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Bamboo vs Jenkins

Atlassian Bamboo and Jenkins share many similarities. Both are continuous integration (CI) tools, aligned to the same philosophy of agile development. They transform the time-consuming, manual task of building, testing and deploying software into a fast, automated process. The starting point is the same for both products: you create a plan that outlines a series of tasks to run in a certain order and then apply the necessary changes to an application's source code. When comparing Bamboo vs Jenkins, you need to consider your business needs and budget. The functions they perform may look identical but there are some important differences to bear in mind such as user-interface and configuration. 

Bamboo

The cost of Bamboo changes depending on the number of build agents required, unlike most other Atlassian products which are normally charged based on the number of users. A build agent is what you download to the server to carry out the instructions outlined in your plan. The more plans you have; the more agents you will probably need, otherwise you risk creating a backlog and slowing down the process.

Most of its functionality however, is pre-built. In other words, it doesn't require plug-ins. It also has built-in deployment products and is seamlessly integrated with other Atlassian products like Bitbucket and JIRA. In fact, with Bamboo a lot of tasks are available as built-in options. It comes with an extensive menu of tools that you can use to build your application. Jenkins, in comparison, requires that you set everything up – it's all there, just not built-in.

If budget is not a factor, and you already use Atlassian products, then Bamboo is for you. It gives you the convenience of having everything in place, set-up and ready to go almost immediately.

When it comes to the user-interface, Bamboo's is tidier and more intuitive. Each time a new task is added, it provides more help and guidance through the plan's build and deployment stages. Jenkins is purely based on functionality. Bamboo vs Jenkins is like comparing Word and WordPad. Word is far more user-friendly but WordPad is a basic, free alternative, but both offer good functionality.

Jenkins

The big difference between Bamboo vs Jenkins is that Jenkins is Open Source – it's free.

Integration with JIRA and Bitbucket is limited. The process requires additional components in the configuration which takes time and labour. With Bamboo, basic configuration options are already built-in. There are several plug-ins that enable Jenkins to integrate with JIRA, each in a different way. To find out which is the best for you and your needs will take a bit of trial and error – which lengthens the process even further.

Additional work is required to make the user-interface more intuitive. The benefit of this is that it leaves more room for customisation and creation, and allows you to choose from a range of different plug-in options. There are only 100 Bamboo plug-ins in the Atlassian environment compared to Jenkins which has over 1000. Of course, it's important to remember that a lot of these plug-ins come as standard with Atlassian Bamboo.

Jenkins is very much about simple functionality. It's a general CI tool that offers basic automation. It's the most common CI tool on the market with a large community of users. Bamboo is far more specific and focuses on build, test and deployment.

Summing up

At the end of the day, your choice between these equally efficient automated tools comes down to the following factors:

  • Budget
  • Preferences for user interface
  • Convenience of configuration and set-up (NB. Existing Atlassian products in use)
  • Access to plug-ins
  • Desire to build custom plug-ins

Once you know what your preferences and budget are, you can move forward with a clear direction – and we're here to help. Get in touch with our team if you have any questions regarding Bamboo vs Jenkins, or if you'd like to find out how to implement either software into your work environment.