Jenkins Should Be A Robot

Jenkins: The Build Machine.

The Jenkins icon depicts an old-school Butler, with the quaint – and slightly amusing – suggestion being, we are employing another human being to go away and do some work for us.

But to me, however, the real Jenkins is – whole or at least in part – actually the Machine-that-makes-the-machine!

When combined with IaC, and automated API-based provisioning engines found in clouds such as AWS, we have all the digital instructions & machinery we need to create the end-machine (application environment) that will serve the end-consumer.

Remeber, Jenkins makes the digital software products that go on to serve end-consumers; it isn’t an end-product iteslf.

To re-interpret an old phrase: Jenkins is the means to the end, not the end itself.

The analogy I would make is this: Jenkins is like a robot-arm (or die-cast machine) in a car factory. It is part of the machinery which builds the car, but it is not part of the car itself.

Car factories are industrialised; typically they are designed to mass-manufacture at scale. They can stamp out millions of cars.

My argument is, essentially, that ‘robot-arm’ is to car what ‘Jenkins’ is to application environment.

Coming back to the original point of this article, Jenkins is a machine that can mass-manufacture software artifacts, not a human that hand-makes each one at low scale.

Thus, at least by this logic, Jenkins should be a robot, not a human. 🙂

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