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Jenkins 2.0 Is Almost Here

To describe the 2.0 release of the Jenkins continuous integration (CI) server as long-awaited would be the understatement of the decade -- which is literally how long Jenkins has been a 1.0 release. Really. Ten years.

"I don't know if it's the longest 1.0 release in history," CloudBees CEO Sacha Labourey told me during a recent visit to Silicon Valley, "but it's got to be close."

Technically, Jenkins has been around since it was forked from the Hudson CI back in 2011. Hudson was launched by Sun Microsystems in 2004. After Oracle acquired Sun, the company announced that it would be migrating the project to its java.net infrastructure and trademarking the Hudson name. The community objected to this move, voted to rename the project and moved the code to GitHub. Shortly thereafter, Oracle surprised the community by contributing the Hudson code, domain name and trademark to the Eclipse Foundation.

Kohsuke Kawaguchi, who created Hudson and instigated the Jenkins fork, became an elite developer and architect at CloudBees, and he's been a part of the community throughout the evolution of this technology. The open source, Java-based Jenkins CI server has been updated almost on a weekly basis for many years. Along the way, it has been evolving from a pure CI server to provide continuous delivery, as well.

"A lot of people still think of Jenkins as CI only," Labourey said. "But the teams have done a lot of work around Docker, pipeline support, usability -- so much work has happened in the last 12 to 18 months, in particular, that it's important to signal that this is not the good old Jenkins you knew five years ago."

CloudBees now refers to the Jenkins CI/CD server as an automation server, and many of the changes in version 2.0, the alpha build of which was recently released, reflects this evolving identity.

"People ask me, what is the competition for Jenkins," Labourey said. "The real competition for Jenkins is companies still doing everything manually. It's a tough culture to change."

Among other things, this release will bring the concept of "Pipeline as code" to Jenkins. The new Pipeline plug-in introduces a domain-specific language (DSL) designed to help Jenkins users model their software delivery pipelines as code, which can be checked in and version-controlled along with the rest of their project's source code. Users will be able to define simple and complex pipelines through the DSL and easily share pipelines among teams by story common "step" in shared repositories. (There's a great description with diagrams on the Web site.)

Jenkins 2.0 also comes with a buffed up setup and UI improvements. And Labourey emphasized that Jenkins 2.0 will be 100 percent backward-compatible with existing Jenkins installations.

"There will be no reason for people not to upgrade," he said.

CloudBees, which had been known since it was founded in 2010 primarily as one of the few providers of a Java-based PaaS, refocused on Jenkins in 2014. The company was an early supporter of the CI server and continues to be its leading commercial supporter.

Earlier this year the company rolled out the first-ever Jenkins-based CD-as-a-Service (CDaaS) platform. Last year the company combined its Jenkins Enterprise and Operations Center products into a single platform.

Details about the Jenkins 2.0 release are available now on the company Web site.

Posted by John K. Waters on April 12, 2016