Breaking Builds - No More Half Measures

Written by: Heidi Gilmore

OK, you’re a TV producer, and you’ve been charged with creating a spoof series based on “Breaking Bad.” But instead of making meth, your characters are going to make … software.

What would the show look like? What kinds of jams would the characters find themselves in? Who’d play Walt?

Here at CloudBees we kicked the idea around and came up with our own concept that we trotted out last week at JavaOne and in a series of memes on Twitter, Facebook, G+ and LinkedIn. Our show is “Breaking Builds.” Our Walter White character is being played by everybody’s fanatically efficient, deviously stoic butler, Jenkins.

Now, follow along for a minute. The term “breaking bad,” according to, comes from the American Southwest – just like the show itself. The phrase equates roughly to the process of defying authority, skirting the edges of the law – just generally raising hell. In the TV show, Walt breaks bad in a big way. He drives his RV right along the edge of the law and pretty much makes a mess of everything around him.

In our scenario, “Breaking Builds” is a good metaphor for the anarchy that can manifest itself in the software development process. If something can go wrong in the software lab, chances are it will. Ask anybody in development or DevOpsif they have ever broken a build, and he or she will probably have some pretty good stories to tell. Our character doesn’t cause the anarchy; it’s there already. His job is to make sure bad things don’t happen.

To keep builds from breaking in the real world, development teams can dial up Continuous Delivery by using Jenkins CI. Jenkins manages and controls development lifecycle processes of all kinds – everything from building to documenting to testing to packaging to deploying to analyzing software projects.

On our show, Jenkins is the star. He’s got Walter White’s bravado and the Jenkins butler’s work ethic . He is the one who knocks . He’s an expert in chemistry , ensuring that the "chemistry" in companies’ DevOpsis pure. Walter White needs to cook; Jenkins needs to code . Walt and Skylerpile up cash; Jenkins keeps stacking up hundreds and hundreds of plug-ins for people to use to integrate Jenkins with their favorite technologies.

Let’s face it: Builds will break – if you don’t do something to head off problems. Continuous Delivery can make a difference. And there’s one character that knows how to make CD work.

This character is Jenkins. Say his name.

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