10 Best Tools for Continuous Integration for 2021

Stanislava Konchakivska
Stanislava Konchakivska
IT Researcher Specialist

CI systems allow detecting integration errors as quickly as possible because an automated build verifies each integration. With the help of CI tools, developers can also find errors sooner. It is a well-known fact that developers can face blocking issues right at the demo version when some code is not adequately tested. With this in mind, if your goal is to integrate the code with other parts of your system, ensure a smooth workflow, and keep everything in order by implementing the best continuous integration tools.

Table of contents

    What is CI?

    According to Wikipedia, CI is the practice of merging all developers’ working copies to a shared mainline several times a day.

    Grady Booch first proposed this method in 1991, though he did not prove that developers need integrating several times a day.

    Five years later, Kent Beck created Extreme Programming ( XP), where he advocated integrating more than once per day, and perhaps even more than ten times per day.

    Benefits of Using Continuous Integration Tools

    Now, let’s look at the benefits of CI/CD to define which one is the best to satisfy your business goals and project requirements. There are many advantages of CI systems, but we’ve decided to emphasize the main four in this article.

    • Reduced integration risk

    It is not a secret that large projects require many developers to work on different parts of the code. If you have beginners in your team, the process of integration can become very risky. However, if you do integration daily or multiple times a day, it reduces integration risk.

    • Reduced deployment time

    Another advantage of the CI system is that it reduces deployment time, and most experienced developers know that deploying projects is usually very difficult and time-consuming.

    • Better results

    Do you remember your first days at work? When you were afraid to break the code, and that is why you preferred to do nothing? That is how beginners feel who have just come into the project and do not know much about it. This fear of breaking something can block their ability to work and create something new.

    To put it another way, people need to feel confident in order to work. They should not be afraid to break something and get fired. That’s why developers need CI systems to help people integrate more easily into the project and feel more comfortable doing their job right away.

    • Easier life for QA team

    You probably already know that the task of the QA team to fix everything that is broken in the process of project deployment. CI systems help isolate and trace bugs efficiently. And the earlier the bug is found, the better it is for QA engineers.

    Top 10 Continuous Integration Tools 

    Since continuous integration has become a vital practice for companies to leverage team performance and achieve maximum productivity from the development process, there is a rich list of continuous integration systems and tools from which to choose. We have prepared for you a list of the 10 best CI tools in 2021. 

    1. Jenkins

    2. TeamCity

    3. TravisCI

    4. Bamboo

    5. Circle CI 

    6. Codeship

    7. Gitlab CI 

    8. Integrity 

    9. Nevercode

    10. Buildbot

    1. Jenkins

    Jenkins is an open-source CI system written in Java. This CI tool helps developers and QA engineers quickly find and fix bugs in the code. Here is the list of Jenkins features:

    • Easy to update with all versions of Linux, Mac OS, OS, and Windows

    • Helps to scale out to a large number of nodes and distribute workload proportionally among them

    • Easy to set up with the help of its web interface

    • Easily spreads work across several machines

    • Easy to install because it comes as a War file

    2. TeamCity

    Like Jenkins, TeamCity is another popular CI tool that has many features:

    • Pre-tested commit and remote run

    • Supports CI server stability and health even when no builds are running

    • Customization

    • Provides configure builds in DSL

    • Project-level cloud profiles

    • Extensibility

    • Maintain better code quality for any project

    3. Travis CI

    Travis CI is a continuous integration and deployment system. You can find travis-ci.com for private repositories and travis-ci.org for public repositories. 

    Here are some features of Travis CI:

    • Connects to your Slack, HipChat, Emails and gives notifications

    • Allows running parallel tests

    • Easily updated with Linux, Mac, and iOS

    • Easy to set up, no installation required

    • Uses virtual machines to  build applications

    • Powerful command-line tool and API

    4. Atlassian Bamboo

    Bamboo is another commonly-used system among tools for continuous integration. It works nicely with Bitbucket and JIRA software. Here are some Bamboo features:

    • Easily create multi-stage build plans

    • Triggers to start builds upon commits

    • Appoint agents to your critical builds and deployments

    • Parallel automated tests make catching bugs easier and faster

    • Offers first-class support for the “delivery” aspect of continuous delivery

    5. Circle CI

    Circle CI is a continuous integration system. It runs in any environment, including Python API server, cross-platform mobile app, or Docker cluster. Like other CIs, Circle CI helps to find and fix bugs. Here are some more Circle CI features:

    • Supports C++, Linux, NET, PHP, Python, Ruby, and JavaScript

    • Circle CI allows choosing Build Environment

    • Easy to set up and maintain

    • Circle CI improves iOS and Android store ratings by providing bug-free applications

    • Automatically cancels any running build or builds that are waiting in line when a newer build is triggered

    • Reduces build time by splitting tests across multiple containers

    • Parallelism that makes performance as fast as possible

    6. Codeship

    Codeship is a flexible CI tool that, like other CI systems, helps reduce bugs and improve the app’s quality. You only need to push your build to the repository, and Codeship CI triggers the automated workflow.

    Features:

    • SSH helps to debug right from the CI environment

    • Gives control of optimizing and customizing CI/CD workflow

    • Parallel pipelines, concurrent builds

    • Flexible workflows

    • Tight security ( SSH key access, single tenancy, cache encryption keep your CI projects safe in the cloud)

    7. Gitlab CI

    It would be nice to mention that Gitlab is an integral part of the Gitlab project. It is an open-source and continuously improved CI tool that delivers a modern software development product for today’s software developers.

    Features:

    • Secure registry for Docker images

    • Gitlab provides APIs for most features

    • Confidential Issues help to keep your information secure

    • Convenient way to change metadata of an issue

    • Shorten feedback cycles with cycle analytics and out-of-the-box automation

    • Allows fast downloads wherever your developers are

    • Scales to support a large number of users, millions of projects, terabytes of data, etc.

    8. Integrity

    Integrity is a strong CI tool that works only with Github. According to the Integrity website, this tool builds your code and runs your tests as soon as you push your commits. Furthermore, Integrity reports the build status back to you and your team using various notifiers. So, all members of your team can be on the same page, and bugs can be fixed right away.

    Features:

    • Supports notification mechanisms like Email, HTTP, Amazon, and AMQP

    • Can mirror other SCMs, but for now, it only works with Github

    • HHTP notifier that sends an HTTP POST request to the particular URL

    9. Nevercode

    Another popular CI system is Nevercode. The motto of Never code is “ Replace manual intervention with complete automation.”

    Features:

    • Automatic setup for Android, iOS, Cordova, Ionic, and React Native projects

    • Concurrent build features let you automate several builds at the same time, very quickly

    • Parallel testing combined with code analysis and UI and Unit tests maximizes code quality

    • Release automation lets you easily integrate with Google Play, iTunes Connect, Crashlytics, TestFairy, HockeyApp

    • Lets you share the status of your pull requests and tests builds via Hipchat, Slack, email, etc.

    10. Buildbot

    The last great continuous integration tool on our list is Buildbot. This CI system is written in Python and can be heavily customized through a configuration file.

    Features:

    • Supports many operating systems, like Linux, Windows, Solaris, AIX, Oracle Database, Oracle Tuxedo, and even old HP-UX with PA- RISK CPUs

    • Nice performance

    • All changes are built on a fast server first and then sent to other slower servers only after builds and tests succeed

    • Allows building a list of modules on a specific combination of Oracle and OS

    • Provides notifications when the build is ready

    Leading Continuous Integration Tools Comparison 

    Now, to have a better visual understanding of each tool, we have created a chart that allows you to see how they differ and choose the one that perfectly matches your business goals, financial opportunities, and project requirements. 

     

    Jenkin 

    TeamCity 

    Travis CI

    Bamboo

    Circle CI

    Codeship

    Gitlab

    Integrity

    Nevercode

    Buildbot

    Pricing

    open-source (free)

    $300-$2000

    $79-$489

    $15-$900

    $50-$3300

    $75-$1500

    $48-$1188

    Free

    $43-$571

    Free

    Operating system

    Linux, Mac OS, Windows 

    Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Freebsd

    Mac OS, Linux

    Solaris, Linux, Windows

    Android, iOS, Linux

    Mac OS, Linux

    Serenity OS, 

    Mac OS, Android 

    Linux, Windows, Mac OS, Android

    Windows, Linux, Mac OS, Android

    Docs and Support

    Normal

    Good

    Weak

    Good

    Good

    Weak

    Good

    Good

    Weak

    Good

    Use Case

    Large project

    Enterprise-level support

    Atlassian Integrations

    Startups and small projects

    For high budgeted projects

    Any projects

    Large and complex projects

    Small and short-term projects

    Large projects

    For Enterprises

    Learning curve

    Easy

    Medium

    Easy

    Medium

    Easy

    Easy

    Medium

    Easy

    Easy

    Easy

    Plugins

    5

    4

    4

    2

    3

    4

    3

    4

    5

    5

    Hosting 

    Cloud/On-premise

    On-premise

    Cloud/On-premise

    Cloud (Bitbucket)/On-premise

    Cloud

    Cloud

    Cloud

    On-premise

    On-premise/Cloud

    Cloud

    Container support

    yes

    yes

    yes

    yes

    yes

    in Pro version only 

    yes

    yes

    yes

    yes

    Sum Up

    In conclusion, we want to remind you that you need to pay attention to several things while choosing the perfect CI tool for your project, mainly the build processes’ flexibility. Your CI tool should contain special features to control the number of merging processes so that you can merge once a day, two times a day, or more.

    It is also better to choose a CI tool that is easy to set up because most developers do not want to spend their precious time on it.

    And lastly, it is essential to pick up an easy-to-use CI system, so pay attention to your CI user interface.

    What do We Offer?

    We hope this article was helpful for you, and we managed to answer all your most important questions about Continuous Integration and the best modern CI tools.

    If you still have any doubts about which CI tool would be best for your project, you can always count on our help.

    KeyUA has successfully worked in the IT-sphere for more than 9 years. We have many clients, mostly from the USA, Canada, Australia, Europe (Austria, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Germany, etc.), and other developed countries.

    The KeyUA team consists of experienced developers, QA engineers, sales managers, and copywriters, who are always glad to help regardless of the project’s size.


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