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Interview With R. Tyler Croy, Jenkins Community Evangelist

Excitement around Jenkins 2, the "Blue Ocean" pipeline-centric UI, and roadblocks to DevOps adoption.

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In preparation for Jenkins World this September 13-15, I interviewed R. Tyler Croy, Jenkins evangelist and community manager. You can register for 20% off by using our code JWDZOCUST when you register as a general attendee at this link!

What is new in the Jenkins project? Any news we can expect at Jenkins World?

2016 has been kind of a whirlwind inside of the Jenkins project. We released Jenkins 2 earlier this year (https://jenkins.io/2.0/) which contains a number of improvements, the most notable being the increased focus on Jenkins Pipeline. This year we also are participating in Google Summer of Code for the first time, mentoring a number of students who are improving Jenkins.

We also have this great new project called "Blue Ocean" (https://jenkins.io/projects/blueocean/), which creates a new Pipeline-centric user experience on top of Jenkins. It was open-sourced earlier this summer to lots of excitement and I'm hoping to see a beta by Jenkins World!

Can you talk about the evolution of Jenkins with the release of Jenkins 2.0? How is the uptake of 2.0 going and where does the project go from here?

The shift we have made with Jenkins 2 is towards, not just continuous delivery, but towards more of the software development and delivery lifecycle. The versatility of Jenkins has resulted in its use for a myriad of different automation functions, but with Jenkins 2 we're starting to assert that Jenkins is the right place to define the entire software delivery pipeline from build to test, to packaging and deployment.

The adoption of Jenkins 2.0 has been fantastic, but what is more impressive is the adoption of "suggested plugins," a feature that was introduced in the setup for Jenkins 2. Now each of the thousands of new users per month can get started with great set of plugins that makes Jenkins immensely productive on day zero of their installation.

For the project itself, Jenkins 2.0 represented the first major initiative where a longer development cycle was followed in parallel to our usual weekly process. I'm excited to see how we further improve on this process to make some of the behind-the-scenes changes that we're discussing to help Jenkins grow for the next decade of automation.

What should we expect to learn at Jenkins World? What are YOU personally most excited about?

My favorite part of the Jenkins User Conferences, and now with Jenkins World, is seeing "how the sausage is made" from some of the major companies that use Jenkins internally. It's pretty simple to get set up with Jenkins, but some of the speakers from companies like Splunk, Red Hat and Google will be showing how big and advanced Jenkins can get; that's what I find the most interesting.

What should we be on the lookout for as CD and DevOps continues to advance?

Continuous delivery is still relatively new and the shift in mindset is typically the biggest obstacle for organizations adopting it. DevOps, as a concept, is in a similar boat. There are numerous tools that can help people ship software faster, and with higher quality, or break down organizational silos, but at the end of the day there must be a culture and mindset shift. To that end, I expect that within the next year or two we will look at these culture shifts the way we might look at code reviews or test-driven development today: "duh, of course that's how it's supposed to work."

How are tools like containers and the Pipeline plugins becoming a bigger part of CD adoption and pipeline automation?

Containers in particular can help bring a very important property to continuous delivery: consistency. I can use containers in my build environment (CloudBees Docker Pipeline plugin) and get a consistent result for every build. Or I can use containers as my packaging mechanism for my software, and then every environment (test, stage, production) that container is deployed into, it will behave the same, making continuous delivery easier to reach.

What advice do you have for enterprises just starting their DevOps journey?

Nobody can tell you what is right for your organization, period. Look at your own software, your own limitations, requirements and capabilities and start to ask, "Why is this like this?" Share that discussion across traditional organizational boundaries and see where it goes! At the end of the day, everybody's goal should be to ship software that is valued to your customers as efficiently as possible. With a shared goal and a bit of introspection, you'll be well on your way to DevOps nirvana.

What do you find most exciting about the current state of CD?

Deployment is no longer a series of bash scripts that some poor sysadmin cobbled together. The process of delivering software has now become subject to continuous improvement.

What do Jenkins World attendees need to know?

Fly into San Jose airport, it's kind of a long drive from San Francisco to Santa Clara :)

Also, northern California is home to a number of fantastic breweries and restaurants, I recommend making adequate time for a little of both!

What roadblocks still exist for companies trying to adopt DevOps?

Adherence to process dogma. "We have also done things this way" can be hugely problematic for process improvements but also for retaining talented people. The software industry, and technology at large, is constantly evolving and improving. Companies with processes that aren't evolving too are eventually going to fall behind. Continuous delivery and cross-functional collaboration is a huge competitive advantage, I hope more organizations start to realize that.

If you're interested in attending the show, be sure to use our code JWDZOCUST when you register!

Download “The DevOps Journey - From Waterfall to Continuous Delivery” to learn learn about the importance of integrating automated testing into the DevOps workflow, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.

Topics:
continuous delivery ,continuous integration ,jenkins ,cloudbees

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