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Top 10 DevOps Tools for Continuous Integration

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Introduction:

In today’s DevOps world, continuous delivery and deployment are critical to delivering high-quality software product faster than ever before. For us to get the better understanding of the DevOps tools in this space, we need to first understand the meaning of Continuous Integration. Let us get to that point from the below paragraphs where we will be discussing further in detail about the process in itself and also the tools that are used in various other Organizations. Continuous Integration defined with an acronym (CI), is a cornerstone technique of DevOps. 

Continuous Integration is to continuously merge software code updates from all developers of a team into a shared central mainline and ensure that the software package is always in Shippable quality which ensures that there are no long and tiring manual efforts for Software System Integrations. Continuous integration (CI) tools enable developers to commit code to a larger repository as frequently as desired. The tools build and test the code so that any errors and bugs are detected quickly and handed back to the developer to resolve.

Continuous Integration in a way is helping organizations automate their build, test and demonstrate for all sorts of purposes in the DevOps space. Lot of features as like Code coverage, Test coverage, Compiler Warnings, PMD detection, Performance bottleneck identification can also happen through the regular and monotonous build processes through Continuous Integration. Ultimately CI facilitates a fast software delivery process, shortening the release cycle and giving developers more freedom and opportunity to work on innovative tasks. It enables different developers and/or teams to work in parallel with one another on different facets of the same project.

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Top 10 DevOps Tools for Continuous Integration

Types of Continuous Integration (CI) DevOps Tools:

While there are many such Continuous Integration DevOps tools available in the market, but there are some that are more widely used. Choosing a particular Continuous Integration tool can be a tedious task for an individual or even for an Organization if it is their first attempt at this process altogether. Here we will take a look at each of the DevOps tools in specific, and understand the intrinsic of it. Based on its usage, we have also compiled some of the advantages of using it as well. Though the list is exhaustive, it is better you take the time to go through all the available options as this process is believed to be a onetime action for an individual or an Organization and for the impatient, you can definitely go to the tool of your choice directly.

1. HockeyApp:

HockeyApp, a tool that best suits for collecting crash reports, to obtain feedback from live users, distribution of your beta version software and also to analyze further on the test coverage. HockeyApp provided by Microsoft is by far one of the best software tools available in analyzing the mobile crash reports, app distribution for developers over iOS, Android and Windows phones.

To test your application is a super easy process, upload your application to HockeyApp and see the platform offerings for yourself – like the Crash reports, live reporting, and bug reports. It also provides us the number of times this application has been hit from what different environments as well.

Following are some of the advantages of using HockeyApp, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • One of the best advantages of using HockeyApp is that it is the fully open source and customizable
  • Supports multiple platforms – iOS, Android, Windows Phone
  • Availability of Jenkins plugin for HockeyApp for Continuous Integration
  • Simple configuration, Simple SDK download, and simplistic integration plus distribution
  • A comprehensive team management during the application distribution phase as well

Related Article: Continuous Integration With Jenkins

2. Jenkins:

Jenkins, an open source continuous integration server that is written in Java itself is the far most widely used too for the Continuous integration builds and also for delivery pipelines. Developers reap its benefits in building and testing software continuously with it. It offers configuration operations through both GUI and CLI interfaces. It is a very flexible tool that finds its usage and implementation because of the plethora of features made available via plugins. These plugins support building, testing virtually any possible project.

Basically, Jenkins provides integration development life-cycle that processes all kinds of build, document, test, package, stage, deploy and performing static analysis etc. Jenkins also provides alerting mechanisms as like email, pop-up notifications and also can automate them further to get immediate feedback. You can always have all the details regarding build failures, code static analysis and way more details than just that. Alongside all of these wonderful features that Jenkins provide, it can also be used to distribute software builds and test loads on several machines.

Following are some of the advantages of using Jenkins, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • One of the key advantages of Jenkins is that it requires the least maintenance and also that it has inbuilt GUI tools that provide easier access and updates.
  • It is an open source technology and it is also user-friendly. Its installation process is also very easy which doesn’t require any further additional installations or components.
  • Configuring Jenkins and mending it based on our needs is the easiest of tasks that can be done on it.
  • It can be configured to the basic needs of Continuous Integrations and Continuous Delivery (CI, CD).
  • Jenkins is completely platform independent and hence can be used on any operating system as like OSX, Windows or even on Linux.
  • With the plethora of plugins available, Jenkins makes it flexible in builds, deployment and also in automation across various software platforms.
  • Even though it is open source, there is a strong community that supports on all the online help that you require on Jenkins
  • With Jenkins, developers can also concentrate on Test driven development to build on the software quality of the product.
  • Projects can save a lot of time and money that would have been else wasted on integration-related issues if it were not to be Jenkins to automate such integration processes.

3. Apache Gump:

Apache Gump, yet another Continuous Integration tool that is written purely in Python. This was earlier written in Java but then was entirely re-written in Python to cater the needs of Continuous Integration and now is written in a manner to support a majority of the build tools. It helps to build and compiling the software against latest versions of the projects with utmost ease. Apache Gump is an open source continuous integration tool that is designed in entirety to ensure that projects are compatible at both the API level and also at the functionality level. 

This makes it really very easy for Apache Gump to identify the incompatible modifications to that specific code within the shortest span of time after they are committed to the Version Control Systems. As soon as a modification which caused an issue is identified, it will automatically send the notifications to alarm about the change. Provides additional reports to the users online to make further corrective actions to ensure better quality of the product as such.

Following are some of the advantages of using Apache Gump, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • One of the key advantages of using Apache Gump is that it is completely an open-source technology
  • This tool has got the backing of a strong community to support the product in the form of Apache
  • Identifies and alarms on potential issues caused on the commit from an individual in a Version Control System.

4. Buildbot:

Buildbot is yet another open sourced Continuous Integration tool that provides automation on software integration, build and testing processes. Basically written in Python over the available twisted libraries. Buildbot provides support to various operating systems as like Windows, Linux, BSD, and OSX. Buildbot was also considered to be as a lightweight substitute to replace Mozilla’s Tinderbox project. It also provides Source Code Configuration Management (SCM) integrations with Git, SVN, CVS, Mercurial, Monotone, and BitKeeper.

Following are some of the advantages of using Buildbot, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • You can find that it inherits all the benefits of Python as a programming language
  • Buildbot is also available in Gentoo.
  • Since it is a Python-based tool, integration options are higher on other tools that are also written in Python.
  • You will find the documentation a bit incomplete, but once you find it regarding the installation – it is a smooth process to install Buildbot.
  • Quite easy on the maintenance when on Production
  • Intuitive bash scripting through APIs
  • Provides the choice of creating the additional feature that you want on your Continuous Integration server a possibility whereas the other tools don’t provide such a feature.

5. Bamboo:

Bamboo, yet another Continuous Integration tool that is developed by Atlassian is available in two flavors – Cloud Version and the Server Version. Atlassian’s Bamboo Cloud offering comes with a hosting service from Amazon’s EC2 account and for the Atlassian’s Bamboo Server offering comes with a self-hosting. Bamboo is one of the many offerings from Atlassian as like JIRA, Confluence, Crucible and BitBucket and provides a seamless integration with all of these tools without any single issue as such. Bamboo ties automated builds, tests, and releases all of them together as a single workflow. It also does provide deeper integration with other Continuous Integration or build tools as like Jenkins providing end to end visibility into an Organization’s implementation of software code and its relative quality.

It provides wonderful support to Workflow based projects and it does manage all the builds and tests. Workflows are then organized within Bamboo as Plans that do contain one or more jobs including one or more tasks. Bamboo does support its execution of running tasks – as like running automated tests in parallel and stuff. With Bamboo and specifically for an Organization that already heavily relies on Atlassian is the best choice as it gives a complete integration and ensures that you don’t have to look for a better tool than this for your DevOps implementation.

Following are some of the advantages of using Bamboo, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • Integration with the Atlassian JIRA, Confluence and the like – we can achieve the following advantages using Bamboo:

  1. View builds and releases that are specifically related to issues at hand
  2. Run builds by releasing out of JIRA directly and with no other inputs at hand
  3. Display build/deploy reports in JIRA and Confluence directly
  4. View the code changes that are made and also the reviews that are related to the issues and builds directly as well.
  • Provides an excellent out of the box support for Maven and with this, it makes it extremely easy to achieve the following advantages using Bamboo:

  1. To configure build plans for projects using Maven and that depend on Maven
  2. Release code that uses Maven as the release plugin.
  3. Provision to add 3rd party add-ons to your existing Bamboo environment.
  • If the add-on that you look for isn’t available then you could very well create that and use it without any further issues as such.

6. CircleCI:

CircleCI is a Continuous Integration platform that does all the automation on the build, test and deployment processes of software code for an Organization. Its sole and whole purpose is to enable the development teams to enhance the rate at which the software projects are delivered while at the same time also to facilitate extreme scalability. That being discussed, CircleCi also supports Docker platform.

CircleCI is a Continuous Integration tool that is hosted only on GitHub which supports several languages, per se – Java, Python, Sinatra, Clojure, Ruby/Rails, Node.js, PHP, Haskell, and Scala. CircleCI provides its offerings and services based on Containers and offers one Container free where any number of projects can be built on it. It provides 5 levels of Parallelization (1x, 4x, 8x, 12x and 16x), making 16x the maximum parallelization that can be achieved on one build. The main features of CircleCI can be listed as the following:

  • Quick and an easy setup process
  • Provides integration abilities with a range of tools
  • Configurable workflows and provides all possible tests. 
  • The process of testing in itself and a guarantee of failing less
  • Following are some of the advantages of using CircleCI, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • CircleCI is universal and very easy to configure it as well
  • Provides an ability to integrate with existing cloud services
  • A configuration of the integrations server is simplified to the lowest level possible, where these changes are just small modifications is the yml files
  • Deployment and the build pipeline gets along with your code and also getting committed as part of your code commit to VCS.
  • Provides integration with Docker – CircleCI 2.0 is all about Containers
  • Easier to navigate and alarms on failures enabling us to see at which stage because of which code commit a build or a deployment pipeline failed
  • Workflows and Pipelines are highly Customizable and Configurable

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7. GitLab CI:

GitLab CI is yet another Continuous Integration tool that is hosted on the free hosting service named GitLab.com, alongside that it also offers Git repository management function with features as like access control, bug tracking, and code reviewing. GitLab CI is completely unified with GitLab and it is very easy to use to link projects via the usage of GitLab API. Built using the Go language, GitLab CI has the ability to execute on various operating systems as like Windows, Linux, Docker, OSX, and FreeBSD.

Following are some of the advantages of using GitLab CI, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • GitLab Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Delivery (CD) is an integral part of GitLab and is free as an offering from GitLab.com
  • The learning curve is pretty flat whereas the topics are all covered in detail in the quick start guides
  • GitLab Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery offers the same experience as GitLab which are familiar, easy to use and all beautiful.
  • Tests run distributed on separate machines, which can be added at any point in time – scalability of the machines
  • Each of the builds can be split into multiple jobs which can run in parallel on multiple machines to provide faster results
  • Continuous Delivery is achieved in multiple stages, environments and can be done in manual deployments.
  • Both the CI and CD features are included in both the open source GitLab Community Edition and also in the proprietary Enterprise Edition.

8. Go CD:

Go CD is a Continuous Integration tool that is developed by ThoughtWorks and the same is available for Windows, OSX, and Linux operating systems. Complex build workflows are made simpler with the concept of Pipelines. Since that the application is built from the scratch, it provides support to Pipelines pretty well and thereby also removes the build process blockages and bottlenecks via parallel execution of tasks.

Following are some of the advantages of using Go CD, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • The tool allows you to resolve the dependency resolutions hence allows you to run the repeatable jobs or builds and thereby reduces the amount of re-work that has to be done in turn.
  • Provides built-in test reporting which is very nice
  • It is super easy to install and maintain this tool in specific
  • Provides a lot of REST APIs which makes further automation as easy as a breeze
  • Provides a pretty clean UI which makes it very easy to visualize the place where you are in the Pipeline
  • It also provides a feature to extract a template from the existing pipelines and also helps to add new projects super quick.

9. Travis CI:

Travis CI is an open source Continuous Integration (CI) tool that services free of cost and is hosted on GitHub. Since that it is a hosted, it can easily be believed that it is platform independent. Build and test runs are automatically triggered for every code commit that happens to a GitHub repository. Configuring Travis CI is done by putting a file that is named *.travis.yml to the root directory of your GitHub repository. This file contains all the actionable data that will be verified and validated whenever an execution of a job or a build happens. 

Travis CI supports a variety of software languages, and the build configuration for each of those programming languages is also complete. The design of Travis CI was all focused on Developers to let them the code and at the same time runs tests and deployments. This automation setup enables quicker, simpler and agile delivery for software teams as well. Travis CI is free to use for the open-source projects and there are paid plans for commercial and also private projects.

Following are some of the advantages of using Travis CI, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • Travis CI outshines so well that set up almost anything would be possible locally via your terminal.
  • Documentation is pretty self-explanatory, even for the newbies can follow the configuration on this tool of DevOps space
  • Integration with GitHub is pretty well executed, where we can see how the build progresses and also makes us aware of any known issues (if any).
  • Allows a pretty awesome feature to be able to put a badge on your website whether the build is passing or not.
  • Provides built-in support to vendors like Heroku
  • Travis CI really shines on the support that they provide on the languages and as well as capabilities
  • Provides an awesome UI (a dashboard actually) which allows us to check the status of the previous 6-7 projects and their corresponding statuses at the same time.

10. TeamCity:

TeamCity is a Java-based open-source build management and Continuous Integration tool that is sophisticated by the features that are provided and is offered by JetBrains. This tool in specific supports programming languages like Java, .Net and Ruby. There are lot of inbuilt plugins and also available from third parties as well which comes at no cost with TeamCity for usage. Provides integration with several IDEs as like Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, and Visual Studio. 

There is also a provision to run multiple builds, tests on various platforms and environments at the same time. There is an availability of a free tool for open-source projects and comes with a fat licensing fee for bigger commercial projects. The tool comes bundled with a dashboard that provides a report on the current build progress, provides a drill down on the detail and history of any given project or configuration. It is a mature, feature-rich toolset for continuous integration that enables developers to build sophisticated automated builds on a timely fashion.

Following are some of the advantages of using TeamCity, let us now take a look at each and every one of them:

Advantages:

  • TeamCity comes with a neat and clean UI and also with good navigation on it.
  • TeamCity is one of the most powerful tools that can be used for Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment on to a Production environment.
  • It comes with a very simple setup process and also with the ability to configure more parameters
  • The existing functionality of the tool can be enhanced further with the available plugins for free
  • Creating configurations is something that can be done with utmost ease and add an extra service doesn’t take any longer either
  • Documentation for the tool is very much self-explanatory
  • Comes along with features as like Detection of tool versions, support to various test frameworks, code coverage and static code analysis and the like.

Conclusion:

In this article, we have tried to show a complete listing of all the possible DevOps tools that are available in the Continuous Integration and Continuous Development / Deployment space as on date. This article has already tried to provide a brief about each of the tool itself and why an individual or an organization should be choosing it for their own use. Hope the details provided are all that you were looking for and keep us updated on what can be changed, improved or corrected (if any).

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