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Jenkins Gets a Facelift with Release of Blue Ocean 1.0

| by Craig Smith on Apr 25, 2017. Estimated reading time: 2 minutes |

Jenkins, the popular open source automation server that is used by development teams worldwide for continuous integration and continuous delivery pipelines, has recently announced the general availability of Blue Ocean 1.0.

After an initial announcement of the project in May 2016, James Dumay formally announced the release and provided an overview of the new features in a recent blog post:

Blue Ocean is an entirely new, modern and fun way for developers to use Jenkins that has been built from the ground up to help teams of any size approach Continuous Delivery. Easily installed as a plugin for Jenkins and integrated with Jenkins Pipeline, it is available from today for production use. Since the start of the beta at Jenkins World 2016 in September, there are now over 7400+ installations making use of Blue Ocean. This wouldn’t be possible without the support of the entire Jenkins developer and user community.

The new features include:

  • Pipeline editor: create continuous delivery pipelines from start to finish using an intuitive and visual pipeline editor
  • Pipeline visualization: visually represent pipelines, improving clarity into the continuous delivery process across the whole organization
  • Pipeline diagnosis: locate automation problems instantly without the need to endlessly scan through logs or navigate through numerous screens
  • Personalised dashboard: ability for a user to customize the dashboard to only see the pipelines that matter to them
  • Github integration: pipelines are run for all feature branches and pull requests, with their status reported back to Github, so the whole team knows if changes need work or are good to go

The name Blue Ocean was based on the book "Blue Ocean Strategy" and the intent of the project relates closely to the concepts covered in the book:

The world has moved on from developer tools that are purely functional to developer tools being part of a "developer experience". That is to say, it’s no longer about a single tool but the many tools developers use throughout the day and how they work together to achieve a workflow that’s beneficial for the developer... Developer tools companies like Heroku, Atlassian and Github have raised the bar for what is considered good developer experience, and developers are increasingly expecting exceptional design. In recent years developers are becoming more rapidly attracted to tools that are not only functional but are designed to fit into their workflow seamlessly and are a joy to use. This shift represents a higher standard of design and user experience that Jenkins needs to rise to meet.

Existing Jenkins instances should not require any additional configuration after installation. Due to the fact that the initial release targets the visualization of existing pipeline jobs, users will need to switch back to the classic UI for configuration purposes or to manage non-pipeline jobs, with the intention to decrease this need over time. Freestyle jobs are compatible but currently do not benefit from any of the new pipeline features.

For Jenkins developers and plugin authors, the new release introduces a new "Jenkins Design Language", a modern JavaScript toolchain, client side extension points and Server Sent Events.

Blue Ocean is available for any existing Jenkins instance (version 2.7 or later). It is installed as a plugin and allows the ability to switch back to the classic Jenkins UI if required. Alternatively, the Jenkins project publishes a Docker container with Blue Ocean built-in.

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