Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery is not just a mouthful phrase used to represent the activity in tech businesses, it is the most popular strategy for keeping on providing the best to the users.
Previously, in the waterfall model, the development life cycle used to move in a single direction with one final endpoint. That means the process would start from ideation, planning, designing, development, testing, and deployment. So, the product would be available to be launched only after the entire cycle is completed, and naturally, this process used to be insanely time-consuming.
However, modern agile methodologies follow the process of working in small sprints i.e. developing a deployable version of every app as soon as possible, launching it, and keeping on improving it. This method enables you to continuously integrate new features and continuously deploy/deliver them. The popular term CI/CD pipeline is derived from here.
Now, we have already published a detailed article on what CI/CD is, and in all our articles, we have mentioned the useful strategies and tools that can be used for maintaining a balanced CI/CD pipeline. Here, we have jotted down the best CI/CD tools available in the market. So, go on with the article carefully.
Jenkins is often considered the most popular and useful open-source CI/CD tool. This java-based tool provides you with a dedicated server to perform central build & continuous integration, and as a result, you become able to continuously deliver software updates too.
This tool is highly popular for providing you with features for real-time testing and reporting. And, it can be easily installed by downloading its executable in the .war format and using the terminal to start it.
Another reason behind its popularity is that it offers a set of tools that you can use for modeling delivery pipelines as code. This cross-platform tool implements the pipeline using DSL (Domain Specific Language). Now, let’s check out its prime features.
- It is a convenient cross-platform tool that can be used on all popular operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- It can easily be installed and upgraded on different operating systems.
- Being an open-source tool, it becomes a great way of cost savings for a wide range of users ranging from startups to large enterprises.
- It comes with a very simple and user-friendly interface.
- It is highly extensible with a huge community-contributed plugin resource. It has a great plugin ecosystem (1500+ plugins) and a great community.
- It has 19.2K Star and 7.5k Forked Repo on GitHub.
- It supports distributed builds with master-slave architecture.
- You can easily integrate it with popular cloud platforms such as Google Cloud, AWS, Digital Ocean, Azure, and so on.
- It allows you to build schedules based on expressions.
- It enables you to work parallelly and fulfill continuous delivery requirements.
- It supports shells and the execution of windows commands in pre-build steps.
- As the installer in the .war format is a stand-alone Java application, it also works out of the box.
- It lets you receive notifications on the build status.
TeamCity is a popular server-based CI/CD pipeline tool developed by JetBrains, the highly renowned name behind widely used tech tools such as PyCharm, IntelliJ Idea, and so on. Like Jenkins, it is also written in Java and can be used in most popular operating systems like Windows and Linux.
Besides being extremely easy to integrate with Visual Studio & IDE and capable of supporting .NET & open-stack projects, TeamCity 2019.1 provides you with a new UI and native GitLab integration. It also allows you to use GitLab and Bitbucket server pull requests.
This open-source tool has recently come up with advanced features like token-based authentication, detection & reporting of Go tests, and AWS Spot Fleet requests. Now, let’s see what the features of this tool are.
- Being highly extensible, it comes with the capability to be customized for reusing a parent project’s settings to its sub-project.
- It enables you to run history builds, view test history reports, pin, tag, and add builds to favorites.
- It is capable of running parallel builds, providing you with the flexibility to run builds simultaneously on different builds and environments.
- It easily integrates with Docker, Maven Visual Studio team services, NuGet, etc.
- It is easy to customize, interact with, and extend the server.
- The pipelines in this tool are defined using Kotlin-based DSL (Domain Specific Language).
- It maintains the functionality and stability of the CI server.
- Its on-premise variant offers easy integration with popular cloud platforms like AWS, Google Cloud, vSphere, VMWare, and so on.
- It offers flexible user management, user role assignment, different ways of user authentication, sorting users into groups, and a log that contains all user actions for transparency of all activities on the server.
If you are looking for a tool with the objective of rapid software development and deployment, CircleCI is a great choice for you. It is a powerful tool that enables automation across the user’s pipeline, from code building, and testing to deployment for open-source and large-scale app development projects.
With its own on-premise (or self-hosted) server, it also comes with a cloud-based version named CircleCI Cloud, which also hosts continuous integration or runs behind a firewall on private infrastructure. This cross-platform tool easily integrates with GitHub, Bitbucket, and GitHub Enterprise for creating builds when new code lines are committed. Other features of this tool are as follows.
- It is very easy to set up and it allows you to use it with popular version-control tools like Bitbucket, GitHub, and so on.
- It runs builds using a container or virtual machine.
- It supports most of the popular programming languages.
- It provides you with easy debugging capabilities.
- It provides you with the ability to reduce the build time by splitting and balancing the builds across multiple containers.
- It comes with automated parallelization abilities.
- It offers CI/CD pipelines as “workflows”.
- It enables you to perform quick tests.
- It lets you separate tests using timing data that further helps reduce the time involved in test execution.
- It provides you with helpful features like personalized emails and IM notifications.
- Its server supports popular cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and so on.
- It allows you to customize a lot of things.
- Its server can easily be integrated with widely-used third-party tools like LambdaTest, GitHub Enterprise, Coveralls, etc.
- It lets you perform the continuous and branch-specific deployment.
- It has functionalities like automated merging and custom commands for package uploading.
- CircleCI orbs that are actually reusable snippets of code play a significant role in automating repetitive processes and accelerating integration with third-party tools.
- CircleCI provides you with a fast setup capability and allows unlimited builds.
GitLab is not just a simple CI/CD tool. It is famous for providing highly useful features like code reviews, continuous integration, continuous deployment, continuous delivery, and so on within a convenient single dashboard.
However, GitLab is mostly known for its core product i.e. a web-based Git repository manager that provides you with features like analytics, issue tracking, and a Wiki.
Besides such amazing features, GitLab gets its popularity due to its prime feature of enabling you to trigger builds, run tests, and deploy code with each commit or push. To use those features and using the GitLab CI/CD features, the codebase should be hosted in a Git repository and the scripts for performing a build, test, and deployment in a YAML file named .gitlab-ci.yml that you must keep in the root directory. Also, jobs can be built in a virtual machine, Docker container, or another server. Now, let’s check out some of its features.
- It comes with developer APIs that third-party developers can use to create a deeper integration into their products.
- It enables you to view, create, and manage codes & project data through branching tools or better to say a single distributed version control system that enables rapid iteration and delivery of business values.
- It is available for most of the popular operating systems such as Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- It enables delivery teams to make complete use of CI by automating the builds, integration, and verification of source codes.
- It minimizes the build time by issuing parallel builds by splitting a single build into multiple machines.
- It provides you with a single source of truth and scalability to collaborate on projects and code.
- Its web application comes with a user-friendly interface.
- It has a caching mechanism that saves a lot of time while jobs are running. For that, you need to share the cache across the same branch and different branches. Also, you can disable the cache on specific jobs. GitLab comes with many options that let you utilize the caching mechanism whenever you need it.
- It provides you with features like Static Application Security Testing (SAST), container scanning, dependency scanning, and Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST) for delivering secure applications along with license compliance.
- It enables you to migrate easily from a tool like Jenkins or CircleCI.
- Besides allowing you to run jobs sequentially in parallel, it also provides you with the capability to define a custom pipeline.
- It allows you to build automated testing pipelines in a quite simple manner.
- It helps you automate repetitive tasks and shorten the release and delivery of applications.
- This tool is easy to use as you can trigger the builds through its shell executor.
5. Travis CI
Similar to Jenkins, Travis CI is also a name that entered the market for CI/CD tools at a very early stage. This CI service was initially launched for building and testing open-source projects but later it was migrated to support closed-source projects too. And, the best part is that it comes with different plans for the open-source community and enterprises.
This tool is written in the widely-used Ruby programming language and is popular for its capabilities for automatically detecting new commits that are made and pushed to a GitHub repository. Also, after every new code commit, Travis CI builds the project and runs tests accordingly. Its prime features look like this -
- You can set it up quickly.
- It supports a huge range of programming languages which is a total of 30 including the most popular ones like C#, Java, Python, Julia, and so on.
- It supports pull requests.
- Travis CI Enterprise is a great choice for enterprises that like better privacy and secured solutions. That’s because it is a self-hosted tool that comes with a proprietary YAML syntax for CI/CD pipelines and seamlessly integrates popular tools like GitHub and Bitbucket.
- It allows you to view builds live for GitHub project monitoring.
- For open-source projects and enterprises that have small teams, it comes with the Cloud (or SaaS) variant.
- It comes with pre-installed database services.
- It provides runtimes on most of the popular platforms like Windows, Linux, and macOS.
- It allows deployment to multiple cloud services.
- It supports integration with the most popular cloud platforms like Google Cloud, AWS, Azure, Kubernetes, etc.
- It comes with the feature of cleaning virtual machines for every build.
- It can auto-deploy on passing builds.
- Its build matrix feature enables you to perform parallel builds on a wide range of combinations with different environments, languages, and runtimes.
- As it can easily integrate with popular cross browser testing tools, it enables you to test across multiple combinations of browsers, operating systems, and devices.
These are the 5 best CI/CD tools that you can get in the market. From the detailed discussion about all their important features, you can easily choose the best one for you. So, you must consider going through the article carefully.
Now, we surely understand that based on the requirements for different projects, you may need some other tools that come with different features. So, don’t worry. We will soon be coming up with another in-depth article consisting of various CI/CD tools with multiple useful features. For that, don’t forget to keep an eye out on our blog page.
Also, you must know that Preflight has a huge name in the market for a supremely powerful codeless test automation tool. As you may surely be impressed with its advanced features, you will definitely look forward to getting a hands-on experience for free. So, stop waiting for more to get started with us and for any queries, feel free to reach out to us anytime.