Jenkins is a general-purpose CI/CD tool, but you may be asking how you can use Jenkins for mobile app builds or if Jenkins is useful for mobile CI/CD. Jenkins is one of the most popular tools for DevOps processes, however mobile DevOps may benefit from specialized tools that meet the unique needs of mobile apps.
In this article, we will discuss how well it can manage mobile DevOps processes.
1. What is Jenkins and what is it good for?
Jenkins is highly flexible and configurable CI/CD platform with a wide range of plug-ins. This interoperability and flexibility makes Jenkins a preferred tool, however sometimes, plug-ins are needed even for the most basic tasks, but it syncs with a wide range of platforms, operating systems, programming languages and technologies. That also allows Jenkins to integrate with other software/tools used in your company’s tech stack, such as Maven, Gitlab, SonarQube, Selenium.
As a result, its complexity and dependency is high since everything is handled by manual efforts of integrating with the right plugins.
You are also dependent on third parties, and whenever there is an issue, you have to get support from the plug-in developers themselves, the Jenkins community, or even whoever configured the platform in the first place.
2. How is Jenkins used for DevOps?
Jenkins works as a deployable solution, which is highly scalable. It can be used in different DevOps stacks with the right configuration and the plugins.
From student projects to enterprise products, Jenkins can cover most of your needs if you deploy and set up everything by yourself. However, Jenkins can be hard to figure out as its unintuitive and outdated UI can be confusing for first-time users.
It may take a decent amount of time and effort to for new users to be comfortable with using Jenkins.
For this reason, there are many number of emerging tools that specialize on specific stacks to alleviate such issues.
3. Is Jenkins suitable for enterprise use and teams?
Jenkins can be used in enterprises, however it requires a huge deal of customization, setup and maintenance for enterprise-oriented or team-based tasks. Since it’s not designed for large teams in mind, the management of Jenkins is generally done by a single user, which leads to tracking and accountability problems with the pushed code.
Jenkins has the risk of creating a singular “hero user” within a large team, which creates a potentially problematic dependency on top of other third-party dependencies for plugins and such.
Assigning separate users or groups to split tasks or jobs is not available and Jenkins doesn’t allow one developer to reach the activities done by another team member, readily. Tracking the overall release progress becomes a challenging job for larger projects and enterprises. Reporting is also a major feature lacked by Jenkins.
4. How can Jenkins be used for mobile CI/CD?
Jenkins is very much like a Swiss Army Knife. It can work with many different stacks, but it’s not specialized in any of those; so in cases of complex and unique stacks like mobile, it requires a big deal of configuration, management, and many different plug-ins to set up a full pipeline.
Thus, Jenkins can solve the most common problems, but falls short in anything that requires precision without additional tools.
For instance, there is no storage for previous builds and artifacts. Therefore, users need to store their former documents and artifacts manually to reach back later.
5. Is it actually possible to use Jenkins with high productivity for mobile CI/CD?
Build and deployment of mobile apps with Jenkins is not an easy task, and you have to maintain it all by yourself, without official support. Also, even if Jenkins itself is scalable, you will have issues with the build environments such as the unique requirement of a Mac to build iOS apps.
Jenkins is designed with freedom and flexibility in mind, but mobile stacks do not have the same freedom that backend stacks have. It is tightly controlled by the constantly changing rules and standards by Apple and Google. This increases not just the setup effort but the maintenance effort as well for mobile stacks.
6. What are the concerns of using Jenkins as a mobile CI/CD tool?
Especially for iOS, the build environments must be on a Mac and if you have multiple projects or multiple build it is difficult to isolate them or create queues by default. Scaling is another issue. You can easily scale the Jenkins instance itself, but the scaling of build environments requires additional efforts and a special set of knowledge for macOS.
When using Jenkins for mobile app projects, the build environments usually become the performance and operations bottleneck.
With a cloud-based dedicated mobile CI/CD platform, you have higher performance all around as all relevant specifications and extensive automation is possible without third-party tools.
7. What is the alternative of Jenkins for mobile CI/CD?
- A special case for mobile CI/CD is that the DevOps processes are usually handled by the developers themselves.
- Mobile CI/CD is differentiated by the specific knowledge and the close attention required for the build and deployment processes.
- With all the concerns specified in the previous items, it is common for mobile developers or any mobile DevOps specialist to look for a Jenkins alternative for mobile DevOps.
- There are actually dedicated mobile CI/CD platforms that makes mobile CI/CD accessible by everyone by providing the best of both worlds set of features with high flexibility and ease of use.
Dedicated mobile CI/CD platforms that can be used in the cloud in a fully scalable manner without the need for any maintenance or hardware investment or they can be deployed on-premises for enterprises. With this way, there is no compromise from what Jenkins offers with significant value added.
8. Benefits of using an dedicated mobile CI/CD platform as an alternative to Jenkins
- With an enterprise-oriented, specialized mobile CI/CD platform like Appcircle, you have native integrations and automated workflows.
- Any issue or maintenance is handled from a single point of contact with full support.
- As authorization and role management is available, proper collaboration can be achieved by the enterprise teams.
- Continuous integration and delivery in mobile DevOps have a unique set of requirements and demand a dedicated mobile CI/CD tool for the highest productivity, as Jenkins alone cannot achieve.
With Appcircle, you can manage the full CI/CD pipeline of mobile apps without the need for complex integrations and multiple tools. Appcircle is specialized on the specific needs of mobile apps.