Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery, often known as CI/CD, have become an essential aspect of software development and the DevOps lifecycle. Open source CI/CD tools are developed to assist users in automating the procedures between a developer checking in code and releasing that code into production.
With CI/CD approach, developers are able to discover defects or bottlenecks in their early stages to avoid integration and deployment issues caused by frequent source code commits. Such CI/CD tasks can be seamlessly implemented using suitable CI/CD tools or frameworks.
There is a wide range of CI/CD tools on the market with attractive features and functionalities, allowing developers to implement CI/CD workflows by writing simple code or using interactive UI. In this article, you will learn about CI/CD workflow, the benefits of CI/CD, and the best open source CI CD tools.
Table of Contents
Fundamental knowledge of application development lifecycle.
What is Understanding CI/CD Workflow?
The CI/CD workflow can be viewed as a series of stages in the software development and release process. The pipeline depicts a workflow that involves several steps from development to production, such as code compilation, unit testing, packaging, and deployment. The CI/CD pipeline is separated into four major stages, such as source, build, test, and deploy, which must be completed before delivering a new software version.
With CI/CD approach, developers can easily detect and rectify bugs, which results in faster and higher-quality releases. Furthermore, CI/CD limits human intervention and ensures frequent releases, allowing developers to focus on building code for new features rather than manually addressing errors all day.
Benefits of CI/CD Workflows
CI/CD Workflows can provide you with the following benefits:
- Fault Isolations: Fault isolation refers to the process of designing systems so that when an error occurs, the negative consequences are limited in scope. Limiting errors to a minimum decreases the risk of system damage and simplifies system maintenance. When you use CI/CD to build your system, you make it easier to discover fault isolations. CI/CD approach also prevents abrupt breakdowns and other major issues by isolating the problem before it causes damage to the entire system.
- Faster Release Rate: With CI/CD approach, failures are discovered and corrected faster, resulting in higher release rates. Such frequent releases are only achievable if the code is written in a constantly running system without any bottlenecks, which the CI/CD approach accomplishes effectively. Continuous integration/continuous delivery continuously merges codes and releases them to production after extensive testing, keeping the code in a release-ready state.
- Easy Maintenance and Updates: Maintenance and upgrades are critical components in creating a great product. With CI/CD approach, developers can make sure that the product is updated and maintained at frequent intervals. However, it is vital to highlight that in a CI/CD process, maintenance should be performed during downtime periods, commonly known as the non-critical hour.
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Best Open Source CI/CD tools
You can select the best CI/CD tool for your business from the following:
1. Open Source CI/CD Tools: Jenkins
Jenkins is an open-source and Java-based tool that mainly allows users to implement continuous integration operations. It’s one of the best Continuous Integration solutions for real-time testing and reporting on isolated changes in a larger codebase. Jenkins is used to create and test your software projects, making it easier for developers to frequently integrate changes and for users to obtain a new build. It also assists developers in swiftly locating and resolving errors in their codebase, as well as automating build testing.
With Jenkins, companies can automate and speed up the software development process. In addition, Jenkins integrates various types of development lifecycle operations, such as build, document, package, test, stage, static analysis, deploy, and much more. Jenkins also offers end-to-end support for scaling out a large number of nodes and distributing the workload evenly among them.
Jenkins is highly compatible with operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. Since Jenkins is open-source and is available for free, you can download it from the official website.
2. Open Source CI/CD Tools: Gradle
Gradle is an open-source CI/CD tool that allows developers to implement build management and automation tasks. It supports Maven and Ivy repositories for fetching dependencies so that you may reuse artifacts of existing build systems. Gradle was mainly designed to integrate the finest features of popular tools such as Ant and Maven but with a Groovy-based Domain Specific Language (DSL) rather than writing XML codes for declaring project setup.
Gradle supports incremental builds, build caching, and parallel execution and is compatible with a wide range of languages and platforms, including Java, Scala, Android, and C/C++. Gradle can also be integrated with various IDEs, including Eclipse, IntelliJ, and Jenkins. Because of such flexible features and functionalities, Gradle is being used by most popular companies like Google, Netflix, and LinkedIn.
Gradle is highly compatible with operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS. Since it is an open-source tool, you can freely download Gradle from the official website. However, if you need enterprise support or training, you can use its enterprise version, which is a subscription-based product.
3. Open Source CI/CD Tools: GitLab
GitLab is an open-source CI/CD tool for managing several areas of the software development lifecycle. The core product is a web-based Git repository manager that includes features like issue tracking, analytics, and a Wiki. With each commit or push, GitLab allows developers to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy code. GitLab enables developers to create, develop, and manage code and project data from a single distributed version control system, allowing for quick iteration and delivery of business value.
Git and GitLab appear to be alike, which leads to common confusion. GIT is not a CI/CD tool, but rather only a version control system (VCS).
To use GitLab CI/CD, developers have to host the codebase in a Git repository and provide the scripts for building, testing, and deploying in a YAML file named “.gitlab-ci.yml” in the root directory. The scripts are organized into jobs, and the groupings are referred to as a pipeline, which is further recognized by the GitLab runner tool for executing the scripts.
GitLab is highly compatible with operating systems such as Windows, macOS, and Linux. Since GitLab is open-source and is available for free, you can download it from the official website. However, it also has paid versions such as “Premium” and “Ultimate” that provide additional features such as priority support and live upgrade assistance.
4. Open Source CI/CD Tools: CodeShip
Codeship is a cloud-based CI/CD platform that enables developers to achieve early and automatic software releases with high speed and accuracy. It also enables businesses to build dependable products more quickly by improving testing and release processes.
With CodeShip, developers have complete control over the design of CI/CD systems by implementing testing, building, and deployment tasks directly from GitHub projects. When a developer implements push tasks in the GitHub repository, it runs automated tests and configures deployment. Developers can also customize the environment and workflow to their specific needs using CodeShip. Furthermore, CodeShip supports a wide range of integration options, including security scanning tools, on-premise SCMs, deployment tools, and alerting tools.
CodeShip is compatible with operating systems like Windows, macOS, and Linux. It is available as an open-source and free project on GitHub. However, it also has a paid version with additional features and support.
5. Open Source CI/CD Tools: Buddy
Buddy is a CI/CD tool that streamlines automation and delivery through a simple and intuitive user interface. It builds, tests, and deploys applications using delivery pipelines composed of over 100 ready-to-use activities that may be assembled in any fashion. Buddy can also build, test, and deploy websites and applications with code from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab. With the fully interactive UI of Buddy, users can drag and drop activities to design delivery pipelines like a DevOps professional.
Being available as on-premise and public cloud variants, the features of Buddy includes Docker layer caching, concurrent pipelines & steps, parallel building & testing, repository & artifacts caching, and vCPU & RAM scaling. In addition, Buddy uses Docker containers, fully integrated languages and frameworks, and ready-to-use actions for fast deployment, allowing you to implement the best DevOps practices in the most straightforward way possible.
Buddy is available for free with 120 pipeline runs per month. However, Buddy also has paid versions based on the cloud and on-premise requirements. The Cloud plans begin at $75 per month, while on-premise plans begin at $175 per month for up to 5 users.
6. Open Source CI/CD Tools: GoCD
GoCD is an open-source continuous delivery tool that assists developers in developing and releasing software that supports current and advanced infrastructure. Its main differentiation from other CI/CD DevOps solutions is the Value Stream Map (VSM) functionality. VSM provides a comprehensive end-to-end view of pipelines and successfully maps it to the concepts of ‘Deployment Pipeline’ and ‘Continuous Delivery Pipeline.’
Unlike other CI/CD tools that only support YAML for pipeline description, GoCD allows you to construct ‘pipeline as code’ in both YAML and JSON formats. In addition, GoCD offers extensible plugin design that allows developers to integrate their software with a wide range of popular third-party tools and services.
GoCD is highly compatible with operating systems like Windows, Linux, and macOS. Since it is an open-source tool, you can download the free version from the official website of GoCD.
In this article, you learned about CI/CD workflow, the benefits of CI/CD, and the best open source CI/CD tools. This mainly focused on explaining only about 6 CI/CD tools. However, there are many other open-source CI/CD tools with attractive features and functionalities. You can explore and learn about other CI/CD tools to get hands-on with continuous integration and continuous delivery operations.
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Share your views on connecting Open Source CI/CD tools in the comments section!