What’s Next in 2020 for the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution?

Written by: Dennis Newel

Jenkins

5 min read

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With the holidays behind us, we’re getting back to working at full speed here at CloudBees and wanted to talk a bit about what’s coming next for the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution, and for Jenkins X itself.

If you’re not familiar with the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution, we launched it about six months ago as a way to take the exciting Jenkins X project that we’ve been putting time and energy into and help make it ready for primetime, for larger companies. Jenkins X is all about cloud native CI/CD for Kubernetes projects - and the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution takes Jenkins X and makes sure it’s stable and battle-tested. CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution ensures a current, tested release that contains bits from the open source project that are proven reliable. This sets it apart from the entirety of the Jenkins X open source project which includes more experimental features. CloudBees also offers CloudBees Jenkins X Support which you can purchase, though you don’t have to buy support to use the distribution - it’s free for everyone.

We’ll keep that work up going forward, with monthly releases of the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution, but of course, everything we do helps improve Jenkins X itself as the distribution is not a fork of the upstream code base, so most changes we make end up in the Jenkins X open source project.

The CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution so far

Before diving into what’s next, let’s recap what the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution has shipped so far:

  • The first version of the Jenkins X UI is available exclusively through the Distribution. It’s currently proprietary while we rapidly develop it, but it’s completely free forever.

  • Over 300 issues, bugs and security remediations delivered for Jenkins X.

  • JX Boot was created as a better way to install and upgrade Jenkins X.

Within each of those, there are tons of specifics we could dig into that are super exciting, but we want to focus here on what’s coming up next.

What’s next: EKS and Bitbucket

So far, the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution has only supported GKE and Github.com, but that will be changing soon as we add EKS and Bitbucket support - and eventually even more platforms and SCMs. Lots of people have Jenkins X running in lots of environments today - including EKS - but for the distribution, we make sure it’s rock-solid, that it has comprehensive platform testing and that we feel good about selling enterprise support on that platform. The bar is higher, and we’ll soon clear that bar for EKS and Bitbucket.

EKS and Bitbucket aren’t the only platforms and SCMs we’re working on - we plan to add several more over the next several months and we’re excited to share more as soon as we’re closer.

What’s next: JX Boot improvements

JX Boot first emerged in the fall, addressing a lot of pain and unreliability that came with installing Jenkins X via the existing jx install command flow. Since then, we’ve added upgrade capabilities to JX Boot and spent a lot of time making it work better and better. So, what’s next? We want to keep improving how smart JX Boot is, making install simpler and more reliable while also giving users more control of the install process.

Critically, we also want to clear up the confusion between JX Boot and JX Install. JX Boot is the long-term solution for Jenkins X, and we will deprecate jx Install early this year. Once it’s fully depreciated, we may revive the command as an alias for JX Boot, but that will all be discussed in the open with the community, once things are ready. The main takeaway is that for Jenkins X, JX Boot is the present and the future and we will keep expanding - and improving - it going forward.

What’s next: UI improvements

Late last year, we released the first version of the Jenkins X UI via the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution. While this was plenty exciting, it’s also very early days. The UI doesn’t do tons of stuff we want it to do, it doesn’t perform as well as we’d like and it’s still a bit rough around the edges.

This is some of the work we’re most excited about. We’ve got initiatives underway to make the UI faster, to add functionality (such as advanced promotions, team management, infrastructure maintenance and more) - as well as some beautiful design cleanup work around the logs views and other pages.

The UI hasn’t been the focal point of the Jenkins X project so far, but it will emerge in 2020 as a true first-order priority and become one of the best, and best performing, CI/CD UIs available anywhere.

What’s Next: A lot more, and more frequent communication!

While this covers a lot of the high-level work happening at CloudBees under the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution team, it certainly doesn’t cover all of it. We’ve got lots of work happening we didn’t address here, for both the Distribution and Jenkins X itself. We are working to stabilize, expand and simplify Jenkins X in so many ways that it would make for way too long of a blog post to try and cover it all now.

While not everything is covered here, we will spend a lot more time sharing our plans, our thinking, and our actual work with the Jenkins X community and with the CloudBees community throughout 2020. We hope you look forward to hearing from us a lot more often - but we want to hear from you, too. Email me at dnewel@cloudbees.com if you want to provide feedback on Jenkins X or the CloudBees Jenkins X Distribution.

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