Introduction

In this writeup, we shall explore some of the best Continuous Integration Tools as of 2021, but not before a brief introduction into the world of continuous integration tools. We shall look at what are continuous integration tools, what is the purpose of a continuous integration tool, and some of the best open-source continuous integration tools on offer in 2021.

So, what are continuous integration tools?

According to Gartner Continuous Integration tools are systems that automate the processes of software build and validation in a continuous cycle by triggering a sequence of operations whenever a change is checked into the repository. Tight integration with agile development methodologies and DevOps tools makes this possible. 

  1. Purpose of continuous integration tools
  2. List of continuous integration tools

1. Purpose of continuous integration tools

Continuous Integration is one of the strategies that help faster deployment. It involves integrating changes made to the code into the source branch as quickly and smoothly as possible. With every change in the code base, validation steps are triggered to ensure there are no errors introduced into the codebase. Continuous integration also means continuous feedback from the build, test, and release phases. In continuous integration, developers are made aware of any vulnerabilities or flaws and corrective action needs to be initiated by developers. All testing in a continuous integration system is automated, with test results made available immediately.

There are many factors that play a role in selecting the right tool for implementing continuous integration. You will have to consider factors like price, security, ease of integration among other needs to be considered while making your choice. Let’s make it a wee bit easier for you with a continuous integration tools list.

2. List of continuous integration tools

  • Jenkins

You are bound to see a lot of Jenkins around if you are part of the software development industry. It is one of the most popular open-source tools available in the market for continuous integration-based development. Jenkins is based on a client-server model, allowing developers to build, test, merge and deploy faster than ever before. With close to 1700 plugins, Jenkins has a wide range in adaptability and feature set.  Jenkins provides native packages, installers for Windows and Linux versions, and Docker images. 

Jenkins is an easy to install, open-source continuous integration tool, self-contained and Java-based that makes it platform-independent. As far as integration with existing systems and other tools goes, Jenkins has a wide array of plugins to work with. Jenkins also offers a cloud-native version. Jenkins supports code written in multiple languages like C, Java, PHP, Fortran, and Python.

  • TeamCity

 TeamCity is a JetBrains offering available since 2006, with the latest stable release in Nov of 2020. TeamCity can handle both continuous integration and build management. It supports .Net, Ruby, and Java platforms while allowing easy integration with Docker, Maven, Jira, Visual Studio, VCS Hosting services, NuGet, Google Cloud and Azure. Remote Run is a feature provided within the IDE plugins for JetBrains IntelliJ products, Visual Studio and Eclipse-based development environments. Another important feature offered through plugins is the Pre-Tested Commit. Using its test management features, you could assign test cases to several testers.

A heuristics-based investigation assignment automatically assigns investigations to members of a team. TeamCity also allows notifications via emails, IM and Slack. TeamCity is proprietary software but is available at no cost for professionals who keep their build configurations under 100 and connect only up to 3 build agents. The paid version supports unlimited build configurations and hundreds of build agents, aimed at enterprises.

  • Buddy

Buddy boasts of one of the fastest deployment times and about 87% faster adoption time by development teams. It lets you create even the most complicated CI workflows in minutes. Buddy also is one tool that embraces new technologies like Docker, Kubernetes, Blockchain, and Serverless with ease. Buddy is targeted at web-based applications and is totally web-based. If you are a Git fanatic, you will love this tool, with its support for Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitLab. Deployments are automatic on a push to a branch. While Buddy was released as a cloud-only service, it now has an on-premises version, Buddy GO.

  • Bamboo CI

Bamboo Continuous Integration tool released first in 2006 with a latest stable release in July 2020, is another build, test, and deploy continuous integration tool that boasts of integrating well with Jira, Bitbucket, and Fisheye. Bamboo offers built-in Git branching workflows, deployment projects, built-in test automation (not plugins) among other features which are either found missing in the basic version of every other tool or is achieved through plugins.

  • GitLab CI

GitLab CI helps is an open-source tool that allows continuous integration from code to deployment without the need for any third-party integration. To get started all that is need is a codebase in the Git repository. So, if you are already on Git, your CI system is already available to you to set up and get going. GitLab CI can help schedule pipelines, deploy applications to various platforms, with in-built security tests checks for vulnerabilities, and with its Auto DevOps feature sets up the application’s entire life cycle.

Conclusion

Continuous integration is a part of software development and every developer needs to be aware of such tools and the working principle behind it. At Jigsaw Academy we offer courses that not only cover the tools but also take you through the concepts behind the use of tools. For the latest on continuous integration, you can log onto Jigsaw Academy.

If you are interested in making a career in the Data Science domain, our 11-month in-person Postgraduate Certificate Diploma in Data Science course can help you immensely in becoming a successful Data Science professional. 

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