The Top 7 CI/CD Tools

Discover the top CI/CD pipeline tools renowned for their robust automation, integration capabilities, and streamlined delivery processes, enabling efficient Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery in software development workflows.

The Top 7 CI/CD Tools include:
  • 1. AWS CodePipeline
  • 2. Azure Pipeline
  • 3. BitBucket
  • 4. GitHub Actions
  • 5. GitLab
  • 6. Jenkins
  • 7. TeamCity

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines empower software development teams to deliver code changes more frequently and reliably, by ensuring that all tasks are completed in order before an update is launched. This enables development teams to identify and fix errors and bugs more quickly, making a strong CI/CD pipeline integral to any agile and responsive development process.  CI/CD tools enable the automation, orchestration, and monitoring of core software development tasks across the CI/CD pipeline and integrate with a range of development, operations, and software testing platforms. 

As the name suggests, there are two parts to a CI/CD tool: features that focus on continuous integration, and features that focus on continuous delivery. As part of the CI workload,  CI/CD tools automatically validate check-ins against predefined rules and builds, then integrate them into the main repository. The CD workload takes over from there, ensuring that the integrated code is always in a deployable condition and facilitating rapid, repeatable releases.
As a developer, CI/CD tools help you spend less time on routine tasks (such as merging code, writing test scripts, debugging, and deploying environments), and more time on core development work. For teams, they help maintain seamless collaboration, ensuring that everyone is working with the most recent code base, and accelerating the cycle from development to deployment substantially.
With a multitude of cost-effective and scalable CI/CD tools on the market, this guide highlights the top CI/CD tools based on their effectiveness, efficiency, ease of use, and compatibility. 

AWS Logo

AWS CodePipeline is a fully controlled continuous delivery service, designed to automate release pipelines for quick and reliable updates to applications and infrastructures. The service eliminates the need for setting up or provisioning servers by allowing users to define the stages of a software release process via the AWS Management Console or AWS command line interface (CLI).

Key features of AWS CodePipeline include workflow modelling, parallel execution, AWS integrations, pre-built plugins, custom plugins, declarative templates, and an access control system. The workflow modelling provides a user-friendly interface to create and manage your pipeline, including various stages and actions. Through parallel execution, multiple build, test, and deployment actions can be conducted simultaneously to expedite workflow speeds.

AWS CodePipeline seamlessly integrates with several AWS services including AWS CodeCommit, AWS CodeBuild, and AWS CodeDeploy, which aid in various stages of the release process. The service also incorporates both pre-built plugins for third-party tools such as GitHub or Jenkins, and custom plugins that allow for unique system integrations.

Through declarative templates, users can define pipeline structures and make adjustments to existing pipelines. The access control feature of AWS CodePipeline uses AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) to regulate who can modify or control the release workflow. In addition, Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS) enables notifications for events affecting the pipelines, providing users with a status message and a link to the event source.

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Azure Logo

Azure Pipelines is a continuous integration and delivery service that automates the build, test, and deploy phases of your software development lifecycle. This service supports a variety of programming languages, platforms, and software, including Node.js, Python, Java, PHP, Ruby, C/C++, .NET, Android, and iOS, allowing for simultaneous execution on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

Azure Pipelines also incorporates containerization and Kubernetes, enabling seamless build and push operations to container registries like Docker Hub and Azure Container Registry. The tool caters to extensibility needs by offering a rich assortment of developer-built build, test, and deployment tasks, as well as hundreds of extensions ranging from Slack to SonarCloud.

Azure Pipelines runs with continuous delivery in mind, facilitating software deployment to any cloud network. Deployment visualization for multiple interdependent stages is also made possible. Azure Pipelines is open-source friendly, granting fast continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines for every such project. Additionally, the service offers advanced features such as easy build chaining, multi-phased builds, support for YAML, test integration, and release reports.

Azure Pipelines is well-integrated with GitHub, assisting in the build, test, and deployment of every GitHub creation. With agents hosted on Linux, macOS, and Windows by Microsoft itself, Azure Pipelines simplifies hardware and VM management while providing full support for CI/CD pipelines for every major platform and tool.

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BitBucket Logo

BitBucket Cloud by Atlassian is known for providing powerful, automated workflows via its Pipelines functionality. BitBucket Cloud embeds continuous integration and delivery right next to your code, thereby eliminating the need for server management, repository synchronization, or user management configuration.

Setting up and managing BitBucket Cloud is a simple two-step process, featuring language-specific templates. Through configuration as code, it allows you to manage and configure your infrastructure to create robust, automated workflows. BitBucket Cloud offers unique features such as BitBucket Pipes and hybrid workflows, allowing connections to your own runners hosted behind the firewall or on a private cloud.

BitBucket Cloud is notable for its leading Jira integration which gives your team effective visibility into Jira build status, as well as any other issues that might arise. Other features offered by BitBucket Cloud include streamlined change management with Jira Service Management, deployment visibility, and the ability to tie code and deployments together. The platform also supports Slack to collaborate around your builds and deployments.

BitBucket Cloud caters to all teams, regardless of their platform preference – Java, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python, or .NET Code. The branch structure can be easily aligned with the pipelines, simplifying the task of working with branching workflows such as feature branching or git-flow. All your build configurations can be stored and managed in a single bitbucket-pipelines.yml file.

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Github Logo

GitHub Actions is a feature-rich tool that simplifies the automation of software workflows, offering an exceptional CI/CD approach. It streamlines various tasks such as coding, testing, and deployment directly from GitHub. It also offers customized solutions for code reviews, branch management, and issue resolution.

GitHub Actions allows workflows initiated by any GitHub event like “push”, issue creation, or even a new release. It makes workflows easier by optimizing interactions with services through community-built and maintenance actions. From building a container and deploying a web service, to automating the onboarding of new users to open-source projects, the potential applications are extensive. GitHub Actions can further pair with GitHub Packages to enhance package management, providing version updates, quicker distribution via global CDN, and dependency resolution with the existing GITHUB_TOKEN.

GitHub Actions offers hosted runners for several major operating systems, supporting the execution of projects either directly on a VM or inside a container – using clients’ own VMs, either in the cloud or on-premises, with self-hosted runners. Additionally, this tool supports a broad spectrum of programming languages including Node.js, Python, Java, Ruby, PHP, Go, Rust, and .NET. Other features include real-time workflow run tracking with color and emojis, secret store build-in, multi-container testing, and community-powered workflows, that help automate every step of the development workflow.

Importantly, GitHub Actions maximizes the utility of open-source libraries to help users create their own actions. Users are not confined to JavaScript, they can create a container action which can interact with the comprehensive GitHub API, as well as any other public API. GitHub action stands as a robust tool offering flexible, customized, and efficient workflow automation.

Github Logo
GitLab Logo

GitLab is a unified tool that facilitates every phase of software pipeline, simplifying continuous integration and delivery. It allows businesses to construct, test, package, and securely deploy software swiftly and consistently, leading to an accelerated release. With GitLab, organizations can issue superior code regularly, with minimal intervention and excellent visibility, courtesy of a single-source truth to monitor the Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipeline.

GitLab’s integrated platform can standardize and scale, whilst remaining secure and predictable. It streamlines the transformation of your software development team by encouraging collaboration and delivering immediate feedback. This allows more time for creativity rather than manual, repetitive tasks. The platform empowers organizations to closely observe the entire software lifecycle, offering a comprehensive view of the CI/CD pipeline status.

The applicability of GitLab extends further by accelerating the development process and minimizing costs. The automated building, testing, packaging, and deploying of secure code from a committed code to production results in better code, quicker releases, fewer bugs, and more time dedicated to new features. The platform also accommodates AI collaboration at every stage of the software development lifecycle, including automated code reviews, security vulnerability explanations, and value stream forecasts. With the built-in CI/CD pipeline templates and flexible pipelines, GitLab caters to multiple infrastructures ranging from virtual machines, Kubernetes clusters or FaaS from any cloud vendors and supports the likes of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft Azure, or in-house private cloud.

GitLab Logo
Jenkins Logo

Jenkins is a leading open-source automation server developed to support CI and CD, including the building, deployment, and automation of any project, regardless of its scale. With its array of plugins, Jenkins can function as either a simple CI server or the central hub for the continuous delivery of any project. Known for its flexible approach to installation, Jenkins is a Java-based, self-contained program, capable of running across multiple operating systems.

Jenkins distinguishes itself with its user-friendly configuration. The web interface, complete with real-time error checks and built-in help functions, ensures a smooth and straightforward setup process. Coupled with an update system that delivers hundreds of plugins, Jenkins integrates seamlessly with every tool in the CI and CD toolchain.

Fundamental to Jenkins’s effectiveness is its extensibility. The server can be tailored to any project through its plugin architecture, offering near limitless possibilities for its utilization. In addition, Jenkins efficiently distributes work across multiple machines, thus accelerating the completion of builds, testing, and deployments across various platforms.

Finally, Jenkins stands out due to its production of continuous delivery pipelines. These pipelines are automated expressions of the process that software undertakes from version control to reaching the end-user. This process involves not just building the software in a reliable manner, but also testing it and deploying it across multiple stages. Through treating the CD pipeline as a part of the application, Jenkins establishes a “Pipeline-as-code”, creating a single and shared source of truth for the pipeline.

Jenkins Logo
TeamCity Logo

TeamCity is a comprehensive Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) platform designed to support and streamline the DevOps processes of any team. It offers advanced integration capabilities with building and testing tools, shedding detailed light on DevOps pipelines and bolstering productivity.

One of the main advantages that distinguishes TeamCity is its user-friendly approach to getting started. A clear and simple user interface facilitates the creation of your first pipeline in less than two minutes, with no initial coding requirement. In addition, it provides a unique understanding of tests and works seamlessly with respective build and test tools, keeps a historical account of tests, identifies unstable tests, and targets exact fail-provoking commits.

TeamCity provides real-time reporting, ensuring that you do not have to wait until a build is complete to identify issues. Such proactive reporting means you can work out problems, assign them to team members, or even directly address the issue in an IDE at the problem line of code. The platform also offers remote run and pre-tested commit, configuration as code, and pipeline optimization. It supports all programming languages and various popular tools used for building and testing software.

As your projects grow, TeamCity makes it easier to manage pipeline configurations through its web user interface or using a strongly typed Domain Specific Language (DSL). Reusing pipelines and maintaining control of them as your projects scale becomes more manageable, and you can also extract build configuration templates to avoid setting up CI/CD pipelines from scratch for each new project. The platform is accessible via a RESTful API, which further expands its utility by allowing integrations with other applications or scripts.

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The Top 7 CI/CD Pipelines