Nowadays, speed and quality have become the new norm of the software industry, propelling the need for the adoption of new development methodologies and cultures like DevOps and agile. DevOps, with its agile, continuous, and automated delivery cycle, enables enterprises to rapidly meet the changing demands and accelerate the delivery of reliable and quality software.
Moreover, DevOps’ CI/CD concepts embody a set of operating principles and practices that enable teams to deliver code changes more frequently and reliably. However, teams need proper Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery tools for effective DevOps and CI/CD workflow implementation. These tools allow developers to focus on meeting business requirements, code quality, and security as they automate the entire development and deployment pipeline.
Since the market is overflowing with CI/CD tools, deciding on the right set of tools is an ever-growing challenge for the teams involved. Therefore, here is a list of some of the most prominent and powerful CI/CD tools currently in use worldwide.
Before we move on to listing CI/CD tools, let us first understand:
What is Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)?
A DevOps and agile methodology best practice, Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery/Deployment (CI/CD), automates the development, deployment, and testing process, enabling enterprises to deliver quality applications and code to users.
Moreover, it introduced ongoing automation and continuous monitoring throughout the development lifecycle, from the development and integration stages to testing, feedback, delivery, and deployment.
To learn more about CI/CD, click here.
DevOps CI/CD Tools & Frameworks:
Some of the best-known tools for CI/CD are:
- Jenkins: An open-source, extensible automation server written in Java, Jenkins enables developers to set up a CI/CD environment for continuously build and test software projects. This is a well-documented and self-containing program that has a rich ecosystem of plugins and integrations and packages for Windows, macOS, etc. Other prominent features include:
- Simple and easy-to-use interface.
- Supports notification of build status.
- Easy installation and upgrade to various operating systems.
- Portable to all the major platforms.
- Supports version control tools like Subversion, Git, Mercurial, and Maven.
- Easy environment configuration in the user interface.
- Supports distributed builds with master-slave architecture
- Azure DevOps: A Software as a service (SaaS) platform from Microsoft. Azure DevOps provides an end-to-end DevOps toolchain for developing and deploying software. It simplifies the setup of an entire continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) pipeline to Azure. Moreover, this platform offers various services covering the full development life-cycle, like Azure Pipelines, Boards, Repos, Artifacts, and more. Some of its major benefits are:
- It is Platform and Cloud agnostic.
- Offer remarkable reliability and flexibility.
- Dashboard control for quick navigation to project, add and manage dashboards, and configure widgets.
- Improved source control.
- Automates design processes.
- Support manual and exploratory testing.
- GitLab: A free, commercial suite of tools for handling different aspects of the software development life cycle, GitLab enables teams to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy code with each commit or push. Moreover, it places the changes of every code in the production which results in everyday deployment of production. Its key benefits include:
- Easy to learn, use, and scalable.
- Offers economical, flexible, and secure solutions.
- Helps view, create, and manage codes and project data through branching tools.
- Offers a single source of truth and scalability for project and code collaboration.
- Automates and shortens the release and delivery of applications.
- Offers container scanning, static application security testing (SAST), dynamic application security testing (DAST), and dependency scanning.
- Travis CI: A hosted continuous integration service, Travis CI is used to build and test software projects hosted on GitHub and Bitbucket. It automatically detects new commitments made and pushed to a repository in GitHub. The tool also supports multiple construct configurations and languages like Node, PHP, Python, Java, etc.
- Supports Linux, macOS, and iOS.
- Runs Test and generates results quickly.
- Can integrate with Slack, HipChat, Email, etc.
- Identifies small and large code changes.
- Repository access to build pull requests.
- Encrypt secure environment variables or files.
- Free Cloud-based hosting.
- CircleCI: A continuous integration and delivery platform that enables teams to rapidly release code by automating the build, test, and deployment process. It offers a modern software development platform for teams to teams ramp quickly, scale easily, and build confidently every day. Moreover, it can be configured to run complex pipelines efficiently with sophisticated caching, docker layer caching, performance pricing, etc.
- Allows easy debugging.
- Runs build using containers or virtual machines.
- Integrates with Bitbucket, GitHub, and GitHub Enterprise.
- It is highly customizable.
- Fast setup and unlimited builds.
- Automated parallelization and quick tests.
- Automated merging and custom commands for package uploading.
- Maven: A popular open-source build tool developed by the Apache Group, Maven helps build, publish, and deploy several projects at once for better project management. Written in Java, the tool is used to build projects written in C#, Scala, Ruby, etc. It includes project information and configuration information, such as the construction directory, source directory, dependency, test source directory, plugins, and more. Its prominent features are:
- Dependency management including automatic updating.
- Consistent usage across all projects.
- Handles multiple projects simultaneously.
- Backward Compatibility.
- Model-based and parallel builds.
- Increases the performance of the project and the building process.
- Manages processes like building, documentation, releasing, and distribution.
- Atlassian Bamboo: A continuous integration server, Bamboo automates software application release management and creates a continuous delivery pipeline. It includes the development and functional testing, assigning models, marking updates, deploying and enabling new output models. Reasons that make Bamboo popular are:
- Deep developer tools integrations.
- Built-in deployment support.
- Powerful build agent management.
- Automated merging.
- Built-in Git branching and workflows.
- Enterprise support and resources.
- Supports up to 100 remote build agents.
- Creates images and pushes them into a registry.
- Gradle: An open-source build automation tool for multi-language software development, Gradle is highly flexible and can build almost any type of software. Built upon ANT, Maven, and ivy repositories, it supports groovy-based Domain Specific Language (DSL) over the XML. This general-purpose tool offers various benefits and features like:
- Provides very scalable and high-performance builds.
- Supports dependency management.
- It is an expressive, declarative, and maintainable build tool.
- Easy to use & integrate.
- It is a multi-language, multi-platform, multi-project and multi-channel build, and automation software.
- Builds readable, expressive, and declarative scripts.
- It’s highly scalable for complex multi-module projects.
- Easy to maintain even for multi-module complex projects.
- AWS CodeBuild: A fully managed continuous integration service, AWS CodeBuild compiles source code, runs tests and produces software packages that are ready to deploy. It scales continuously and processes multiple builds concurrently. Moreover, it eliminates the need for a developer to set up, patch, maintain, provision, manage and scale their build servers. Other benefits of AWS CodeBuild include:
- Fully managed build service.
- Continuous scaling.
- Provides pre-configured build environments for Java, Python, Node.js, Ruby, Go, etc.
- Allows integrations with tools such as CloudWatch.
- Runs build in specific-to-the-project, isolated environments.
- Professional user management via AWS Identity and Access Management:
- TeamCity: A general-purpose CI/CD solution, TeamCity is a build management and continuous integration server from JetBrain. This CI server is written in Java and allows developers to integrate, code, and configure with simple steps. IT offers a robust set of out-of-the-box features and the plugin ecosystem and helps automate sections of the testing process so that lesser manual testing is required.
- User-friendly with global support.
- Provides ways to highlight builds for follow-up purposes.
- Runs the parallel builds simultaneously on different platforms and environments.
- Automates sections of the testing process.
- Takes the source code from two different version control systems (VCS).
- Provides real-time reporting.
- Buddy: This is a web-based, self-hosted CI/CD software for Git developers. It allows teams to test and deploy sites and applications with code from GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitLab. This minimal friction automation platform makes DevOps easy for developers, designers, and QA teams and is the most effective way to build better apps faster. Moreover, it employs Docker containers with pre-installed languages and frameworks to build on. Characteristics that make this tool popular among developers are:
- Can be used to create, customize, and reuse builds and test environments.
- Offers first-class Git support and integrations.
- Enabled monitoring with real-time progress and logs, unlimited history.
- Easy to customize Docker-based images as a test environment.
- Smart change detection, state-of-the-art caching, parallelism, and all-around optimizations.
- Easy integration with GitHub, Python, Node.js, Docker, PHP, etc.
- Codeship: A Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, CodeShip helps teams to implement and optimize CI and CD in the Cloud. This hosted platform supports early and automatic software releases multiple times and allows developers to build better products faster by optimizing the testing and release processes. Prominent features of CodeShip includes:
- Easy to use.
- Provides fast and thorough developer support.
- Offers a turnkey environment and simple UI for faster builds and deployments.
- Seamless third-party integrations.
- Smart notification management.
- Offers project dashboards for a high-level overview of projects and their health.
- GoCD: A popular tool for Continuous Delivery (CD), GoCD is an open-source build and release tool from ThoughtWorks. It supports modern infrastructure and helps teams and organizations automate continuous software delivery. With this tool, developers can easily model and visualize complex workflows and develop valuable software in a short cycle. Its common benefits and features are:
- Easy setup for deployment pipeline.
- End-to-end visualization.
- It is highly customizable and offers advanced traceability.
- Supports both Linux and Windows agents.
- Eliminates bottlenecks and provides trivial parallel execution across pipelines, platforms, versions, branches, etc.
- Easily configures dependencies for fast feedback and on-demand deployment.
- Supports the most common CD scenarios without any plugin installation.
- Also offers sophisticated features for continuous integration.
- Wercker: A Docker-based, Software as a Service (SaaS) CI/CD platform by Oracle, Wercker helps developers build, test, and deploy containerized applications and microservices. It uses Git integration to facilitate continuous integration of apps and utilizes key security features, including source code protection to ensure complete application security. Key features of Wercker are:
- Protects environment variables.
- Git integrations, including GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, and version control.
- Offers its Chatbot, Walterbot, for interactions with notifications to update the build status.
- Locally replicates the SaaS environment with Wercker CLI.
- Support Docker integration to build minimal containers.
- Buildbot: A Python-based CI/CD framework, Buildbot is the fastest hosted CI/CD service that enables teams to test and deploy software projects hosted on GitHub and BitBucket. This tool automates the compile and test cycles to validate code changes and then automatically rebuilds and tests the tree after every change.
- Automate build systems, application deployment, and management of sophisticated software-release processes.
- Supports distributed, parallel execution across multiple platforms.
- Offers flexible integration with version-control systems and extensive status reporting.
- Runs build on a variety of slave platforms.
- Arbitrary build process and handles projects using C and Python.
This list of CI/CD tools and frameworks is non-exhaustive as the constantly changing business requirements and the technological advancement will result in the development of various other and more beneficial tools.
Today, technology-driven organizations are rapidly embracing Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery tools and frameworks to improve their software development life cycle, as these tools help them detect issues in software builds faster and facilitate quicker resolutions. However, with the ever-evolving market and CI/CD trends, there is immense space for the improvement and growth of these tools, which will further transform the software development landscape and revolutionize how software and applications are developed.