Apache Ant vs Jenkins

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Apache Ant vs Jenkins: What are the differences?

Introduction

Apache Ant and Jenkins are both popular tools used in software development for automation purposes. While both tools serve similar purposes, there are key differences between them that make each tool unique in its own way.

  1. Integration and Extensibility: One of the key differences between Apache Ant and Jenkins is their level of integration and extensibility. Apache Ant is a build automation tool primarily used for compiling, testing, and deploying software. It is a standalone tool that requires manual configuration and scripting for any integration with other tools or workflows. On the other hand, Jenkins is a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) tool that provides a highly extensible platform. Jenkins allows seamless integration with various software development tools and workflows through its extensive plugin ecosystem, making it easier to automate complex build and deployment processes.

  2. User Interface and Visualization: Another difference between Apache Ant and Jenkins lies in their user interfaces and visualization capabilities. Apache Ant provides a command-line interface (CLI) that requires developers to write XML-based build scripts manually. The output and progress of the build process are displayed in the CLI, which may not provide detailed visual representations. Jenkins, on the other hand, offers a web-based user interface (UI) that provides an intuitive and graphical way to configure and monitor build jobs. It offers real-time visualization of build status, test results, and other critical information through its customizable dashboards and detailed build logs, enhancing the visibility and understanding of the entire CI/CD process.

  3. Build Triggers and Scheduling: Apache Ant and Jenkins also differ in their capabilities for triggering and scheduling builds. Apache Ant relies on manual execution or external triggers to initiate build processes. Developers need to explicitly run the build scripts or configure external tools for triggering the build process. Jenkins, on the other hand, provides a wide range of build triggers and scheduling options out-of-the-box. It supports various triggers such as polling of version control systems, time-based scheduling, remote API calls, and even event-driven triggers. Jenkins allows developers to define flexible build schedules and automate the entire build process without constant manual intervention.

  4. Distributed Build and Scalability: When it comes to distributed build and scalability, Jenkins surpasses Apache Ant. While Apache Ant is typically limited to running build processes on a single machine, Jenkins provides a distributed architecture that allows the distribution of build processes across multiple machines or nodes. This distributed build capability improves scalability and allows parallel execution of multiple build jobs, leading to faster build times, especially in large-scale software development environments.

  5. Reporting and Notifications: Reporting and notification capabilities also differ between Apache Ant and Jenkins. Apache Ant does not offer built-in reporting or notification features. If developers require customized reports or notifications, they need to manually integrate external tools or scripts into their build process. Jenkins, on the other hand, provides comprehensive reporting and notification features as part of its core functionality. It offers built-in support for generating detailed build reports, test reports, and code coverage reports. Additionally, Jenkins allows developers to configure various notification channels like email, instant messaging, and third-party integrations to notify stakeholders about build failures, test results, or other critical events.

  6. Job Configuration and Flexibility: Apache Ant and Jenkins vary in terms of job configuration and flexibility. Apache Ant uses XML-based build scripts, which can sometimes be complex and cumbersome to maintain, especially for large-scale projects with multiple dependencies. Jenkins, on the other hand, offers an easy-to-use web-based interface for configuring build jobs. It provides a wide range of options and parameters for job configurations, such as source code repositories, build steps, build environments, and post-build actions. This flexibility makes it easier to manage and customize build workflows, allowing developers to quickly adapt to project requirements.

In summary, Apache Ant is primarily a build automation tool with manual configuration and limited integration, while Jenkins is a powerful CI/CD tool with extensive integration capabilities, visualization, scheduling, distributed builds, reporting, and job management flexibility.

Advice on Apache Ant and Jenkins
Needs advice
on
Azure PipelinesAzure Pipelines
and
JenkinsJenkins

We are currently using Azure Pipelines for continous integration. Our applications are developed witn .NET framework. But when we look at the online Jenkins is the most widely used tool for continous integration. Can you please give me the advice which one is best to use for my case Azure pipeline or jenkins.

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Replies (1)
Recommends
on
GitHubGitHub

If your source code is on GitHub, also take a look at Github actions. https://github.com/features/actions

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Mohammad Hossein Amri
Chief Technology Officer at Planally · | 3 upvotes · 501K views
Needs advice
on
GoCDGoCD
and
JenkinsJenkins

I'm open to anything. just want something that break less and doesn't need me to pay for it, and can be hosted on Docker. our scripting language is powershell core. so it's better to support it. also we are building dotnet core in our pipeline, so if they have anything related that helps with the CI would be nice.

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Replies (1)
Ankit Malik
Software Developer at CloudCover · | 1 upvotes · 483.7K views
Recommends
on
Google Cloud BuildGoogle Cloud Build

Google cloud build can help you. It is hosted on cloud and also provide reasonable free quota.

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Needs advice
on
ConcourseConcourse
and
JenkinsJenkins

I'm planning to setup complete CD-CD setup for spark and python application which we are going to deploy in aws lambda and EMR Cluster. Which tool would be best one to choose. Since my company is trying to adopt to concourse i would like to understand what are the lack of capabilities concourse have . Thanks in advance !

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Replies (1)
Maxi Krone
Cloud Engineer at fme AG · | 2 upvotes · 402.6K views
Recommends
on
ConcourseConcourse

I would definetly recommend Concourse to you, as it is one of the most advanced modern methods of making CI/CD while Jenkins is an old monolithic dinosaur. Concourse itself is cloudnative and containerbased which helps you to build simple, high-performance and scalable CI/CD pipelines. In my opinion, the only lack of skills you have with Concourse is your own knowledge of how to build pipelines and automate things. Technincally there is no lack, i would even say you can extend it way more easily. But as a Con it is more easy to interact with Jenkins if you are only used to UIs. Concourse needs someone which is capable of using CLIs.

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Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkinsTravis CITravis CI
and
CircleCICircleCI

From a StackShare Community member: "Currently we use Travis CI and have optimized it as much as we can so our builds are fairly quick. Our boss is all about redundancy so we are looking for another solution to fall back on in case Travis goes down and/or jacks prices way up (they were recently acquired). Could someone recommend which CI we should go with and if they have time, an explanation of how they're different?"

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Replies (6)
Dustin Falgout
Senior Developer at Elegant Themes · | 13 upvotes · 554.7K views

We use CircleCI because of the better value it provides in its plans. I'm sure we could have used Travis just as easily but we found CircleCI's pricing to be more reasonable. In the two years since we signed up, the service has improved. CircleCI is always innovating and iterating on their platform. We have been very satisfied.

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Peter Thomas
Distinguished Engineer at Intuit · | 9 upvotes · 865.4K views
Recommends
on
Travis CITravis CI
at

As the maintainer of the Karate DSL open-source project - I found Travis CI very easy to integrate into the GitHub workflow and it has been steady sailing for more than 2 years now ! It works well for Java / Apache Maven projects and we were able to configure it to use the latest Oracle JDK as per our needs. Thanks to the Travis CI team for this service to the open-source community !

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Recommends
on
Google Cloud BuildGoogle Cloud Build

I use Google Cloud Build because it's my first foray into the CICD world(loving it so far), and I wanted to work with something GCP native to avoid giving permissions to other SaaS tools like CircleCI and Travis CI.

I really like it because it's free for the first 120 minutes, and it's one of the few CICD tools that enterprises are open to using since it's contained within GCP.

One of the unique things is that it has the Kaniko cache, which speeds up builds by creating intermediate layers within the docker image vs. pushing the full thing from the start. Helpful when you're installing just a few additional dependencies.

Feel free to checkout an example: Cloudbuild Example

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Recommends
on
Travis CITravis CI

I use Travis CI because of various reasons - 1. Cloud based system so no dedicated server required, and you do not need to administrate it. 2. Easy YAML configuration. 3. Supports Major Programming Languages. 4. Support of build matrix 6. Supports AWS, Azure, Docker, Heroku, Google Cloud, Github Pages, PyPi and lot more. 7. Slack Notifications.

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Oded Arbel
Recommends
on
GitLab CIGitLab CI

You are probably looking at another hosted solution: Jenkins is a good tool but it way too work intensive to be used as just a backup solution.

I have good experience with Circle-CI, Codeship, Drone.io and Travis (as well as problematic experiences with all of them), but my go-to tool is Gitlab CI: simple, powerful and if you have problems with their limitations or pricing, you can always install runners somewhere and use Gitlab just for scheduling and management. Even if you don't host your git repository at Gitlab, you can have Gitlab pull changes automatically from wherever you repo lives.

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Recommends
on
BuildkiteBuildkite

If you are considering Jenkins I would recommend at least checking out Buildkite. The agents are self-hosted (like Jenkins) but the interface is hosted for you. It meshes up some of the things I like about hosted services (pipeline definitions in YAML, managed interface and authentication) with things I like about Jenkins (local customizable agent images, secrets only on own instances, custom agent level scripts, sizing instances to your needs).

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Decisions about Apache Ant and Jenkins
Stephen Badger | Vital Beats
Senior DevOps Engineer at Vital Beats · | 2 upvotes · 220.3K views

Within our deployment pipeline, we have a need to deploy to multiple customer environments, and manage secrets specifically in a way that integrates well with AWS, Kubernetes Secrets, Terraform and our pipelines ourselves.

Jenkins offered us the ability to choose one of a number of credentials/secrets management approaches, and models secrets as a more dynamic concept that GitHub Actions provided.

Additionally, we are operating Jenkins within our development Kubernetes cluster as a kind of system-wide orchestrator, allowing us to use Kubernetes pods as build agents, avoiding the ongoing direct costs associated with GitHub Actions minutes / per-user pricing. Obviously as a consequence we take on the indirect costs of maintain Jenkins itself, patching it, upgrading etc. However our experience with managing Jenkins via Kubernetes and declarative Jenkins configuration has led us to believe that this cost is small, particularly as the majority of actual building and testing is handled inside docker containers and Kubernetes, alleviating the need for less supported plugins that may make Jenkins administration more difficult.

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Jenkins is a pretty flexible, complete tool. Especially I love the possibility to configure jobs as a code with Jenkins pipelines.

CircleCI is well suited for small projects where the main task is to run continuous integration as quickly as possible. Travis CI is recommended primarily for open-source projects that need to be tested in different environments.

And for something a bit larger I prefer to use Jenkins because it is possible to make serious system configuration thereby different plugins. In Jenkins, I can change almost anything. But if you want to start the CI chain as soon as possible, Jenkins may not be the right choice.

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Pros of Apache Ant
Pros of Jenkins
  • 4
    Flexible
  • 1
    Simple
  • 1
    Easy to learn
  • 1
    Easy to write own java-build-hooks
  • 523
    Hosted internally
  • 469
    Free open source
  • 318
    Great to build, deploy or launch anything async
  • 243
    Tons of integrations
  • 211
    Rich set of plugins with good documentation
  • 111
    Has support for build pipelines
  • 68
    Easy setup
  • 66
    It is open-source
  • 53
    Workflow plugin
  • 13
    Configuration as code
  • 12
    Very powerful tool
  • 11
    Many Plugins
  • 10
    Continuous Integration
  • 10
    Great flexibility
  • 9
    Git and Maven integration is better
  • 8
    100% free and open source
  • 7
    Slack Integration (plugin)
  • 7
    Github integration
  • 6
    Self-hosted GitLab Integration (plugin)
  • 6
    Easy customisation
  • 5
    Pipeline API
  • 5
    Docker support
  • 4
    Fast builds
  • 4
    Hosted Externally
  • 4
    Excellent docker integration
  • 4
    Platform idnependency
  • 3
    AWS Integration
  • 3
    JOBDSL
  • 3
    It's Everywhere
  • 3
    Customizable
  • 3
    Can be run as a Docker container
  • 3
    It`w worked
  • 2
    Loose Coupling
  • 2
    NodeJS Support
  • 2
    Build PR Branch Only
  • 2
    Easily extendable with seamless integration
  • 2
    PHP Support
  • 2
    Ruby/Rails Support
  • 2
    Universal controller

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Cons of Apache Ant
Cons of Jenkins
  • 1
    Slow
  • 1
    Old and not widely used anymore
  • 13
    Workarounds needed for basic requirements
  • 10
    Groovy with cumbersome syntax
  • 8
    Plugins compatibility issues
  • 7
    Lack of support
  • 7
    Limited abilities with declarative pipelines
  • 5
    No YAML syntax
  • 4
    Too tied to plugins versions

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What is Apache Ant?

Ant is a Java-based build tool. In theory, it is kind of like Make, without Make's wrinkles and with the full portability of pure Java code.

What is Jenkins?

In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.

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What companies use Apache Ant?
What companies use Jenkins?
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What are some alternatives to Apache Ant and Jenkins?
Eclipse
Standard Eclipse package suited for Java and plug-in development plus adding new plugins; already includes Git, Marketplace Client, source code and developer documentation. Click here to file a bug against Eclipse Platform.
Gradle
Gradle is a build tool with a focus on build automation and support for multi-language development. If you are building, testing, publishing, and deploying software on any platform, Gradle offers a flexible model that can support the entire development lifecycle from compiling and packaging code to publishing web sites.
Apache Maven
Maven allows a project to build using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins that are shared by all projects using Maven, providing a uniform build system. Once you familiarize yourself with how one Maven project builds you automatically know how all Maven projects build saving you immense amounts of time when trying to navigate many projects.
Apache Tomcat
Apache Tomcat powers numerous large-scale, mission-critical web applications across a diverse range of industries and organizations.
Make
The GNU Compiler Collection and GNU Toolchain (Binutils, GDB, GLIBC)
See all alternatives