Hannah Inman - 31 Jul 2015
Evolving the Jenkins UI
Two-for-one special Gus and Tom presented the Jenkins UI from the Paleolithic past to the shining future. Clearly comfortable with their material, they mixed jokes with demos and some serious technical meat. They spoke with candor and frankness about the current limits of the UI and how CloudBees, Inc. is working with the community to overcome them.
Tom took a divisive approach, specifically dividing monolithic CSS, JS, and page structure into clean, modular elements. “LESS is more” was a key point, using LESS to divide CSS into separate imports and parameterize it. He also explained work to put a healthy separation in the previously sticky relationship between plugin functionality and front-end code.
Tom showed off a completely new themes engine built upon these changes. This offers each installation and user the ability to customize the Jenkins experience to their personal esthetics or improve accessibility, such as for the visually impaired.
Gus brought a vision
for a clean, dynamic UI offering a streamlined user interface. His goal was to aim for “third level” changes which enable completely new uses. For example, views that can become reports. Also he announced a move towards scalable layouts for mobile use, so “I know if I need to come back early [from lunch] because my build is broken or if I can have a beer over lunch.”
Radical change comes with risk, and to balance this, Gus repeatedly solicit community feedback to see if changes work well. Half-seriously, he mentioned previously going as far as giving out his mother’s phone number to make it easy for people to reach out.
Wrapping up, questions showed that while the new UI changes aren’t ready yet, CloudBees, Inc. is actively engaging with the community to shape the new look and feel of Jenkins, and the future is promising!
Here are the slides for their talk and here is the video.