Adopting a continuous integration approach is one of the best things your team can do in terms of improved efficiency. And since its success relies heavily on continuous integration tools, you have to carefully select the ones that fit your needs best. We’ve looked at 20 of the most popular continuous integration tools and listed their advantages to help you choose among similar options.
But before we get down to discussing top continuous integration tools, let’s take a moment to define what continuous integration means.
What is Continuous Integration?
Continuous integration (CI) enables multiple developers to contribute and collaborate in a shared codebase at a rapid pace. This practice is essential to high-velocity teams in high-stakes software roles. Without continuous integration, developer collaboration is a tedious manual process of coordinating code updates and merges.
One of the key benefits of integrating regularly is that you can detect errors quickly and locate them more easily. As each change introduced is typically small, pinpointing the specific change that introduced a defect can be done quickly.
Why is Continuous Integration so Important?
- CI helps to avoid merge conflicts, difficult-to-fix bugs, duplicated code, and discrepant coding strategies.
- CI helps to decrease code review time and makes the project code more homogenous.
- CI speeds up the development process and pushes releases closer.
- CI ensures continuous feedback.
- CI helps to reduce the project backlog.
How to Choose the Best Continuous Integration Tools?
Currently, there is a wide range of continuous integration tools you can choose from. Keep looking further if the tool you selected doesn’t have the following technical features.
What features great continuous integration tools have to offer:
- Robust ecosystem. A Continuous Integration (CI) tool aims to speed up the project release and take extra efforts out of the development process. Before incorporating the tool, make sure it does not create any bottlenecks for your project.
- Cloud compatibility. A good CI tool should allow transferring data to and from the cloud without any problems.
- Deployment options. A CI tool should allow for trouble-free deployment.
- Integration options. Your CI tool should be capable of integrating with other tools and services that are used on the project.
- Safety and security. A useful CI tool, whether commercial or open-source, should not pose any security threats to your project data.
What Are the Best Continuous Integration Tools?
Following is a list of top 20 Continuous Integration tools with popular highlights:
1. Azure Pipelines
Azure Pipeline is Microsoft’s cloud infrastructure platform, the Microsoft equivalent to Amazon Web Services. Like the aforementioned AWS CodePipeline, Azure offers a CI Tool that is fully integrated into the Azure suite of hosting tools. Azure Pipelines integrates with GitHub, GitHub Enterprise, Azure Repos Git & TFVC, Bitbucket Cloud, and Subversion.
- Deploys to different types of targets at the same time
- Integrates with Azure deployments
- Builds on Windows, Linux, or Mac machines
- Integrates with GitHub
- Works with open-source projects.
- Works with any language or platform
2. Travis CI
It is a time-proven CI solution that fits open-source projects best. This continuous integration tool offers a wide range of options for CI automation. Since it is a cloud-hosted service, there is no need for a server. There is also an enterprise-oriented on-premises version of TravisCI. One of the best things about this tool is that it backs up the latest build each time you run a new one.
- Multiple languages and platforms support
- Automated deployment management and statistics
- Enterprise-grade access control
- Effortless GitHub synchronization
- Parallel testing
- Scaling capacity on demand
- Support of branch build flow and pull requests
3. Circle CI
CircleCI is a continuous integration and delivery platform. It supports multiple coding languages, can be installed locally or used in the cloud. This tool makes automated testing, building and deployment easy. Its straightforward user interface is packed with numerous customization features. With CircleCI, developers can reduce the number of bugs and improve app quality quickly. Though it’s a commercial tool, CircleCI offers a free plan for open-source projects.
- Docker support
- Deep customization and easy scaling
- Rich integration options
- Advanced management interface
- Reliable build automation process
- Allows creating complex workflows
- Allows running numerous builds simultaneously
Jenkins is one of the most popular free open-source CI solutions that is widely used in software engineering. It is a server-based CI application, written in Java that requires a web server to operate on. Thousands of users all over the world love working with Jenkins as it allows automating builds and tests quickly.
- Local application
- Completely free
- Deep workflow customization
- Rich in features and plugins
- Easy installation thanks to the pre-installed OS X, Unix and Windows packages
- Made by developers for developers
- A well-established product with an excellent reputation
Bamboo is a continuous integration build server that performs - automatic build, test, and releases in a single place. It works seamlessly with JIRA software and Bitbucket. Bamboo supports many languages and technologies such as CodeDeploy, Ducker, Git, SVN, Mercurial, AWS and Amazon S3 buckets.
- Run parallel batch tests
- Setting up Bamboo is pretty simple
- Per-environment permissions feature allows developers and QA to deploy to their environments
- It can trigger builds based on changes detected in the repository, push notifications from Bitbucket.
- Available as hosted or on-premise versions
- Facilitates real-time collaboration and integrated with HipChat
- Built-in Git branching and workflows. It automatically merges the branches
TeamCity is a powerful commercial CI solution that can be used for free during the first hundred build configurations. With TeamCity, you can run parallel builds at the same time, mark your builds and identify the hung ones. TeamCity is easy to install and its interface is really user-friendly. You’ll also love its community and professional support.
- Free up to 100 build configurations
- Running three builds concurrently with three build agents.
- Able to import source code from two different VCS into a single build
- Capacity to substitute testers with agents
- Allows testing changes without committing them to the VCS
7. GitLab CI
GitLab CI is a free continuous integration tool with open-source code. This highly scalable tool is easy to install and set up for projects hosted on GitLab thanks to GitLab API. Apart from testing projects and building them, GitLab CI can deploy builds. This tool points out the areas that need improvement in the development process. Developers working with GitLab usually choose GitLab CI without thinking twice as they automatically get seamless project integration.
- Docker support
- Easy configuration of the build server
- Runs parallel builds across multiple machines
- Available APIs for numerous features allow deep product integration
- An option to secure project data with Confidential Issues
Buddy is a DevOps automation platform that allows continuous integration, continuous deployment, and feedback. This tool was made for working with projects that use code from the Bitbucket and GitHub repositories. Buddy is a commercial tool with a straightforward, user-friendly interface and minimalistic material design. This customer-focused solution has 24/7 live representative support, and its enterprise version allows self-hosting it on a server.
- Instinctive UI
- Intuitive deployment flow building
- Docker support
- Available presets and hints
- Offers advanced automation while requiring basic knowledge
- Ability to make corrections to the developed code
- Flexible automation, cloning, variables, connections and notifications
Codeship is a hosted continuous integration platform that favors efficiency, simplicity, and speed. Your teams can use Codeship to test, build, and deploy directly from your GitHub project. It also works with Bitbucket. Codeship’s concise set of features combines integration with delivery so that your code is deployed accordingly once test automation has cleared.
- One-click signup for GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket
- Highly customizable with native support for Docker instances
- An efficient infrastructure that monitors and scales per your requirements
- Simple config file management, getting your workflow going quickly
- Simple UI for setting up workflows, while keeping a history of changes
Shippable came out of the necessity to give software companies a way to accelerate their growth, without the time-consuming limits of manual labor. Shippable is an integrated platform that’s built with a single purpose to help teams streamline the process of pushing apps to production, apps that have been tested and built for security and stability. Shippable’s mission is to level the playing field by commoditizing custom-built CI/CD platforms that companies like Facebook and Amazon rely on and enable every business to evolve faster.
- Acts as a unified platform that combines continuous integration, automation, and deployment
- Supports any of your favorite languages, software tools, and cloud providers
- Policy-driven permissions enable separation of duties for security and compliance.
- Custom YML configs that are versioned through Git
- Built with Docker in mind, meaning you can get up and running in a fraction of minutes
- Custom reports for testing and code coverage; get a visual taste of your code environment.
CruiseControl is both a CI tool and an extensible framework. It is used for building a custom continuous build process. It has many plugins for a variety of source controls, build technologies which include email and instant messaging.
- Integration with many different Source Control systems like VSS, CSV, svn, git, hg, perforce, ClearCase, filesystem, etc.
- It allows building multiple projects on a single server
- Integration with other external tools like NAnt, NDepend, NUnit, MSBuild, MBUnit and Visual Studio
- Provide support for Remote Management
UrbanCode from IBM is built to be used by serious software companies that require a concise integration of tools for managing complex builds, which cannot be managed effectively through the use of low-level tools. Thousands of big corporations across the world are using uBuild to solve their most complex build requirements. In Agile development, it is used to automate Continuous Integration builds, nightly builds, automated unit or functional tests, deployments, releases, or any other process in the application lifecycle.
- Increase the frequency of software delivery by automated, repeatable deployment processes
- Reduce deployment failure
- Streamline the deployment of multi-channel apps to all environments whether on-premises or in the cloud
- Enterprise level security and scalability
- Hybrid cloud environment modeling
- Drag-and-drop automation
Wercker’s CI/CD platform helps software teams to achieve their goals using Docker and microservices. Using container-specific and cloud-native automation features, teams can test and deploy their apps hassle-free. Wercker’s customers praise the platform for being highly efficient towards an automated build and deployment process, making a clear distinction between errors and hiccups along the pipeline.
- Easy configuration management using YAML
- Spectacular UI of the main dashboard
- Seamless support for Bitbucket and GitHub projects
- Easy to set up for complex microservice architectures
- Concurrent pipelines for a streamlined deployment flow
14. Final builder
FinalBuilder is Vsoft's build tool. With FinalBuilder, there is no need to edit XML, or write scripts. You can define and debug build scripts when it schedules them with windows scheduler, or integrate with Jenkins, Continua CI, etc.
- It presents build process in a logically structured, graphical interface
- It includes try and catch actions for localized error handling.
- It provides tight integration with the Windows scheduling service, which allows builds to be scheduled.
- FinalBuilder supports more than a dozen version control systems
- It provides support for scripting.
- The output from all actions in the build process is directed to the build log.
Semaphore CI provides cloud-based continuous integration and deployment built for speed and simplicity. With Semaphore your team can stay on top of the latest bugs and errors, way before they reach the attention of your users. With a seamless GitHub integration, your tests are automated the moment you plan to push out new code changes.
- Custom tests for dependencies, units, code style, security, and acceptance
- Custom definitions for security and style help to check each new release for compliance
- Custom reviews for pull requests on GitHub or Bitbucket, automating the build process
- Test multiple projects and branches simultaneously as you push new commits
- Define environment variables, and add custom configuration files and SSH keys
AppVeyor is a Windows-only cloud-based service for testing, building, and deploying Windows applications. Windows devs use AppVeyor’s comfortable technology to conclude their tests and deploy applications in the cloud or in a physical server environment. With pre-installed software like Visual Studio and your favorite SDKs, you can quickly get up and running with a solid CI environment.
- Choose your GitHub project and go! All infrastructure provided by AppVeyor
- Isolated environment for builds to keep your code neatly secure
- All-in-One continuous delivery platform, nothing else necessary
- SSD drives with dedicated hardware to provide blazing fast speeds
- Custom team environments using granular methodologies
GoCD is an open-source continuous delivery server, ideal for automating and streamlining your cycle of builds, tests, and production releases. Built for individual teams and growing businesses alike, GoCD provides a business continuity concept that lets you set up multiple servers to keep your data available in the case of an emergency. Enterprise plans are available through the founding company, which is ThoughtWorks.
- Supports parallel and sequential execution. Dependencies can be easily configured.
- Deploy any version, anytime
- Visualize end to end workflow in real-time with Value Stream Map.
- Deploy to production securely.
- Handle user authentication and authorization
- Keep orderly configuration
- Tons of plugins to enhance functionality.
- Active community for help and support.
Buildbot is a software development CI which automates the compile/test cycle. It is widely used for many software projects to validate code changes. It provides distributed, parallel execution of jobs across different platforms.
- It provides support for multiple testing hosts with various architectures.
- It's Open Source
- Report kernel crashes of hosts
- Maintains a single-source repository
- Automate the build
- Every commit build on mainline on an integration machine
- Automate deployment
Nevercode is a cloud-based CI and CD server that automates the process of building, testing and distributing mobile applications. It requires zero assistance from human personnel, making it highly flexible and reliable at the same time. While many mobile app developers are struggling to set up and maintain their CI workflow, you won’t have to worry about any of that using Nevercode’s direct approach.
- The automated build process for any new code commits
- Custom Unit and UI tests using an emulator, or actual hardware if necessary
- Integration with common app development tools to provide a familiar development experience
- Your signing keys, passwords, and other sensitive data are stored encrypted using state-of-the-art cryptography
- Deploy apps to your favorite App Stores automatically
While PHPCI doesn’t compare to the functionality of Jenkins, it is a simple and easy to use continuous integration platform for PHP developers. With the fast integration of Bitbucket, GitHub, and the local environment, you can have your integration process streamlined as quickly as necessary. If PHP is your daily bread and butter, then PHPCI will ensure that you’re deploying apps that have survived the test of stability that PHPCI provides.
- Custom plugin support for popular tools and frameworks; Composer, Lint, MySQL, etc.
- It's Open Source
- Create a demo environment using test databases
- Individual directory-based plugin support
- Run builds using workers, daemons, or cron jobs
Continuous integration is a must-have element of the development process on many projects. However, some teams are still looking for Continuous integration tools to incorporate into their strategy. When choosing continuous integration tools, make sure to pick the one that can fit your project and business requirements best, while speeding and simplifying the development and delivery processes at the same time.
If you want to know more about Continuous Integration Tools, contact our software testing expert here!