembla, and BitBucket.
- Travis CI has extensive guides, community support, and docs available.
- Travis CI makes it easy to customize build environments as per the project requirements.
- The Travis CI portal displays the history and console logs in a very intuitive manner. Making it easy to understand and use.
- Travis CI can be integrated with Slack to provide the developer team with regular updates regarding the build status.
Read More: Jenkins vs Travis: The War of CI Tools
Cross browser testing is a vital component of any software project. Browserstack Automate is able to integrate with several popular automation frameworks such as Selenium, Cypress, WebdriverIO, Playwright, and more to carry out testing across 3000+ desktop browsers and real devices. BrowserStack offers integration with all the continuous integration tools mentioned in this guide; TeamCity, Jenkins, Bamboo, TravisCI, GitLab CI, CircleCI, AWS CodePipeline, and a plethora of other CI/CD tools as well.
There are many CI/CD tools available on the market. With all of them having such excellent features, it eventually comes down to simply finding the tool that is best suited to the project and to the other software tools or systems already in use. So when picking the best CI/CD tool be sure to identify the right ones; which offer flexibility, are customizable, time-efficient, and compatible with all the necessary software environments and other tools incorporated in the project’s software development process.