What is Jenkins? The CI server explained

Jenkins offers a simple way to set up a continuous integration or continuous delivery environment for almost any combination of languages and source code repositories using pipelines, as well as automating other routine development tasks. While Jenkins doesn’t eliminate the need to create scripts for individual steps, it does give you a faster and more robust way to integrate your entire chain of build, test, and deployment tools than you can easily build yourself.

“Don’t break the nightly build!” is a cardinal rule in software development shops that post a freshly built daily product version every morning for their testers. Before Jenkins, the best a developer could do to avoid breaking the nightly build was to build and test carefully and successfully on a local machine before committing the code. But that meant testing one’s changes in isolation, without everyone else’s daily commits. There was no firm guarantee that the nightly build would survive one’s commit.

Jenkins – originally Hudson – was a direct response to this limitation.

Hudson and Jenkins

In 2004, Kohsuke Kawaguchi was a Java developer at Sun. Kawaguchi became tired of breaking builds in his development work and wanted to find a way to know, before committing code to the repository, whether the code was going to work. So Kawaguchi built an automation server in and for Java to make that possible, called Hudson. Hudson became popular at Sun, and spread to other companies as open source.

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