Jenkins Global Pipeline Libraries – a v.quick start guide

This post runs through the steps required to start using Global Pipeline Libraries in your Jenkins Pipelines.

There are many posts about these all over the ‘net, but they mostly seemed overly complex and not too helpful to me – I just wanted to know how to get the most basic example possible working quickly on my dev Jenkins instance, so I could see how they work in practice and take it from there.

That’s what this post covers – getting a simple “Hello World” type example library published and made available in Jenkins, then calling it very easily from within a Pipeline job with the expected results. More detail and advanced usage to come later… these are a very powerful addition to Jenkins pipelines.

This is done in three simple and logical steps:

Create a Library and Publish it

Tell Jenkins about this nice new library

Calling the Global Library from my Jenkins Pipeline

The first step is to…

Create your Library and publish it somewhere.

I have reused one of my existing GitHub repos: for this example, but most version control systems should do just as well.

That’s all that’s needed for this most-basic example – here is the code in plain text, as taken from the guide here:

#!/usr/bin/env groovy
def call(String name = 'human') {
    // Any valid steps can be called from this code, just like in other
    // Scripted Pipeline
    echo "Hello, ${name}."

It is important to note that the file is in a “vars” directory, this is the naming convention Jenkins expects to find your groovy libraries within, and is best followed.

A. Note

Next step is to:

Tell Jenkins about this nice new library

This is done by going to Manage Jenkins then Configure System, then scrolling down to Global Pipeline Libraries and defining a new instance of one, just like this:

The settings used here are:

Name: mycommonlibs // any name you’d like to reference these libraries by

Default version: master // or use a branch or version number if you prefer

I then checked the three tick boxes, especially the Load implicitly which removes the need to load Libraries explicitly in your Jenkinsfile (you can do this and it may be very useful depending on your needs, but I want simple and easy for now).

The final section tells Jenkins where this Library is:

and I provide a user to access GitHub with.

That is all that is needed to set up a Library and tell Jenkins all about it.

Note that anyone with write access to the location of your defined Libraries will effectively have full access to your Jenkins instance

W. Arning

And finally, it’s time time for a test drive…

Calling the Global Library from my Jenkins Pipeline:

    sayHello ()
    sayHello 'Donald'

To end up with a mega-basic Pipeline that looks like this:

When this Jenkins Pipeline job is run, it generates the following output:


Which as you can see means that Jenkins has pulled in the Shared Library from GitHub, resolved and called the sayHello() method from the remote common library, called it again with a passed parameter (‘Donald’) and produced the expected results. Yay. How neat and how easy was that?

There’s a whole lot more you can do with Global Pipeline Libraries in Jenkins. From this point you can easily add complexity and functionality to build up a library of powerful and useful utilities that will greatly improve the quality and manageability of your Pipelines.

I plan to expand on some of these points in a later post, but hopefully this shows how to quickly and easily start using them.



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