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GitLab vs Jenkins: What are the differences?

What is GitLab? Open source self-hosted Git management software. GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.

What is Jenkins? An extendable open source continuous integration server. In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.

GitLab can be classified as a tool in the "Code Collaboration & Version Control" category, while Jenkins is grouped under "Continuous Integration".

Some of the features offered by GitLab are:

  • Manage git repositories with fine grained access controls that keep your code secure
  • Perform code reviews and enhance collaboration with merge requests
  • Each project can also have an issue tracker and a wiki

On the other hand, Jenkins provides the following key features:

  • Easy installation
  • Easy configuration
  • Change set support

"Self hosted", "Free" and "Has community edition" are the key factors why developers consider GitLab; whereas "Hosted internally", "Free open source" and "Great to build, deploy or launch anything async" are the primary reasons why Jenkins is favored.

GitLab and Jenkins are both open source tools. GitLab with 20.1K GitHub stars and 5.33K forks on GitHub appears to be more popular than Jenkins with 13.3K GitHub stars and 5.48K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, Jenkins has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1774 company stacks & 1526 developers stacks; compared to GitLab, which is listed in 1233 company stacks and 1475 developer stacks.

Advice on GitLab and Jenkins
Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkins
and
Azure PipelinesAzure Pipelines

We are currently using Azure Pipelines for continous integration. Our applications are developed witn .NET framework. But when we look at the online Jenkins is the most widely used tool for continous integration. Can you please give me the advice which one is best to use for my case Azure pipeline or jenkins.

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Replies (1)
Recommends
GitHubGitHub

If your source code is on GitHub, also take a look at Github actions. https://github.com/features/actions

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Mohammad Hossein Amri
Chief Technology Officer at Axceligent Solutions · | 3 upvotes · 246.1K views
Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkins
and
GoCDGoCD

I'm open to anything. just want something that break less and doesn't need me to pay for it, and can be hosted on Docker. our scripting language is powershell core. so it's better to support it. also we are building dotnet core in our pipeline, so if they have anything related that helps with the CI would be nice.

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Replies (1)
Ankit Malik
Software Developer at CloudCover · | 1 upvotes · 229.2K views

Google cloud build can help you. It is hosted on cloud and also provide reasonable free quota.

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Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkins
and
ConcourseConcourse

I'm planning to setup complete CD-CD setup for spark and python application which we are going to deploy in aws lambda and EMR Cluster. Which tool would be best one to choose. Since my company is trying to adopt to concourse i would like to understand what are the lack of capabilities concourse have . Thanks in advance !

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Replies (1)
Maxi Krone
Cloud Engineer at fme AG · | 2 upvotes · 146K views
Recommends
ConcourseConcourse

I would definetly recommend Concourse to you, as it is one of the most advanced modern methods of making CI/CD while Jenkins is an old monolithic dinosaur. Concourse itself is cloudnative and containerbased which helps you to build simple, high-performance and scalable CI/CD pipelines. In my opinion, the only lack of skills you have with Concourse is your own knowledge of how to build pipelines and automate things. Technincally there is no lack, i would even say you can extend it way more easily. But as a Con it is more easy to interact with Jenkins if you are only used to UIs. Concourse needs someone which is capable of using CLIs.

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Needs advice
on
JenkinsJenkinsTravis CITravis CI
and
CircleCICircleCI

From a StackShare Community member: "Currently we use Travis CI and have optimized it as much as we can so our builds are fairly quick. Our boss is all about redundancy so we are looking for another solution to fall back on in case Travis goes down and/or jacks prices way up (they were recently acquired). Could someone recommend which CI we should go with and if they have time, an explanation of how they're different?"

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Replies (6)
Dustin Falgout
Developer at Elegant Themes · | 13 upvotes · 259.8K views

We use CircleCI because of the better value it provides in its plans. I'm sure we could have used Travis just as easily but we found CircleCI's pricing to be more reasonable. In the two years since we signed up, the service has improved. CircleCI is always innovating and iterating on their platform. We have been very satisfied.

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Peter Thomas
Distinguished Engineer at Intuit · | 9 upvotes · 238.8K views
Recommends
Travis CITravis CI
at

As the maintainer of the Karate DSL open-source project - I found Travis CI very easy to integrate into the GitHub workflow and it has been steady sailing for more than 2 years now ! It works well for Java / Apache Maven projects and we were able to configure it to use the latest Oracle JDK as per our needs. Thanks to the Travis CI team for this service to the open-source community !

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I use Google Cloud Build because it's my first foray into the CICD world(loving it so far), and I wanted to work with something GCP native to avoid giving permissions to other SaaS tools like CircleCI and Travis CI.

I really like it because it's free for the first 120 minutes, and it's one of the few CICD tools that enterprises are open to using since it's contained within GCP.

One of the unique things is that it has the Kaniko cache, which speeds up builds by creating intermediate layers within the docker image vs. pushing the full thing from the start. Helpful when you're installing just a few additional dependencies.

Feel free to checkout an example: Cloudbuild Example

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Recommends
Travis CITravis CI

I use Travis CI because of various reasons - 1. Cloud based system so no dedicated server required, and you do not need to administrate it. 2. Easy YAML configuration. 3. Supports Major Programming Languages. 4. Support of build matrix 6. Supports AWS, Azure, Docker, Heroku, Google Cloud, Github Pages, PyPi and lot more. 7. Slack Notifications.

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Oded Arbel
Recommends
GitLab CIGitLab CI

You are probably looking at another hosted solution: Jenkins is a good tool but it way too work intensive to be used as just a backup solution.

I have good experience with Circle-CI, Codeship, Drone.io and Travis (as well as problematic experiences with all of them), but my go-to tool is Gitlab CI: simple, powerful and if you have problems with their limitations or pricing, you can always install runners somewhere and use Gitlab just for scheduling and management. Even if you don't host your git repository at Gitlab, you can have Gitlab pull changes automatically from wherever you repo lives.

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Recommends
BuildkiteBuildkite

If you are considering Jenkins I would recommend at least checking out Buildkite. The agents are self-hosted (like Jenkins) but the interface is hosted for you. It meshes up some of the things I like about hosted services (pipeline definitions in YAML, managed interface and authentication) with things I like about Jenkins (local customizable agent images, secrets only on own instances, custom agent level scripts, sizing instances to your needs).

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Decisions about GitLab and Jenkins
Stephen Badger | Vital Beats
Senior DevOps Engineer at Vital Beats · | 2 upvotes · 101K views

Within our deployment pipeline, we have a need to deploy to multiple customer environments, and manage secrets specifically in a way that integrates well with AWS, Kubernetes Secrets, Terraform and our pipelines ourselves.

Jenkins offered us the ability to choose one of a number of credentials/secrets management approaches, and models secrets as a more dynamic concept that GitHub Actions provided.

Additionally, we are operating Jenkins within our development Kubernetes cluster as a kind of system-wide orchestrator, allowing us to use Kubernetes pods as build agents, avoiding the ongoing direct costs associated with GitHub Actions minutes / per-user pricing. Obviously as a consequence we take on the indirect costs of maintain Jenkins itself, patching it, upgrading etc. However our experience with managing Jenkins via Kubernetes and declarative Jenkins configuration has led us to believe that this cost is small, particularly as the majority of actual building and testing is handled inside docker containers and Kubernetes, alleviating the need for less supported plugins that may make Jenkins administration more difficult.

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Elmar Wouters
CEO, Managing Director at Wouters Media · | 7 upvotes · 197K views

I first used BitBucket because it had private repo's, and it didn't disappoint me. Also with the smooth integration of Jira, the decision to use BitBucket as a full application maintenance service was as easy as 1, 2, 3.

I honestly love BitBucket, by the looks, by the UI, and the smooth integration with Tower.

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Weverton Timoteo

Do you review your Pull/Merge Request before assigning Reviewers?

If you work in a team opening a Pull Request (or Merge Request) looks appropriate. However, have you ever thought about opening a Pull/Merge Request when working by yourself? Here's a checklist of things you can review in your own:

  • Pick the correct target branch
  • Make Drafts explicit
  • Name things properly
  • Ask help for tools
  • Remove the noise
  • Fetch necessary data
  • Understand Mergeability
  • Pass the message
  • Add screenshots
  • Be found in the future
  • Comment inline in your changes

Read the blog post for more detailed explanation for each item :D

What else do you review before asking for code review?

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Weverton Timoteo

Using an inclusive language is crucial for fostering a diverse culture. Git has changed the naming conventions to be more language-inclusive, and so you should change. Our development tools, like GitHub and GitLab, already supports the change.

SourceLevel deals very nicely with repositories that changed the master branch to a more appropriate word. Besides, you can use the grep linter the look for exclusive terms contained in the source code.

As the inclusive language gap may happen in other aspects of our lives, have you already thought about them?

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Weverton Timoteo

One of the magic tricks git performs is the ability to rewrite log history. You can do it in many ways, but git rebase -i is the one I most use. With this command, It’s possible to switch commits order, remove a commit, squash two or more commits, or edit, for instance.

It’s particularly useful to run it before opening a pull request. It allows developers to “clean up” the mess and organize commits before submitting to review. If you follow the practice 3 and 4, then the list of commits should look very similar to a task list. It should reveal the rationale you had, telling the story of how you end up with that final code.

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Kamaleshwar BN
Head of Engineering at Dibiz Pte. Ltd. · | 8 upvotes · 338.5K views

Out of most of the VCS solutions out there, we found Gitlab was the most feature complete with a free community edition. Their DevSecops offering is also a very robust solution. Gitlab CI/CD was quite easy to setup and the direct integration with your VCS + CI/CD is also a bonus. Out of the box integration with major cloud providers, alerting through instant messages etc. are all extremely convenient. We push our CI/CD updates to MS Teams.

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Gitlab as A LOT of features that GitHub and Azure DevOps are missing. Even if both GH and Azure are backed by Microsoft, GitLab being open source has a faster upgrade rate and the hosted by gitlab.com solution seems more appealing than anything else! Quick win: the UI is way better and the Pipeline is way easier to setup on GitLab!

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Jenkins is a pretty flexible, complete tool. Especially I love the possibility to configure jobs as a code with Jenkins pipelines.

CircleCI is well suited for small projects where the main task is to run continuous integration as quickly as possible. Travis CI is recommended primarily for open-source projects that need to be tested in different environments.

And for something a bit larger I prefer to use Jenkins because it is possible to make serious system configuration thereby different plugins. In Jenkins, I can change almost anything. But if you want to start the CI chain as soon as possible, Jenkins may not be the right choice.

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Nazar Atamaniuk
Shared insights
on
DeployPlaceDeployPlaceGitHubGitHubGitLabGitLab

At DeployPlace we use self-hosted GitLab, we have chosen GitLab as most of us are familiar with it. We are happy with all features GitLab provides, I can’t imagine our life without integrated GitLab CI. Another important feature for us is integrated code review tool, we use it every day, we use merge requests, code reviews, branching. To be honest, most of us have GitHub accounts as well, we like to contribute in open source, and we want to be a part of the tech community, but lack of solutions from GitHub in the area of CI doesn’t let us chose it for our projects.

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Pros of GitLab
Pros of Jenkins
  • 491
    Self hosted
  • 420
    Free
  • 334
    Has community edition
  • 238
    Easy setup
  • 238
    Familiar interface
  • 131
    Includes many features, including ci
  • 107
    Nice UI
  • 81
    Good integration with gitlabci
  • 53
    Simple setup
  • 33
    Has an official mobile app
  • 31
    Free private repository
  • 26
    Continuous Integration
  • 19
    Open source, great ui (like github)
  • 15
    Slack Integration
  • 11
    Full CI flow
  • 9
    Free and unlimited private git repos
  • 8
    User, group, and project access management is simple
  • 7
    Built-in CI
  • 7
    All in one (Git, CI, Agile..)
  • 7
    Intuitive UI
  • 4
    Both public and private Repositories
  • 3
    Mattermost Chat client
  • 3
    Issue system
  • 3
    Integrated Docker Registry
  • 2
    I like the its runners and executors feature
  • 2
    Unlimited free repos & collaborators
  • 2
    One-click install through DigitalOcean
  • 2
    It's powerful source code management tool
  • 2
    CI
  • 2
    Free private repos
  • 2
    Excellent
  • 2
    Build/pipeline definition alongside code
  • 2
    On-premises
  • 2
    Security and Stable
  • 2
    So easy to use
  • 2
    Great for team collaboration
  • 2
    Low maintenance cost due omnibus-deployment
  • 2
    It's fully integrated
  • 1
    Many private repo
  • 1
    Published IP list for whitelisting (gl-infra#434)
  • 1
    Powerful Continuous Integration System
  • 1
    Kubernetes Integration
  • 1
    Kubernetes integration with GitLab CI
  • 1
    Review Apps feature
  • 1
    Built-in Docker Registry
  • 1
    The dashboard with deployed environments
  • 1
    Multilingual interface
  • 1
    Native CI
  • 1
    HipChat intergration
  • 1
    It includes everything I need, all packaged with docker
  • 1
    Powerful software planning and maintaining tools
  • 1
    Groups of groups
  • 1
    Dockerized
  • 1
    Beautiful
  • 1
    Wounderful
  • 1
    Opensource
  • 1
    Because is the best remote host for git repositories
  • 1
    Not Microsoft Owned
  • 1
    Full DevOps suite with Git
  • 0
    Supports Radius/Ldap & Browser Code Edits
  • 521
    Hosted internally
  • 465
    Free open source
  • 314
    Great to build, deploy or launch anything async
  • 243
    Tons of integrations
  • 210
    Rich set of plugins with good documentation
  • 109
    Has support for build pipelines
  • 72
    Open source and tons of integrations
  • 63
    Easy setup
  • 61
    It is open-source
  • 54
    Workflow plugin
  • 11
    Configuration as code
  • 10
    Very powerful tool
  • 9
    Many Plugins
  • 8
    Continuous Integration
  • 8
    Great flexibility
  • 8
    Git and Maven integration is better
  • 6
    Github integration
  • 6
    100% free and open source
  • 6
    Slack Integration (plugin)
  • 5
    Easy customisation
  • 5
    Self-hosted GitLab Integration (plugin)
  • 4
    Docker support
  • 3
    Excellent docker integration
  • 3
    Platform idnependency
  • 3
    Fast builds
  • 3
    Pipeline API
  • 2
    Customizable
  • 2
    Can be run as a Docker container
  • 2
    It`w worked
  • 2
    JOBDSL
  • 2
    Hosted Externally
  • 2
    It's Everywhere
  • 2
    AWS Integration
  • 1
    NodeJS Support
  • 1
    PHP Support
  • 1
    Ruby/Rails Support
  • 1
    Universal controller
  • 1
    Easily extendable with seamless integration
  • 1
    Build PR Branch Only

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Cons of GitLab
Cons of Jenkins
  • 27
    Slow ui performance
  • 7
    Introduce breaking bugs every release
  • 5
    Insecure (no published IP list for whitelisting)
  • 1
    Built-in Docker Registry
  • 0
    Review Apps feature
  • 12
    Workarounds needed for basic requirements
  • 8
    Groovy with cumbersome syntax
  • 6
    Limited abilities with declarative pipelines
  • 6
    Plugins compatibility issues
  • 5
    Lack of support
  • 4
    No YAML syntax
  • 2
    Too tied to plugins versions

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What is GitLab?

GitLab offers git repository management, code reviews, issue tracking, activity feeds and wikis. Enterprises install GitLab on-premise and connect it with LDAP and Active Directory servers for secure authentication and authorization. A single GitLab server can handle more than 25,000 users but it is also possible to create a high availability setup with multiple active servers.

What is Jenkins?

In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.

Need advice about which tool to choose?Ask the StackShare community!

What companies use GitLab?
What companies use Jenkins?
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What are some alternatives to GitLab and Jenkins?
GitHub
GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
Bitbucket
Bitbucket gives teams one place to plan projects, collaborate on code, test and deploy, all with free private Git repositories. Teams choose Bitbucket because it has a superior Jira integration, built-in CI/CD, & is free for up to 5 users.
Gogs
The goal of this project is to make the easiest, fastest and most painless way to set up a self-hosted Git service. With Go, this can be done in independent binary distribution across ALL platforms that Go supports, including Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows.
Git
Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
Azure DevOps
Azure DevOps provides unlimited private Git hosting, cloud build for continuous integration, agile planning, and release management for continuous delivery to the cloud and on-premises. Includes broad IDE support.
See all alternatives