Analyzing Maven and Jenkins: Knowing the Best of the CI Tools

Analyzing Maven and Jenkins: Knowing the Best of the CI Tools

CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery. It is an automated process of integrating code from multiple developers, testing it quickly and continuously, and delivering it to customers on demand. It is part of modern software development techniques which keep track of all the changes made by different developers and helps prevent breaking changes from being deployed. 

Jenkins and Maven are quite the names in the realm of CI/CD due to their ability to facilitate continuous integration and delivery in software development. Jenkins is an automation platform that has a wide range of plugins and customizable settings, while Maven is a powerful build manager designed to help maintain consistent environments across the development cycle. 

The ease of use and robust feature sets provided by Jenkins and Maven make them attractive choices when it comes to managing a CI/CD pipeline for any development project. They automate bottlenecks associated with product release cycles, which makes them indispensable for teams wanting to deliver projects more efficiently. 

In addition, these tools provide detailed insights into product performance, allowing teams to identify areas for improvement, further streamlining their CI/CD process.

What is Maven?

Apache Maven is an open-source project management platform tailored to the needs of software developers. Developed as an extensible, plugin-based architecture, Maven supports projects for different programming languages and provides guidance for building, testing, and releasing software projects. 

Maven’s main elements include –  

1. Maven Core: This is the core of Apache Maven, which contains the main Maven components, such as the Maven Project Builder and the Maven Plugin Framework.

2. Maven Plugins: This is a set of plugins used to extend Apache Maven’s functionality. These plugins enable developers to create custom builds, add support for various programming languages, and integrate with external tools and services.

3. Maven Repository: This is a repository of components that Apache Maven uses to build projects. These components are stored in a central repository and can be accessed by any Maven project.

4. Maven Archetypes: This is a set of project templates that developers can use to quickly create a Maven project.

5. Maven Lifecycle: This is a set of steps that define the order in which tasks are executed when building a Maven project.

Due to its flexible feature set, Apache Maven is a preferred tool among software developers seeking reliable project automation and high-level oversight.

Advantages of Maven

The primary reason for Maven’s existence is to simplify the build process. It is a powerful tool that can simplify the build process while providing developers with a wide range of options for managing dependencies and releases.

The advantages of Maven are –

1. Simplified dependency management: Maven is a great tool for managing a project’s dependencies. It allows developers to keep track of all external libraries used by the project and automatically downloads them from the remote Maven repositories.

2. Easy to maintain: Maven uses a standard directory layout and an XML-based configuration file (pom.xml) to manage the project build. This makes it easy to maintain and scale the project.

3. Reusability: Maven is based on the concept of reusable components and encourages developers to create and share their components. This allows developers to reuse code and speed up the development process.

4. Centralised repository: Maven provides access to a central repository of components known as the Maven Central Repository. This allows developers to easily find and download the components needed for their projects.

5. Automation: Maven allows developers to automate most project build tasks. This makes automating tasks such as running code analysis, generating reports, and running tests easier.

Disadvantages of Maven

One downside is that Maven dependencies can be tricky to manage. For example, if one dependency is incompatible with another, it can cause problems with the build. 

The disadvantages of Maven are – 

  • Maven can be slow to run, especially on large projects.

  • It is impossible to add a dependency if the Maven code for a preexisting dependent is not readily available.

  • Maven is not always easy to understand, particularly for beginners. Its complex configuration can be daunting, and it can take time to learn how to use all of its features effectively.

  • One has to be familiar with the Maven command-line interface or employ an IDE like NetBeans or Eclipse that integrates Maven.

Despite these drawbacks, Maven remains a popular tool for Java development. But it’s important to be aware of its potential downsides before using it on your next project.

Key features of Maven

Maven has many essential and beneficial features, which contribute significantly to its popularity. The following are some of Maven’s more notable attributes – 

  • Easy dependency management by allowing developers to define their project dependencies in a single file

  • Automatic downloading of necessary dependencies or libraries from remote repositories

  • Robust incremental builds focused on managing compiling source code into binary code

  • Integration with popular development tools such as Eclipse IDE and Jenkins CI server

  • Support for multiple build lifecycles (final product release or test build) and enforced standards that promote maintainable projects.

  • It is easily extendable, and plug-ins written in Java and other scripting languages are simple to create.

Maven – Use Cases

Maven is a build automation tool used primarily for Java projects and helps to manage a project’s build, reporting, and documentation from a central piece of information. Maven can also be used to build and manage projects written in C#, Ruby, Scala, and other languages. It is based on the concept of a project object model (POM), which is an XML file containing information about the project, such as dependencies, build configuration, source directory structure, and more. 

Maven primarily aids in the download of dependencies, which are libraries or JAR files, for Java-based applications. Due to the possibility of various versions of individual packages, the tool aids in obtaining the appropriate JAR files for each project.

In addition, the tool aids in developing the proper project structure in servlets,  struts, etc., which is crucial for execution. Using the Maven command, one may request the execution of a lifecycle, which includes all of its build steps. Every construction phase in the given sequence is also run if one build phase is asked to be executed.

What is Jenkins?

Jenkins is an open-source automation server designed to help software development teams better manage complex projects. It combines technologies such as continuous integration, distributed builds, and version control with the ability to monitor web applications and deploy code changes quickly and easily. 

Jenkins is written using Java which makes it platform-independent, allowing it to be installed on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or Unix platforms without any compatibility issues. The user-friendly interface is well organized and allows developers to easily set up automated processes by creating pipelines or build flows and Jenkins development lifecycle

With its comprehensive plugin architecture, Jenkins can extend the functionality of both pre-built and custom apps while ensuring scalability across different environments. Ultimately, Jenkins boosts developers’ productivity by automating the creation, testing, and delivery of software in a cost-effective manner.

Advantages of Jenkins

The advantages of Jenkins are –

1. Easy Installation and Setup: Jenkins is an open-source automation server, and its installation and setup are quite easy. It can be installed on almost any operating system with a few easy steps.

2. Extensible with Plugins: Jenkins has a powerful plugin ecosystem that allows users to extend Jenkins’s capabilities to simplify the build, deployment, and automation process.

3. Easy Configuration: Jenkins enables users to configure the build process through its web UI. This makes it easier to configure projects, build jobs, assign permissions, and many more.

4. Open Source: Jenkins is an open-source automation server and its source code is freely available. This makes it easily accessible and modifiable by developers.

5. Scalable: Jenkins is highly scalable and can be configured to run multiple build jobs or processes simultaneously.

6. Cross-Platform: Jenkins is compatible with Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many other operating systems.

7. Security: Jenkins provides robust authentication and authorization systems that enable users to secure the built environment.

Disadvantages of Jenkins

While Jenkins is a powerful tool with a lot of flexibility, it also has some drawbacks.

The disadvantages of Jenkins are – 

  • Limited Support for Non-Java Projects – Jenkins is designed for Java projects, so other languages such as .NET require additional plugins to be installed in order to be built properly.

  • Jenkins can become complex and hard to maintain if you have too many plugins or projects.

  • Jenkins can be vulnerable to security threats such as cross-site request forgery and remote code execution.

  • Jenkins does not have any built-in automated testing capabilities.

Key features of Jenkins

Jenkins can be connected with popular cloud systems like Google Cloud, VMWare vSphere, Amazon EC2, etc. and it enables developers to quickly incorporate changes to their software projects as they continuously create and test them.

Some of the most popular features of Jenkins include the following –

  • Jenkins allows you to configure your source code management systems like SVN, Git, and Mercurial to keep track of your project and the changes made in your code.

  • Jenkins allows you to automatically trigger a build when a specific event happens, such as a commitment to your source code repository.

  • Jenkins allows you to configure and manage the environment used to run your builds, such as different JDKs, Maven versions, and other build tools.

  • Jenkins allows you to define the steps of your build process and execute them consistently and repeatedly.

  • Jenkins allows you to get feedback on your builds, with reports notifications sent to the appropriate people.

  • Jenkins provides a secure way to manage user access and control who can see and interact with your builds.

What is Jenkins used for?

Jenkins is an excellent CI/CD solution because it is easy to install, offers many plugins, and is flexible. Continuous integration and delivery speed up software development by allowing engineers to focus on writing code rather than worrying about integration. Besides deploying software to production servers, Jenkins can also automatically run tests. Therefore, developers can receive instant feedback regarding the quality of their code and iterate the development process accordingly.

Important uses of Jenkins include –

  • Releasing code for use in production
  • Enabling task automation
  • Expanding the code coverage 
  • Synchronization using Slack

Jenkins vs Maven: What are the differences?

Programming Models

Maven is primarily configurable via XML-based Project Object Model (POM) files.

Jenkins acts as the integration server for easy configuration.

Learning Curve 

Maven follows a declarative configuration model, where the desired build configuration is simply specified in a file known as the “pom.xml” file. Maven has a collection of standard plugins which are easy to use for typical build operations such as code compilation, test execution, and package creation. Maven also has plenty of documentation and tools available.

Jenkins is a more feature-rich and versatile tool than Maven; hence it has a slightly steeper learning curve. It also features a robust plugin ecosystem via which you can enhance its functionality and integrate it with other tools. However, for inexperienced users, the sheer amount of capabilities and plugins available in Jenkins might be intimidating. Jenkins also has a large and active community, so there is a wealth of online documentation and tools to assist you in learning how to use it.

Purpose 

Maven is used for controlling dependencies and the lifecycle of software. It is also made to interact with plugins, which let users add extra tasks to the build, test, package, install and deploy processes that come standard.

Whereas, Jenkins is made specifically to implement Continuous Integration. It automatically pulls code from a repository, compiles and packages it, and uploads it to a server for testing. Jenkins can use Maven as a build tool.

Dependency Management

Prior to Maven, Java developers frequently had trouble figuring out why the log4j dependency wasn’t satisfied on the production server. Maven found a solution by ensuring linked library integrity while building Java applications consistently through various development stages.

Jenkins builds may be heavily parameterized, and it is simple to divide builds into many parts, such as compile, test, and package. Jenkins can simply modularize builds.

Integrate Jenkins and Maven

Jenkins typically uses Maven repositories when deploying objects to remote locations. For instance, Sonatype’s Nexus or JFrog’s Artifactory.

Java ecosystem

Jenkins may be used as a server on many different operating systems, most notably Linux but also Windows, macOS, and several Unix variations. It may be executed on Oracle JRE or OpenJDK and requires a Java 8 VM or above.

With just one archetype command, users of Maven can build the framework for an Android, Java EE MicroProfile, Jakarta EE, or Spring Boot application that is fully compatible.

Interface

Jenkins is compatible with a wide range of programming languages and build tools, including Maven. Jenkins provides a web-based user interface (UI) for configuring and managing build tasks. It also features a robust plugin ecosystem via which you can enhance its functionality and integrate it with other tools in your development workflow.

Maven uses a declarative approach, where you provide the desired build configuration in a file called the “pom.xml” file. Maven reads this file and uses it to create the project based on the parameters supplied. Maven offers a command-line interface (CLI) for running Maven commands, as well as an API for invoking Maven features programmatically.

Effectiveness

Maven is highly effective in automating the build process for Java-based projects.

Jenkins can be used to effectively automate the build, testing, and deployment processes for various types of software projects.

How to Integrate Jenkins and Maven With Selenium?

Eclipse is an essential prerequisite in order to integrate Jenkins and Maven. To use m2eclispe, you need to download the plugins from the eclipse marketplace. To find Maven, go to the eclipse marketplace and search for it. The first plug-in that appears in the search results is the one you need to download.

How to create a Maven project – 

Step 1 – To start a project in Eclipse, go to File -> New Project -> Other, and then choose Maven -> Maven project. It will aid in the development of a new Maven project.

Step 2 – After clicking the Next button, you must enter the Artifact Id and Group Id. It will be special for your project since anybody may use them to clone it after it is uploaded to the GitHub repository. Your project’s name is represented by Group Id and its folder name by Artifact Id.

Step 3 – Select a separate template for the project.

Step 4 – Select ‘Maven quickstart template’.

Step 5 – After that, you will obtain a project with a two-folder structure with two directories, 

  • src/main/java
  • src/main/test

You may keep your tests and other files in the src/main/test and src/main/java folders, respectively.

Step 6 – Upon successful completion, a pom.xml will appear in your project’s structure. The Maven’s soul is POM. To download all dependencies and add them to the project structure, enter the pom.xml file and add the following code to it.

Step 7 – Go to the official Maven repository website and perform a jar-specific search for each jar file. Next, duplicate the dependent tag and include it in the pom.xml file.

Step 8 – You can then integrate the TestNG framework for testing by adding the TestNG dependency to your pom.xml file. You must create a new testng.xml file in the root directory of your project which contain the configurations for your TestNG tests.

Step 9 – You require a single plugin, Maven Surefire, to execute the test using Maven. You require the testng.xml plug-in to execute the test with TestNG. The code must be compiled using Maven compiler plugins as well. This plug-in will make sure that testing executes well.

<build>

 <plugins>

  <plugin>

   <groupId>org. apache.maven.plugins</groupld>

   <artifactId>maven-compiler-plugin</artifactId>

   <configuration>

    <source>1.8</source>

    <target>1.8</target>

   </configuration>

</plugin>

<plugin>

    <groupId>org. apache-maven.plugins</groupId>

    <artifactId>maven-surefire-plugin</artifactId>

    <version>2.20</version>

    <configuration>

     <suiteXmlFiles>

      <suitexmlFile>TestNG.xml</suitexmlFile>

     </suiteXmlFiles>

   </configuration>

  </plugin>

 </plugins>

</build>

Step 10 – Go to the project directory where pom.xml is located. There, launch cmd. Then, use the instructions listed below to clean, build, and run the code.

  • mvn clean
  • mvn compile
  • mvn test // to run all tests.

How to set up Jenkins Server (Windows Operating System) 

Following the project’s Maven construction, you must build a Jenkins continuous integration pipeline. The Jenkins server, which will be used to perform the tests, may then be installed by following the instructions below.

Step 1 – Click here to download Jenkins on your system. To install the Jenkins server, run the.exe file that is located in the Jenkins folder after unzipping it.

Step 2 – After completing the first step, Jenkins installation is complete. The server must then be launched on localhost using the below command. java -jar jenkins. war is the command.

Step 3 – Using port 8080, the Jenkins server will keep running. If you’d rather run it on a different port, you may alter the port number.

Step 4 – Visit https://localhost:8080

Following the installation of the required plugins, you will see the Jenkins server operating on this port.

Step 5 – Choose the Maven project by selecting New Item after clicking.

Step 6 – Press OK to create a new job with your specified name in Jenkins Server

Step 7 – Select Configure Systems under Manage Jenkins. The next step is to set up Maven and JDK with the appropriate version number, then navigate to the Build Section and input the whole path to your pom.xml.

Step 8 – On the Apply button, click. Select “Build Now” from the menu.

Step 9 – You may view the test execution history in the left area to see how many tests were passed and how many were unsuccessful.

Step 10 – Utilizing Jenkins for nightly builds, you may plan the regression test cases. You need to navigate to Configuration > Modify > Build Periodically and then input the time as per your convenience, like “0 22 * * *”. It will start every day at 10 o’clock. Any time that works for you can be specified.

Summary

Although it is crucial to understand the difference between Jenkins and Maven, the two commonly used frameworks, developers, and testers that utilize Maven-Jenkins integration typically achieve the greatest outcomes.

When comparing Jenkins vs Maven, we must understand that they are separate technologies, each designed to play a specific function in the design process. Maven-Jenkins integration is a key component of the most successful DevOps journeys.

Maven excels in compiling code and running tests, which is one aspect of the process. However, Jenkins has complete control over the CI/CD pipeline and is essential to a successful DevOps environment.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Jenkins use Maven?

Yes, Jenkins can use Maven for building and testing projects. Maven is a popular build tool used by many Java developers, and it is well-supported by Jenkins. When configuring a project in Jenkins, you can specify that it should use Maven by selecting the “Maven Project” option in the “New Item” menu.

Can I use Jenkins without Maven?

Without Maven, Jenkins will not be able to handle dependencies properly or automatically generate builds. As a result, it is recommended that Jenkins be used in conjunction with Maven.

Is Jenkins still relevant in 2023?

When it comes to continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), Jenkins has long been one of the most popular options. There is no doubt that Jenkins has some advantages over its newer rivals. It is a mature tool with a wide range of plugins and a large user base. Additionally, it is relatively easy to set up and use. 


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