Jenkins vs Travis CI: What are the differences?
What is Jenkins? An extendable open source continuous integration server. 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.
What is Travis CI? A hosted continuous integration service for open source and private projects. Free for open source projects, our CI environment provides multiple runtimes (e.g. Node.js or PHP versions), data stores and so on. Because of this, hosting your project on travis-ci.com means you can effortlessly test your library or applications against multiple runtimes and data stores without even having all of them installed locally.
Jenkins and Travis CI can be categorized as "Continuous Integration" tools.
Some of the features offered by Jenkins are:
- Easy installation
- Easy configuration
- Change set support
On the other hand, Travis CI provides the following key features:
- Easy Setup- Getting started with Travis CI is as easy as enabling a project, adding basic build instructions to your project and committing code.
- Supports Your Platform- Lots of databases and services are pre-installed and can simply be enabled in your build configuration, we'll launch them for you automatically. MySQL, PostgreSQL, ElasticSearch, Redis, Riak, RabbitMQ, Memcached are available by default.
- Deploy With Confidence- Deploying to production after a successful build is as easy as setting up a bit of configuration, and we'll deploy your code to Heroku, Engine Yard Cloud, Nodejitsu, cloudControl, OpenShift, and CloudFoundry.
"Hosted internally", "Free open source" and "Great to build, deploy or launch anything async" are the key factors why developers consider Jenkins; whereas "Github integration", "Free for open source" and "Easy to get started" are the primary reasons why Travis CI is favored.
Jenkins is an open source tool with 13.3K GitHub stars and 5.48K GitHub forks. Here's a link to Jenkins's open source repository on GitHub.
Facebook, Netflix, and Instacart are some of the popular companies that use Jenkins, whereas Travis CI is used by Lyft, Heroku, and Rainist. Jenkins has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1774 company stacks & 1526 developers stacks; compared to Travis CI, which is listed in 670 company stacks and 624 developer stacks.
What is Jenkins?
What is Travis CI?
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We are using React Native in #SmartHome to share the business logic between Android and iOS team and approach users with a unique brand experience. The drawback is that we require lots of native Android SDK and Objective-C modules, so a good part of the invested time is there. The gain for a app that relies less on native communication, sensors and OS tools should be even higher.
We use a microservices structure on top of Zeit's @now that read from firebase. We use JWT auth to authenticate requests among services and from users, following GitHub philosophy of using the same infrastructure than its API consumers. Firebase is used mainly as a key-value store between services and as a backup database for users. We also use its authentication mechanisms.
You can be super locked-in if you also rely on it's analytics, but we use Amplitude for that, which offers us great insights. Intercom for communications with end-user and Mailjet for marketing.
Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).
It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear
vagrant up or
vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.
I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as
vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.
We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.
If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.
The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).
Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.
We use GitLab CI because of the great native integration as a part of the GitLab framework and the linting-capabilities it offers. The visualization of complex pipelines and the embedding within the project overview made Gitlab CI even more convenient. We use it for all projects, all deployments and as a part of GitLab Pages.
While we initially used the Shell-executor, we quickly switched to the Docker-executor and use it exclusively now.
We formerly used Jenkins but preferred to handle everything within GitLab . Aside from the unification of our infrastructure another motivation was the "configuration-in-file"-approach, that Gitlab CI offered, while Jenkins support of this concept was very limited and users had to resort to using the webinterface. Since the file is included within the repository, it is also version controlled, which was a huge plus for us.
I initially chose CircleCI for a personal project because I was not satisified with using Travis CI in the past. When it came time to develop my CI/CD config on Circle, I was pleasantly surprised with the fantastic documentation, invaluable collection of example configs and helpful support provided. The free tier they provide is quite robust for most small projects and the platform is updated frequently with nice features.
Areas where CircleCI could improve:
- the UI is a bit slow (you can feel the local machine straining to load all the code) and it is not as intuitive as it could be
- many UI elements receive updates and/or changes that are not always reflected in the current docs