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  • Let’s discuss these two popular continuous integration tools and their differences.

    The method of Software development lifecycle has changed drastically in the last decade.

    Earlier, the waterfall model was the way to go forward, then agile methodology came where the development happened iteratively, and now with DevOps, both development and operations happen iteratively and continuously till the complete application is developed and deployed.

    The term CI/CD, which stands for continuous integration and continuous delivery, has become very popular. It is a DevOps practice that helps develop and deliver the application much faster and in a reliable way. It is a methodology that automates all the steps starting from business requirement to deployment on production using a CICD tool. It is far better and safer than doing everything manually.

    Now there are many tools available for CI/CD, so it can be confusing to choose the right tools.

    Why Jenkins?

    Jenkins is the most popular open-source continuous integration tool. It is the de-facto standard for the continuous integration solution.

    You can install Jenkins on major operating systems like Windows or Linux, as it runs on Java. It was originally created as a build automation tool for Java applications. Since then, it has evolved a lot and has more than 1400 plugins to easily integrate with other platforms and tools.

    jenkins

    Jenkins is the core tool for continuous integration and continuous delivery in the software development process. It is simple to install and provides a dashboard for project management, which can be easily accessed through a browser.

    Developers use Jenkins to build, integrate, test, and deploy their code automatically. Firstly, developers check in their code, then Jenkins picks up the changed source code, triggers a build, and runs a test if required. Once the build finishes, you will get the output in the Jenkins dashboard, and a notification can be sent to the developer if it is set.

    Why TeamCity?

    TeamCity is a commercial CI/CD server that is also java-based. It is a build automation and management tool created by JetBrains.

    The slogan of TeamCity is “Powerful Continuous Integration out of the box“, and this tool justifies it. It offers almost all features of Jenkins with few additional ones. TeamCity can integrate with Docker for automatically creating containers through docker-compose. It has integration support for the Jira tool to track issues easily.

    TeamCity supports the .NET framework, and you can easily integrate TeamCity with several IDEs like Eclipse, Visual Studio, etc. With integration to build artifact repository, TeamCity can store the artifacts on the TeamCity server filesystem or external storage.

    With the TeamCity free version of the Professional server license, you can create 100 builds and 3 build agents for zero cost.

    Jenkins vs. TeamCity

    Open-Source vs. Commercial

    The most basics difference is that Jenkins is an open-source continuous integration tool and TeamCity is a commercial tool. Jenkins project is released under MIT license and supported by developers across the globe. TeamCity is developed and maintained by its parent company JetBrains.

    Interface

    The interface of TeamCity is lovely, and the interface helps attract a lot of beginners who are starting with continuous integration and looking for a CI tool. In the TeamCity interface, you can tag, comment, and pin build to organize them in a better way.

    The interface of Jenkins is old school. It is not very attractive to look at and has a huge scope of improvement from a UI perspective.

    Exclusive features

    Although Jenkins does not has plenty of features in-built, its huge plugin ecosystem provides tons of features that other CI tools cannot offer. With such plugin features, Jenkins is used to creating builds and analyze the code, which helps improve the code quality.

    On the other hand, apart from some regular CI tool features, TeamCity comes with multiple out-of-the-box features. It supports multiple platforms such as Java, Ruby, .NET, etc. You can also build docker images through TeamCity. With Bugzilla and Jira support, you can perform issue tracking with ease. And, the build changes and failure history is stored to keep the past information on the statistics, run past builds, and test history reports.

    Installation

    To install Jenkins on your system, you need to have Java present on it. The setup of Jenkins is straightforward when both of them are already there on the system. Once the installation finishes, you can start working on Jenkins on its web interface.

    Installing TeamCity is also very easy. You need to download the TeamCity Server and go to the documentation and follow the instructions mentioned.

    Integrations

    I do not feel any CI tool is even close to Jenkins’s competition when we talk about integration capabilities. The popularity of Jenkins is there in the market because it provides integration with hundreds of free plugins.

    Compared to Jenkins, TeamCity can integrate with much lesser plugins. But it offers few exclusive integrations, which adds up to its “out of the box features”. It supports the .NET framework and integrates with Visual Studio Team Services, providing cloud integration with cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, GCP, VMware.

    Security

    The good part of TeamCity being commercial is that JetBrains support it so that it would be fixed on priority for any security finding. TeamCity provides integration with the Snyk security plugin, which can perform vulnerability scanning in the build pipeline. It helps you identify and remediates all the risks and threats that are there in your builds.

    Considering Jenkins is open-source, risk mitigation might get delayed as it all depends on the developer’s community.

    Community

    The community of Jenkins is vast than TeamCity. As Jenkins is open source, any developer can contribute to this project. Daily, new developers keep on adding their contribution to this project to add new features and make it a better tool.

    On the other hand, TeamCity is a commercial tool and maintained by the JetBrains team. It has a professional support community to grow this tool.

    Pricing

    Jenkins is free to use, as it is open source, and that is why it is a preferable choice for many organizations. Organizations save a good amount by not spending anything on a CI tool like Jenkins.

    TeamCity is not free to use. It comes with two licenses, which are a Professional server license and an Enterprise server license. In a professional server license, you can use 100 build configurations and 3 build agents for free, and after that, 299$ for 1 additional build agent and 10 build configurations. TeamCity enterprise server license starts with 3 agents, which provides unlimited build configurations starting with 1,999$.

    Comparison Table

    Jenkins TeamCity
    Written In Java Java
    Developer CloudBees, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, Free, and open-source software JetBrains
    License MIT License Proprietary commercial software
    Features
    • Open-source
    • Rich set of plugins
    • Easy setup
    • Support for build pipelines
    • Workflow plugin
    • Tons of integrations
    • Hosted internally
    • Build, deploy or launch anything async
    • HTML Publisher
    • Throttle builds
    • Key Integrations
    • Cloud Integration
    • Build History
    • Build Infrastructure
    • Code Quality Tracking
    • VCS Interoperability
    • System Maintenance
    • User Management
    • Extensibility and Customization
    • Pre-tested Commit
    Ease of Use Yes Yes
    User Interface Very basic interface It has an attractive and beautiful interface
    Community Since it is open-source, the community is bigger Smaller compared to Jenkins
    Pricing Free Professional Server license costs 299$ per build agent after 3 free build agents

    whereas

    Enterprise Server license costs start at 1999$

    Integrations 1400+ integrations 300+ integrations
    Security Less Secured More Secured
    API Supports JSON, Python, RESTful API: XML Supports RESTful API using service messages and creates plugins using Open API
    Programming Language Support Java, PHP, C, C++, Fortran, Python, and many more scripting languages Python, C++, Java, .NET, Ruby, PHP, Node.js, and more
    Container Support Using Docker plugin for Jenkins First-class Docker support out of the box
    Release Cycle More frequent Less Frequent
    Reporting Provides detailed report for builds and tests Provides reports with better web UI

    Conclusion

    Now you know the differences between the two most popular continuous integrations tools – Jenkins and TeamCity.

    When you are choosing a CI tool for your organization, you need to check on few parameters such as hosting options, integrations available, reusable code library, container support, and how easy it is to use and learn the tool. The continuous integration tool which passes these parameters would be an excellent option to go for.

    If you are still in doubt, go ahead and give it a try with Jenkins and TeamCity free version. After creating a few builds on these platforms, you would be in a more comfortable situation to decide which tool is better for continuous integration for your projects.