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Benefits and Challenges of Using Jenkins and GitHub Actions Together?

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Linking Jenkins and GitHub

Contrary to the previous app development practices, the modern app development and testing industry has revolutionized a lot with the integration of various technologies, frameworks, and tools. For instance, using automation testing, the app developers can execute thousands of different test instances at the same time.

The application developers can also integrate other tools like Jenkins, GitHub, and many others to further boost the accuracy and quality of the application development project. 

Moreover, the diversity of the modern app market has forced developers to ensure the smooth functioning of their applications on thousands of different devices like desktops, tablets, and even smartphones. With this article, we will explore not only the benefits but also the challenges of using Jenkins and GitHub actions together.

Finally, we will discuss some of the most effective tips to help during this testing process. 

Exploring Jenkins

For the basic introduction, Jenkins is an open-source automation server that is primarily used for continuous integration and continuous deployment. Using this tool, the developers can automate the software development process by facilitating the building, testing, and deployment of the applications. To further elevate the standards of application development and testing, Jenkins also provides various native debugging and troubleshooting features.

A very interesting fact about this tool is that it was initially known as Hudson before becoming an independent project after a dispute over Oracle’s handling of the Hudson project. Since Jenkins was initially developed by Oracle, all the basic architecture of this tool is written using the Java programming language and also provides a web-based interface

It also allows users to define a series of jobs or pipelines for automating various stages of the software development life cycle. Let us now understand some of the most crucial features of Jenkins:

  • Continuous Integration

Using Jenkins, the testers can automate the process of integrating code changes from multiple developers into a shared repository that all the team members can use. This tool also continuously builds and tests code to alert the developers of any failures or critical issues in the application architecture. This process also helps to conduct the development and testing of the app at the same time. 

  • Extensibility

Jenkins allows the testers to extend its functionality using a vast ecosystem of plugins that can be easily integrated into the testing flow. These plugins cover various testing aspects like source code management, testing frameworks, notifications, build tools, and many others.

  • Orchestration of Workflow

Using this tool, the developers can also create complex workflows or pipelines that include multiple steps like building, testing, packaging, and deployment of applications.

  • Scalability

This tool has native support for distributed builds which allows tasks to be delegated to multiple machines at the same time. This feature also helps in scaling the CI and CD infrastructure to ensure that the application code remains accurate in the coming years despite several updates. 

Scalability of Application
Scalability of Application
  • Support of Community

Since Jenkins is an open-source tool, it has a large and active community of developers and testers. This community actively contributes towards the creation of multiple plugins and also provides support to improve the testing experience with this platform continuously.

Jenkins is a popular tool in the software development industry due to its extensibility, flexibility, and ability to integrate with various other tools and technologies. So, it is pivotal in automating and streamlining the software development process. This tool also indirectly contributes to reducing manual intervention and improving the efficiency of the entire software development infrastructure.

Exploring GitHub

We can define GitHub as a web-based platform that is primarily used for version control, collaboration, and code hosting. This platform is built around the Git version control system. So, it allows the developers to manage and track changes to their code base. It also helps to collaborate with other developers and coordinate the work on shared projects. Let us take a brief look at some of the key components and features available with GitHub:

  • Availability of Git Repositories

While using GitHub for project management, the developers can access Git repositories. It will allow users to store their code, track changes, and also manage different branches present within the code.

  • Native Collaboration Tools

GitHub provides a range of collaboration features which include pull requests, project boards, and issues. Using pull requests, developers can propose changes, merge code into the main branch, and review the code changes. On the other hand, issues are used for tracking tasks, enhancements, and bugs within the application infrastructure. Finally, the developers can use project boards to organize and manage tasks present within their project.

  • Community and Social Coding

Since GitHub is a social platform for developers, it enables them to follow projects and contribute to open-source software. It also helps the interaction of different developers through discussions and contributions.

  • Automation of Workflow

Using GitHub actions, the developers can automate the workflows directly within repositories. This feature also enables the creation of custom automated workflows for tasks, including testing, building, and deploying the test code.

Automation
Automation
  • Extensibility and Integration

While using GitHub, the developers and testers can integrate a wide range of 3rd party services and tools. It also supports a rich ecosystem of integration and extensions via its native marketplace.

  • Transparency and Visibility

GitHub fosters transparency due to the wide range of open-source projects present on it. It also allows other developers and testers to view, contribute, and use the open-source code.

So, we can say that GitHub has become a central platform for many developers and organizations, especially in the open-source community. This is due to its user-friendly interface, robust collaboration features, and the availability of an ecosystem that provides code hosting, version control, and project management.

Benefits and Challenges of Performing Jenkins and GitHub Actions Together

By integrating Jenkins and GitHub actions, the developers can access powerful continuous integration and continuous deployment pipelines. Let us go through some of the major challenges and benefits of performing this integration:

Benefits of Performing Jenkins and GitHub Actions Together

  1. Jenkins is highly customizable which allows the developers to figure out complex workflows. Moreover, the GitHub actions integrate seamlessly with GitHub repositories to enable workflows directly within the repository.
  1. All GitHub actions offer a user-friendly YAML-based configuration within the repository itself. This integration makes it easier for developers to integrate into CI/CD processes.
  1. As we mentioned earlier, GitHub actions have native integration with GitHub repositories which can simplify the setup process and reduce the need for additional configurations.
  1. Since Jenkins has a vast ecosystem of plugins and GitHub has its marketplace, the developers can access a wide range of actions for various purposes. So, by combining these, the developers can further expand the availability of tools for continuous integration and continuous deployment.
  1. Both Jenkins and GitHub have a massive community of enthusiastic developers and testers. So, whenever the new automation testers and developers are stuck with any feature of this integration, they can easily refer to this community for solutions. Moreover, this community is continuously working on developing new features, plugins, and methods that can help boost the efficiency of both Jenkins and GitHub.

Challenges Performing Jenkins and GitHub Actions Together

  1. Using two different CI/CD systems can add complexity to the setup process. Moreover, coordinating workflows between GitHub and Jenkins actions might require additional effort, maintenance, and expertise.
  1. Trying to manage and maintain two different systems can massively increase overhead in terms of configuration, updates, and ensuring compatibility between these two.
  1. The developers must remember that simultaneously running Jenkins and GitHub actions might lead to resource conflicts or inefficient utilization of resources. This process will be even more visible if both are used extensively within the same application development projects.
  1. It will be a challenging process for the developers to keep workflows synchronized and consistent between Jenkins and GitHub actions. During this process, they also have to ensure to avoid conflicts or discrepancies that might be challenging, especially in larger projects with multiple contributors.
  1. Using two different systems will require team members to learn and adapt to both tools. This process will potentially increase the learning curve and negatively affect the productivity of the application testing environment. Moreover, the app-developing companies will be required to invest a significant amount of time and resources in training their developers and testers for this integration.

In short, we would advise the developers and testers to assess the specific needs of the project and the team’s expertise to determine the optimal approach for leveraging the benefits of these tools together. Moreover, the testers must remember that with time and effort, they will slowly begin to adapt to this integration which will further boost their productivity.

Additional Tips

  1. We advise the application developers and testers to go through the official documentation of both Jenkins and GitHub. This will provide them with additional information about the various features, methods, and tools available to them. 
  1. It is a great practice to devise a testing plan or testing strategy before beginning the test execution process. This strategy will incorporate various approaches, tools, and debugging measures that the company will implement.
  1. We advise application developers to consider the prospect of integrating modern cloud platforms while using Jenkins and GitHub. For instance, using cloud platforms like LambdaTest, the developers can integrate both of these tools to set up a continuous integration workflow. Here, Jenkins will trigger the test on LambdaTest Selenium Grid when changes are pushed to a GitHub repository. 

Moreover, LambdaTest will allow the developers to execute all these test cases on 3000+ Browsers, OS and through remote servers. Some of the additional features include comprehensive test reports,  real-time test activity logs, and native bug trackers.

  1. It is also important for the testers to ensure that they have integrated all the latest updates and improvements on both Jenkins and GitHub to ensure that the app meets the standards of the modern application development industry.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the decision to use Jenkins and GitHub actions together depends on the specific requirements, complexity, and preferences within the development workflow. The testers must remember that integrating them can provide a robust CD/CI solution. However, it is also worth remembering that the implementation of this process requires careful planning and management to handle the potential challenges effectively. 

We also advise the developers to have a clear understanding of the requirements of their application, their target audience, and their application intentions to further customize the testing strategies. It is also important to adopt complete automation testing to further improve the efficiency, robustness, and accuracy of the testing infrastructure.

Check out the Guide to Using Automated Software Testing Tools.

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