Technological advancements arise from the need to design and develop high-quality, fast and accurate solutions. As new milestones are achieved, incorporating these advancements becomes a necessity. Equipping resources and processes with these new-age solutions streamlines and optimizes them.
Continuous Integration or CI is a superlative means to achieve process efficiency through process optimization.
The role of DevOps in CI is crucial. It helps to establish collaboration between teams through CI and CD or continuous delivery channels. The variety of CI/CD tools available further aids in this process. CI/CD tools are software apps used to integrate the code efficiently and develop software builds. Along with easily automating the app development process, these tools also enable developer teams to facilitate collaboration and teamwork by integrating with various other tools.
The selection of this tool is challenging especially for those who are first-time implementers. However, tool selection can be effectively done by gauging its effectiveness based on certain criteria like:
- Cloud support offered or on-site installation required
- Whether support offered for version control systems
- Container support offered
- Third-party integration coupled with plug-in support etc
Understanding the fundamentals of the top 12 DevOps tools available for CI makes it easy to make this choice.
Concourse is an open-source CI and delivery tool that automates applications to build tasks efficiently. Built-in the year 2014 using the Pivotal Platform, this tool is known for its versatility and security. It is comprehensive, container-based and easy to start when using an intuitive UI. Its resource selection helps to extend the platform further.
Easy to scale up and down, this CI tool forms a pipeline simply by configuring resources and procedures. Resource versions are automatically detected and new builds are simultaneously added to the queue. The scalability of Concourse covers both simple and complex channels.
The general approach of Concourse to automation makes it an awesome DevOps CI tool.
Along with being a good CI tool, Buddy is also a very popular platform to enable DevOps automation. Its automatic pipeline feature enhances the speed and accuracy of the developers who test, build and ship software components towards completion.
Designed to work primarily with codes belonging to the GitHub and Bitbucket repositories, Buddy’s intuitive UI makes it very easy to use. It also offers flexible support for:
- Services like Selenium, Firefox, Elastic etc
- Important databases like MySQL, MongoDB etc
The ability to monitor real-time data and maintain the monitoring history is another important feature that improves the effectiveness of Buddy as a CI tool.
Readily available, most popular and an open-source CI tool, Jenkins enables completion of software development, automation and testing at an incredibly fast pace. With the basic source code written in Java, this continuously evolving CI tool has proved its trustworthiness and reliability over the years.
The huge community support that Jenkins commands makes it perfect for businesses requiring on-site support. That it can also be deployed across a network of devices and OS improves build and test performances further. Jenkins is most effective when used to create projects, execute tests, detect bugs, analyze codes and deploy the software successfully.
A JetBrains offering, this CI and build management tool is popular because of its compatibility with:
- Diversified workflows
- Different development practices
- Varied software infrastructure sizes
Needing a Java environment for execution, Jenkins can also be integrated with several cloud-based technologies. Even modern-day software platforms equipped with pre-built installers are supported. Developers can also avoid code duplication and reuse the settings.
The stability and functionality that TeamCity provides to its CI servers is perhaps its best feature. The multiple approaches that it can take to facilitate the customization and extension of the server is a primary reason for this popularity. Support flexibility is offered for the following:
- User management even for those with different role assignments
- User differentiation and sorting into groups
- User authentication
Complete transparency is maintained by keeping detailed user-action records.
This CI and CD tool is written in Java and developed by Atlassian. It offers automated support functionalities pertaining to software building, testing and its deployment. Support is also available for other:
- Testing tools like Junit, Selenium etc
- Technologies like Amazon, Git, AWS etc
Using Bamboo enables software developers to focus on the technical aspects of the project. Instances of build failure are analyzed and failure reports generated. Batches of tests are simultaneously executed to provide immediate feedback. The creation of a continuous delivery pipeline is facilitated and Docker-based agents get container support. It can even create images and incorporate them into the registry.
6. GitLab CI
Its utility as a CI tool gets enhanced due to the presence of multiple small tools used to execute various functions. The unified web-based repository used helps GitLab to offer both CI and CD making it an extremely competent tool for those seeking a superlative DevOps experience.
The languages used to write the code for this CI tool is Ruby and Go. Some of the other features that it offers its users are:
- A modern-day user experience complete with container support
- Branching tools present enable developers to view, create and manage project data and code
- Offers both static and dynamic security testing tools for applications
- Can be used on-site or cloud-hosted
- Presence of repository management functions like code reviewing, bug tracking and access control
- Projects can be linked using the GitLab API
A popular CI tool, it offers build and test automation along with a complete software deployment procedure. It integrates easily with different tools like GitHub, Bitbucket etc. Developers prefer working with CircleCI because it:
- Possesses several salient features that enhance:
- Build process
- Has an optimised performance with easy debugging facilities
- Enables faster builds
- Triggers CI event notifications
- Offers relevant analytics to measure build performance
- Enables automatic parallelisation, unlimited builds etc
Automated compilation, application deployment, parallel execution and distribution of programs using Python and C etc., are some salient features of BuildBot. An open-sourced tool for continuous integration, BuildBot is known for finding build problems quickly and solving them immediately.
Written in Python, this tool supports different operating systems like Linux, BSD, OSX and Windows for deployment. Integration of software configuration management with BitKeeper, Mercurial, CVS, SVN, Git and Monotone, is also possible.
9. Travis CI
By seamlessly integrating with GitHub projects, it facilitates easy testing. Travis CI is free and open-sourced. However, the available enterprise version is chargeable. This leading CI tool is cloud-hosted and platform-independent. Thus the need for a server is eliminated.
Its ability to take a backup of the last build that undergoes successful testing enhances its usefulness. Travis CI is scalable and extensively supports:
- Multiple build configurations
- A variety of programming languages like PHP, Java, Node, Perl etc
- Signing up, adding and testing software projects easily
- Tools like API and CMD
- Creation of applications using virtual machines
Actionable data for this CI tool is available within the Travis.Yml files that are used for its configuration.
This open-source CI tool is aptly supported by ThoughtWorks. It specializes in the visualization and modelling of complex workflows. CI and CD pipelines are created using the intuitive UI GoCD offers. By supporting modern-day infrastructure, GoCD deploys known versions of user apps and endorses trusted artifacts. Additionally, GoCD is compatible only with Windows, Linux and OSZ OS systems.
Pipeline configurations are also reused and all processes starting from software building to its testing and deployment are automated. This wonderful DevOps tool for continuous integration is backed by very strong community support.
It is simple, effective and fast. Developers with access to the GitHub project can access CodeShip directly. The biggest advantage of this tool is its ability to combine integration and delivery by deploying the code only after automation of testing is completed. Workflow automation can also be activated by pushing the repository.
It is known to improve test and release processes, offer a cloud-based infrastructure and easily integrate with other services and tools. Smart notification management, availability of dashboards for overall review, easy third-party integration etc., further enhance its functionality.
This Windows service app was specifically created to enable CI for DevOps. The ability to check a variety of source control repositories makes it a powerful tool. Some of the source control repositories it is compatible with are Visual SourceSafe, PVCS, SubVersion and CVS.
It rebuilds projects automatically after changes are made to the same, documents the changes and the build result and emails it.
DevOps-as-a-service acts as a bridge between operations and deployment. It achieves this by leveraging continuous integration using the above-mentioned tools. These are proven tools that have been successfully implemented across businesses of all sizes and segments. However, the final choice of the CI tool should be based on the requirements of the teams that will be ultimately using it.