Configuring Jenkins to Automatically Trigger Builds Based on Code Changes

Continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) have become essential practices for modern software development. They aim to automate the build, testing, and deployment processes, enhancing efficiency and reducing manual errors. Jenkins, an open-source automation server, is widely used for CI/CD pipelines as it provides a flexible and extensible framework.

One of the key features of Jenkins is the ability to automatically trigger builds whenever code changes are detected. This ensures that new changes are continuously integrated, tested, and deployed, leading to faster feedback cycles and quicker time to market. In this article, we will explore how to configure Jenkins to automatically trigger builds based on code changes.


Before we begin, make sure you have the following prerequisites:

  • A Jenkins installation up and running
  • A version control system (e.g., Git) hosting your code repository
  • Appropriate permissions to configure Jenkins jobs

Steps to Configure Jenkins for Automatic Builds

Step 1: Install the Required Plugins

Jenkins provides various plugins to integrate with different version control systems. Start by navigating to the Jenkins dashboard and selecting "Manage Jenkins" from the left-hand side menu. Next, click on "Manage Plugins" and switch to the "Available" tab. Look for the plugin that corresponds to your version control system (e.g., Git Plugin for Git repositories). Select the checkbox next to the plugin and click on "Install without restart" to proceed.

Step 2: Configure Global Settings

After the plugin installation, go to "Manage Jenkins" again and click on "Configure System." Scroll down until you find the section for your version control system plugin (e.g., Git Plugin). Configure the global settings related to your version control system, such as providing the path to the executable, configuring credentials, or setting up SSH keys.

Step 3: Create a New Jenkins Job

Navigate to the Jenkins dashboard and click on "New Item" to create a new Jenkins job. Give it an appropriate name and select the type of job you want to create (e.g., "Freestyle project" or "Pipeline"). In the job configuration, specify the details such as the version control system URL, branch to monitor, build triggers, and build steps.

Step 4: Configure Build Triggers

To automatically trigger builds based on code changes, you need to configure the appropriate build triggers. Jenkins provides multiple options, depending on your requirements. Commonly used triggers include:

  • Poll SCM: This trigger periodically polls the version control system to check for changes. Specify the polling schedule (e.g., "
      • *" for every minute) and optionally configure the ignore post-commit hooks and quiet period duration.
  • Webhook: With webhooks, Jenkins receives a notification from the version control system whenever a code change occurs. To set this up, configure the webhook URL provided by Jenkins in the version control system's webhook settings.
  • Repository-specific hooks: Some version control systems provide hooks that can trigger Jenkins builds directly. For example, Git's post-receive hook can be used to notify Jenkins immediately after a commit is pushed.

Step 5: Configure Build Steps

Once the build triggers are set up, specify the build steps that Jenkins should execute. This may include compiling the code, running unit tests, packaging the application, or deploying it to a test environment. Jenkins provides a wide range of plugins to cater to different build steps and integration needs.

Benefits of Automatic Builds

Configuring automatic builds in Jenkins offers several benefits:

  1. Faster feedback: By triggering builds immediately after code changes, developers receive feedback on the quality of their changes in a timely manner.
  2. Early bug detection: Automating builds helps detect bugs early in the development process, reducing the cost and effort of fixing them later.
  3. Quicker time to market: Continuous integration enables faster delivery of new features and bug fixes, leading to a shorter time to market.
  4. Consistency: Automating builds ensures that every code change goes through the same standardized build and testing process, reducing variability and ensuring consistent quality.

In conclusion, configuring Jenkins to automatically trigger builds based on code changes is a crucial step in setting up an efficient CI/CD pipeline. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can enable a seamless integration workflow that boosts productivity and ensures high-quality software development. Happy coding!

Note: Screenshots and specific configurations may vary based on the version of Jenkins and the specific plugins being used.

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