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Jenkins vs Travis: Which CI/CD Tool Is Best for You?

Jenkins vs Travis: Which CI/CD Tool Is Best for You?

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) tools are invaluable assets for any software development team, enabling them to quickly and effectively build, test, and deploy software applications. These tools make it easier and faster to get new features and updates out to users. 

By effectively automating the software production process, CI/CD tools can help streamline the development process, reduce the risk of human error, and decrease the time required to get a new version into production. This shortened cycle time helps teams be more agile and responsive in quickly developing quality products. 

Additionally, CI/CD tools provide a great layer of visibility into every step of the product delivery journey, enabling teams to quickly see what works, what needs improvement, and where blockers are occurring to make impactful decisions faster.

As a DevOps expert, you must assess these technologies in light of your budget, the needs of your projects, and other factors. Let us deeply examine each tool to see how they stack up.

Understanding Continuous Integration (CI)

CI is a software engineering practice that focuses on frequently merging any application changes into a shared repository. Regularly integrating alterations from developers allows the separate pieces of code to be tested and reviewed more efficiently. 

When done consistently and paired with automated test suites, CI helps streamline the development process by quickly pinpointing errors or conflicts between branches of code. As a result, build problems are identified more readily to reduce the manual debugging needed during the development cycle. Furthermore, project teams benefit from improved communication between developers as well as an increased ability to deploy applications faster and in an automated manner.

CI is used by agile development teams who are looking for a way to improve their software delivery process. By integrating frequently, teams can avoid the problems that can occur when significant changes are integrated. In addition, continuous integration helps to ensure that the codebase is always working, making it easier to identify and fix bugs, enabling development teams to avoid costly delays, and improving the quality of their software.

Continuous Integration – Components and Working Module 

If you are new to CI/CD, you might wonder how it works. CI involves merging code from developers into a shared repository several times a day, where it is tested, validated, and inspected for errors or other issues. 

This process encourages frequent, small changes instead of completing large tasks over a longer period, creating a leaner process that eliminates the need for larger updates, which can introduce coding errors. This allows teams to automate testing continuously, creating faster cycles of testing and iteration while ensuring that quality and reliability remain consistent throughout the development life cycle.

The components of CI include –

1. Version Control System: A version control system (VCS) is a repository of files that keeps track of changes made over time. It allows multiple developers to work on the same codebase while maintaining a history of changes.

2. Automated Builds: Automated builds are scripts that compile the application code, run unit tests, and package the application for deployment.

3. Automated Tests: Automated tests can be written to validate that the application is functioning as expected. These tests can be run as part of the automated build process.

4. Automated Deployment: Once the application is packaged, it can be deployed automatically to pre-configured environments.

5. Automated Monitoring: Once the application is deployed, it can be monitored for errors and performance issues. This helps ensure that the application is running as expected in production.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins, one of the most used CI/CD tools, is an open-source automation server that helps software developers in quickly build applications and test the same. It automates the otherwise manual processes like code formatting, analysis, packaging, and other tests associated with delivering quality software in a shorter period of time. 

Jenkins also simplifies keeping track of any changes made to the code, which can be easily shared among development teams and their stakeholders. Its scalability allows it to be used by organizations of any size with both simple and complex continuous integration and delivery pipelines. 

Jenkins is easy to configure, customizable, and secure, making it a popular choice among organizations worldwide for automated workflows. It supports a wide range of plugins, allowing it to integrate with various tools that can help developers automate many tasks related to building, testing, and deploying software. It is easy to install and configure, and its wide range of plugins makes it a popular choice for DevOps teams.

Features of Jenkins

Jenkins is one of the best choices because of its features and best practices. With more than 1500 plugins to support building, deploying, and automating any project, Jenkins can be integrated into widely used cloud platforms like Google Cloud, VMWare vSphere, Amazon EC2, etc. 

Some of the most popular Jenkins features include – 

  • Build pipeline plugin
  • Version Control
  • Scalable
  • Builds code into an executable file format
  • Free to use and user-friendly
  • Open source ecosystem
  • Extensible
  • Easy distribution
  • REST API offered
  • Developer-centric and more feature-driven

What does Jenkin do?

The continuous integration and delivery process of software helps to speed up the development process by enabling developers to focus on writing code instead of worrying about the integration process. Additionally, uses of Jenkins can extend to run tests and deploy software to production servers automatically. This makes it possible for developers to get feedback about the quality of their code quickly and iterate on their development process accordingly.  

Some of the most common uses of Jenkins are –

  • Increased Code Coverage – The quantity and frequency of execution of a component’s code lines determine its code coverage. Jenkins improves code coverage, encouraging team members to collaborate openly during development.
  • No Broken Code – Jenkins uses continuous integration to ensure the code is sound and thoroughly tested. Only when each test is passed is the final version of the code merged. By doing this, it is ensured that no flawed code is sent into production.

Jenkins – Setting Up

Following are the steps to be followed while setting up Jenkins –

Step 1 

Plan, download, and install Jenkins: A team needs to identify, plan and set a specific goal for the CI/CD pipeline. Once the goal is set, it is crucial to start with the infrastructure planning. Finally, download the latest version of Jenkins from the official Jenkins website and install it.

Step 2

Configure Jenkins: After the installation is complete, open Jenkins and configure it. This includes setting up the security, configuring plugins, setting up the built environment, and setting up the source control management system.

Step 3

Create jobs: After setting up Jenkins, create reusable yet generic jobs for the tasks that you want Jenkins to perform. These tasks can include building, testing, and deploying applications. Additionally, keeping the jobs small allows for scalable infrastructure and modularisation, leading to the automatic scaling of nodes or agents.

Step 4

Set up Jenkins plugins: Jenkins offers to install a number of widely used, well-supported plugins automatically. However, once Jenkins is up and running, you can think about any further plugins you might require.

A few generally recommended plugins cover:

  • Git – one of the suggested plugins available at the time of installation, this allows a user to integrate GitHub into a clone repository.
  • GitHub Pull Request Builder – creates GitHub pull requests and reports outcomes.

Step 5

Monitor builds: Monitor the builds and keep track of the results.

Step 6

Analyze results: Analyze the build results and take corrective action if necessary.

Step 7

Set up a backup server and maintain Jenkins: Create a backup process for the entire Jenkins configuration. Set up a specific Jenkins job to create a backup plugin. Keep Jenkins up to date with the latest version and plugins.

What is Travis CI?

The Travis CI service is a hosted, distributed, continuous integration service that helps developers and testers build and test projects on GitHub, GitLab, Bitbucket, and Assembla. Written in Ruby, Travis is configured using a YAML file placed in the root directory of the source code. Travis CI is free for open-source projects; its enterprise version charges for private repositories and other Travis CI features. 

It is a cloud-based service for developers which allows for automatically running tests after every code commit. Leveraging Travis CI can improve team collaboration by ensuring teams produce quality software in a timely manner, as well as simplifying the deployment process. 

Travis CI supports a wide variety of programming languages and frameworks, such as Node.js, PHP, and Python. In addition to being one of the most popular Continuous Integration tools, Travis has also been used for deployments, chatbots, and static site generators.

Furthermore, with Travis CI’s intuitive interface, developers are enabled to work more efficiently with improved visibility into the software building pipeline.

Travis CI Features 

Travis CI is a powerful and popular tool for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. Used by millions of developers around the world to improve the quality of their code and speed up the software development process, Travis CI is free to use for open-source projects.

Some of the most important Travis CI features include:

  • GitHub and Bitbucket integration 
  • Easily configurable 
  • Supports private repositories
  • Can run custom scripts
  • Powerful API 
  • Built-in support for popular languages 
  • Runs build in isolation 
  • Intelligent build matrix

What does Travis do?

Travis CI comes with pre-installed languages, databases, and other dependencies. It also integrates with GitHub to automatically detect when a new commit has been made and pushed to a repository. Once Travis detects a new push, it will automatically run the build and test for the new commits. This makes it easy for developers to get feedback on their code changes without waiting for a manual build and test cycle.

With the help of Travis CI, you can automate the basic operations of code like testing, integration, delivery, and deployment, incorporating DevOps and Agile ideas into the development processes from push to production deployment.

Travis CI, which is fully hosted and accessible with just a few clicks, integrates with the current version control system, enabling you to automate testing and other tasks with little to no initial setup. 

Essential uses of Travis covers –

  • Minimize build time – Multiple strategies are provided in Travis’ documentation under the heading ‘Speeding up the build’. The easiest way to create ‘parallelism’ is to segregate your test suite and make use of their build matrix.

  • Test multiple language versions – Travis ensures that each library is tested against every possible language version for easy integration against various applications.

  • Skip unnecessary builds – Travis automatically skips simple and unnecessary builds while running on multiple Travis-enabled repositories. It saves the team queue from congestion.

TravisCI – Setting up

Following are the steps to be followed while setting up Jenkins –

Step 1

Visit the Travis website and register your account. You will need to have a Bitbucket, Assembla, GitLab, or GitHub account and you will need to have the project owners’ permission for the hosted project.

Step 2

Go to the “Accounts” page in the Travis dashboard and pick the repository you wish to use to connect your code repository.

Step 3

Create a .travis.yml file in the root directory of your code repository. This .yml file will contain instructions on how Travis will build, test, and deploy your application.

Step 4

Push your code to the repository or use a hosted project. This will trigger Travis to start building and running tests or deployment commands specified in the .travis.yml file.

Step 5

You can monitor the build status and logs in the Travis dashboard to see the progress of the build and to identify issues that may be found.

Step 6

Once set up, Travis can automatically run these tests whenever changes are pushed or committed to the code repository.

Which is better? Jenkins or Travis?

Now that we have discussed the basic definition and features of the CI tools, let’s get into a detailed showdown to determine the best tool between Jenkins and Travis and which one should you prefer the most!

Setup and Installation

Jenkins is a standalone Java application that functions flawlessly right from the start. It is accessible on popular operating systems like Windows, macOS, and UNIX. Docker systems and Jenkins can be integrated together to increase consistency and speed. 

Jenkins is easy to set up and install because there are not many stages involved in the process:

  • Step 1 – Download the new Jenkins war file available on the Jenkins website. Next, create a new directory for your Jenkins installation and copy the war file into it. Finally, launch Jenkins by running the war file with the java -jar command. 

  • Step 2 – Once Jenkins is up and running, you can access it through your web browser at http://localhost:8080/. You can begin configuring your Jenkins server from there.  For example, you can add new plugins or create new jobs. 

You can also customize the appearance of your Jenkins instance by changing the theme or adding your own logo. With a little bit of effort, you can have a fully functional Jenkins server up and running in no time.

To get started with Travis CI with GitHub, you must sign up using GitHub on Travis. You need to enable the repository for testing from Travis Settings Page and add the YAML file .travis.yml (root directory) to the repository. After installation, Travis will run the test suites automatically and take care of any required changes pushed into the targeted repository.

Usage

Jenkins has always placed more emphasis on functionality than usability. The admin may easily edit the basic XML file containing all the configurations from the file system where it is kept. As a result, updates may be swiftly distributed across several Jenkins projects as opposed to performing the same through the UI.

However, Travis CI is the preferred CI/CD tool owing to its tight integration with GitHub. You may independently test branches & pull requests using Travis CI. 

Parallel Execution

Parallel testing is possible using Travis CI. It may be coupled with applications like HipChat, Slack, email, etc., and get notifications if the build is failed. Developers may accelerate their test suites by running many builds simultaneously across various virtual machines. Travis CI’s “build matrix” functionality enables developers to divide a build into several components, accelerating the processes.

To use your account’s full capabilities for parallel testing, you must make changes to the.travis.yml file. You can run parallel builds on a single virtual machine or several virtual machines to run simultaneous builds on multiple VMs like RSpec, Cucumber, or Minitest.

Travis CI’s build phases may also be utilized to achieve parallel execution. Build phases are employed to organize jobs and execute the pertinent jobs concurrently. However, the processes need to be carried out in order.

The parallel execution for Jenkins is accomplished with the Parallel Test Executor Plugin. When using Jenkins’ simultaneous builds feature, especially when attempting to access shared resources like the filesystem, you could run into problems because various builds share the same environment.

To conclude, both Jenkins and Travis are efficient tools for executing parallel builds. You can choose either of them at your convenience.

Applications and Plugin Ecosystem

Jenkins, an open-source project with a thriving ecosystem of plugins, relies on community growth. Currently, Jenkins offers more than 1500 plugins. Each has a significant community commitment in addition to supporting build, deployment, and automation. Given the availability of several plugins, Jenkins is extendable.

Travis CI supports 21 programming languages, including C, C++, Perl, Java, Python, PHP, JavaScript, Node.js, and others. Depending on your preferred language, you may download applications for Travis CI that the community has created.

Community Support

Jenkins has great online community support due to its open-source nature. Jenkins community is useful for various tasks, including troubleshooting, knowledge exchange, documentation, reviews,  and more. Additionally, there are frequent updates to the Jenkins Community Blog.

The Travis CI community contains a variety of areas, including enterprise, deployment,  discussion, languages, feedback, environments, and more. However, Travis CI lacks the liveliness of an online community; plugins (or applications) and community support are not its strong features.

If you’re searching for CI/CD solutions expressly for open-source projects, you should test both programs out and pick the one that best fits your needs.

Cloud and Third-Party Integrations

Travis CI is a cloud-based continuous integration server where you may add repositories hosted on some other servers (other than GitHub and BitBucket) as sub-modules. However, if the source code is open to the public, Travis CI can be utilized for free.

Travis CI has built-in plugins for prominent cloud service providers like Azure, AWS, Google Cloud, etc. These plugins are useful for fusing fresh GitHub projects with legacy ones. They are also helpful for setting up build settings and performing builds on specific GitHub events.

Similarly, Jenkins can also be used utilizing support integration with widely used cloud platforms. Using plugins, you can integrate Jenkins into cloud platforms like Google Cloud, Digital Ocean, Microsoft Azure, and Amazon EC2.

Hosting

Although Travis CI’s corporate version may also be hosted on-premises, the open-source and free version is purely cloud-based. As a result, you may run CI tests using the Enterprise edition locally on your servers or in your private cloud. Google Compute Engine, OpenStack, AWS, VMware, and Azure are some of the supported cloud and on-premises providers. Additionally, your team has insight into and control over its build procedures thanks to Travis CI Enterprise.

Jenkins is accessible in both cloud-based and on-premises hosting configurations. Jenkins is a free tool to use; the only cost involved with utilizing it (in on-premise mode) is the expenditure to set up the on-premise infrastructure.

Jenkins is a good choice if you’re searching for a free (and open-source) CI/CD tool for a cloud or on-premises environment. Travis CI is a good option for open-source repositories in terms of usability. Choosing Travis CI Enterprise solely depends on your project’s needs and budget.

Extended Customization

Jenkins CI and Travis both have RESTful APIs for specialized extensions. Travis CI APIs were recently updated with the release of API V3 in 2017. Since it appears to be in use for Travis CI’s web front-end apps, the API version V2 is not considered deprecated. Similarly, Travis CI’s Ruby Library is built on API V2.

Jenkins offers Python, XML, and JSON remote monitoring APIs. You can use these APIs to start builds, make tasks, and more. When using Jenkins APIs with your project, the documentation might be of great assistance.

Release Cycle

While Jenkins follows the LTS (Long-Term Support) and weekly releases, Travis CI depends on dependent installations. To install dependencies, you need to add a simple YAML file to the repository’s root directory. 

Final Thoughts

Jenkins and Travis CI offer excellent features, one aspect that is obvious from the comparison. Travis CI offers an advantage over Jenkins if you use GitHub for version control because of its close connection with the latter. On the other hand, Jenkins has been developed, used for a long time, and employed by entrepreneurs and large enterprises. When shortlisting a CI/CD solution and considering the capabilities, you should also consider the cost and in-house expertise; the same is true when comparing Travis CI and Jenkins.

So whether it is Jenkins or using Travis, Testsigma is a robust, enterprise-ready solution with strong features, including thorough test management, user administration, and security. 

Start automating your tests right immediately with Testsigma with the essential infrastructure, including test design components, drivers, integrations, test labs, and SDKs.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Some of the popular CI/CD tools include – Jenkins, TeamCity, GoCD, Bamboo, CircleCI, Travis, etc.

Why is Jenkins the best?

Jenkins is an open-source CI tool with a thriving plugin ecosystem and extensible files. Easy to install, Jenkins provides 1500 plus real-time unique plugins for the users to test and report at their convenience.

Is Jenkins still relevant in 2023?

Yes, Jenkins is still relevant in 2023, although it is no longer seen as the sole source. 

What is Travis CI used for?

CI tools such as Travis CI automate the process of building, testing, and providing feedback on code changes. In addition to managing deployments and notifications, Travis CI can automate other parts of your development process.


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