Quick and Dirty tutorial on Jenkins and Git plugin

Jenkins is a popular open source Continuous Integration tool which is widely used for project development, deployment, and automation. Continuous integration is a process in which all development work is integrated as early as possible. The resulting artifacts are automatically created and tested. This process should identify errors as very early in the process. Jenkins is one open source tool to perform continuous integration and build automation. The basic functionality of Jenkins is to execute a predefined list of steps. The trigger for this execution can be time or event based. For example, every half an hour or after a new commit in a Git repository. Jenkins also monitors the execution of the steps and allows to stop the process if one of the steps fails. Jenkins can also send out notification about the build success or failure.Jenkins can be extended by additional plug-ins, e.g., for supporting Git version control system, provisioning with docker or integration with the puppet.

In this post, we’ll discuss Installation of Jenkins and how to use Jenkins to integrate with GitHub in such a way that a git commit can trigger a Jenkins build. Jenkins can be started via the command line or can run in a web application server. In Linux, you can also install Jenkins as a system service. Almost all the Linux platforms there is a native package of Jenkins available. Please check the Jenkins home page for more details on this.

All the demonstrations in this post are shown using and Amazon EC2 RHEL 7  instance. We’re using an Amazon instance because we need to establish a connection to the system’s public IP via Git web hooks. If you are using any other Linux distribution you can make use of most of the steps described here except the RHEL specific command like yum, systemctl etc. Also, you can find your OS-specific installation details in the Jenkins Wiki.

We will be installing Jenkins using the native package available for the RHEL/Fedora/CentOS. There is another way of installing the Jenkins which includes deploying the Jenkins war file which you can see here

Installing Java:

The prerequisite of installing Jenkins is to setup a Java Virtual Machine on your system. This will be done by installing a latest OpenJDK package. Before that, we will be installing EPEL repository for RHEL 7. You can download the epel package from fedora project URL using wget command and if in case wget is not installed on your machine install it using yum.

# yum install wget

# wget https://dl.fedoraproject.org/pub/epel/epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm

# yum install epel-release-latest-7.noarch.rpm

You can do a yum search OpenJDK to know the available JDK packages.

# yum install java-1.8.0-openjdk-devel.x86_64

Verify the java installation as below,

# java -version
openjdk version "1.8.0_121"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (build 1.8.0_121-b13)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 25.121-b13, mixed mode)

Next step is to set the environment variables namely JAVA_HOME and JRE_HOME. This is used by the Java applications to identify the Java virtual machine path. This is accomplished by adding these environment variables to the file /etc/profile.

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/jre-1.8.0-openjdk
export JRE_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/jre

Once this is added you can reload the environment variables from /etc/profile by executing,

# source /etc/profile

Installing Apache Ant and Apache Maven:

The next step is to install the apache foundation siblings Ant and Maven. These siblings are used while building Java based application in Jenkins. Both these packages can be downloaded from the respective project site as a tarball.


# wget http://redrockdigimark.com/apachemirror//ant/binaries/apache-ant-1.10.0-bin.tar.gz

# wget http://redrockdigimark.com/apachemirror/maven/maven-3/3.3.9/binaries/apache-maven-3.3.9-bin.tar.gz


The command provided below will extract your downloaded tar ball and put it in /opt. Then we will go to the /opt directory and create a symbolic link.

# tar -zxvf apache-maven-3.3.9-bin.tar.gz -C /opt/
# tar -zxvf apache-ant-1.10.0-bin.tar.gz -C /opt/

# ln -s apache-maven-3.3.9/ maven
# ln -s apache-ant-1.10.0/ ant

The final listing of the /opt will show something like seen below,

# ls /opt
ant apache-ant-1.10.0 apache-maven-3.3.9 maven

Environment Variables

Now we will setup environment variables for this apache sibling and verify the installation. These variables are set by creating files maven.sh and ant.sh under /etc/profile.d and reload the environment variables.

# cat > /etc/profile.d/ant.sh
export ANT_HOME=/opt/ant
export PATH=${ANT_HOME}/bin:${PATH}

# cat > /etc/profile.d/maven.sh
export M2_HOME=/opt/maven
export PATH=${M2_HOME}/bin:${PATH}

# source /etc/profile

At this stage, if everything goes well you'll see and output similar to the one below,

# echo $JAVA_HOME;echo $JRE_HOME

# ant -version
Apache Ant(TM) version 1.10.0 compiled on December 27 2016

# mvn --version
Apache Maven 3.3.9 (bb52d8502b132ec0a5a3f4c09453c07478323dc5; 2015-11-10T11:41:47-05:00)
Maven home: /opt/maven
Java version: 1.8.0_121, vendor: Oracle Corporation
Java home: /usr/lib/jvm/java-1.8.0-openjdk-
Default locale: en_US, platform encoding: UTF-8
OS name: "linux", version: "3.10.0-514.el7.x86_64", arch: "amd64", family: "unix"

All our prerequisites for Jenkins installation is ready and we’ll now proceed to install Jenkins. We will add an RHEL 7 specific Jenkins repository and install with the yum command.

# wget -O /etc/yum.repos.d/jenkins.repo http://pkg.jenkins-ci.org/redhat-stable/jenkins.repo
# rpm --import http://pkg.jenkins-ci.org/redhat-stable/jenkins-ci.org.key
# yum install jenkins -y

Once the installation is complete, we will enable the service and start it.

# systemctl enable jenkins.service
# systemctl start jenkins.service
# systemctl status jenkins.service

If you have followed the instalation so far you find Jenkins running under the following URL:

http://<ip of your ec2 instance>:8080/

Note: if there are any connection issues or page not loading in the browser check the firewalls inside the system and flush it if any with the command iptables -F. Also check the security-groups of your EC2 instance to allow traffic on port 8080.

You’ll see a Jenkins page similar to the one above and you can use the password as described there and setup a user to create Jenkins builds.

#  cat /var/lib/jenkins/secrets/initialAdminPassword

Now we will install the git package in the system and Jenkins GitHub plugin to create a build job.

# yum install git

Create a repository in GitHub by importing the repository https://github.com/ajoybharath/hello-world.git

You can clone your newly created repository to your system and make it ready to accept push from your repo to GitHub. You can see more on git installation and setup here

Once all the steps as provided in the above screen shots are done we’ll be ready to create our first build. You can follow the sequence of images below and setup a Jenkins build job. We’re using the following git repository in this demonstration.


Apply and Save the job and go ahead and build the project.

If in case you’ll find any issue in the build similar to the one below,

FATAL: command execution failed
java.io.IOException: Cannot run program "mvn" (in directory

Please add the following lines to the Jenkins config:

# vi /etc/sysconfig/jenkins and add the line to "source /etc/profile" the end of the file and stop and start Jenkins.

Try building the job again. Also, we will be adding the GitHub webhook to enable the build trigger if a change is pushed to the repository.

In the Jenkins home page guide to Manage Jenkins=>Configure Systems and find the GIT

Click on the Advanced setting there and check on the “Specify another hook URL for GitHub configuration” and we need to copy the URL specified there.

This URL is the web hook to our Jenkins and we’ll be adding this to our GitHub repository. Navigate to your repository and click on settings tab as shown below,

Also, we have to go to our Jenkins dashboard and select the job we created and click on configure and navigate to Build Trigger and click on the check box GitHub hook trigger for GITScm polling

If everything goes fine, we can do some change in the readme file of the repository and push it which will trigger an automatic build in the Jenkins.