One of Jenkins’ advantages doubles as a disadvantage: the project moves very quickly – it evolves with a release (almost) every single day. No doubt, the project stays up to date, but it means that there’s always something different facing a build engineer who is tasked with installing, repairing, and herding a collection of build machines.
These are the gotchas I ran into during my most recent voyage into Jenkinsland:
- Intuition-based, Best-guess Interface leads to Click and Build debugging – I know people are going to whine about this, but the interface to Jenkins leaves you guessing. Need your Git SCM configuration to checkout to a local branch? Well, click around on all those “Advanced” buttons, you’ll find it eventually. Not sure if that configuration really does what you want, well, go ahead, run the build to see if your changes took effect.
- Please don’t make me configure Maven, Ant, Java, and Git again – Why are you doing this to me? I want Jenkins to ship with sensible defaults. You know what Jenkins should do? Automatically install the latest Ant, Maven, or Gradle when I need it. Stop asking me to configure this.
- Oracle, do you really need credentials for a JDK? – You install Jenkins, click on Manage Jenkins, then you have to fumble around the oracle.com site to figure out what your Oracle login is. Every time I’m asked for this, I end up having to recover both my username at Oracle and my password – can we just move beyond the requirement to have a username and password just to download the JDK?
Summarizing everything: Jenkins doesn’t “just work”. There’s still too much rote configuration work for anyone who admin’s a Jenkins instance. I’m just glad I don’t have to fiddle with the thing until the build machine freaks out unexpectedly in 10 months.
* Also – WTF is the Girls plugin – it is a plugin that shows an attractive woman if your build succeeds, an ugly woman if your build fails, and a woman with a gun if your build is in an in-between state. Seriously? This is acceptable because the maintainer is female? I hate this even more than the Chuck Norris plugin. Chuck Norris who, BTW, is so ultra-conservative it’s scary.