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Streamline CI/CD with the Jenkins Blue Ocean tool

Organizations that run Jenkins may find that plugins complicate their CI/CD pipeline. Here's how the continuous delivery tool Blue Ocean can help keep things on track.

Jenkins often plays a fundamental role within organizations that want to sharpen their continuous integration and delivery processes. Unfortunately, this popular open source automation server sometimes fails to support those delivery requirements and automate the entire application lifecycle.

Blue Ocean, a continuous delivery tool designed for Jenkins, makes up for those limitations by letting users create, visualize and monitor Jenkins-based CI/CD pipelines through a graphical interface. This can help alleviate the labor-intensive process of manually building pipelines in Jenkins.

Here's why developers face CI/CD hassles in Jenkins and how the Jenkins Blue Ocean tool can help.

The Jenkins plugin problem

To use Jenkins effectively, it's important to use plugins. But once you introduce those plugins, it can create complications. For example, the Build Pipeline plugin provides a visual of your delivery pipeline, but it requires admins to dive deep into text-heavy job folders filled with console output in order to identify the status of specific jobs and recalibrate them as necessary. Moreover, admins must comb through large amounts of code to confirm that every job stays current with projectwide changes.

This problem only worsens if there are preexisting versions of those plugins in place. The Jenkins Job DSL plugin configures standard pipeline attributes, but admins must still ensure the job synchronizes with their particular version of Jenkins. And it's tough to version Jenkins when you introduce plugin upgrades that require significant, underlying XML changes and potentially interfere with any needed rollbacks.

Enter Blue Ocean

The Jenkins Blue Ocean tool can help solve the plugin dilemma. Its UI exposes pipeline problems, automatically generates user views and provides logs that users can easily navigate. It also serves as a common, graphic-based platform where developers, operations and business professionals can collaborate on application design.

The pipeline editor's graphical user interface enables users across the organization to create software pipelines and view delivery stages without the need for intensive coding or text editing. Jenkins regularly updates to provide CI/CD pipelines that use a web UI or the text-based Jenkinsfile, but Blue Ocean helps you stay one step ahead.

Blue Ocean also does more than just support the overall build process. For instance, it lets users customize CD pipeline visualizations based on specific criteria, and can pinpoint precise pipeline issues that might require exception handling. It also lets you create role-based pipeline views that reflect the skill level of each team member.

It's all about continuous delivery

As businesses increasingly rely on cross-functional Agile teams, they need access to more versatile, easy-to-use tools that can speed up the CI/CD process. These tools do not, by any means, replace experienced software engineers and developers. However, the intuitive features that the Jenkins Blue Ocean tool provides can help everyone who touches an application maintain an efficient continuous delivery process that spans from code to production. That's extremely valuable for those organizations that want to sharpen up their delivery pipelines.

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