NYC Jenkins User Conference Recap

Editor's Note: The following is a write-up courtesy of Jesse Farinacci
This past week I had the pleasure of attending the Jenkins User Conference in NYC. A hundred other like-minded continuous integration enthusiasts and I packed a very posh Marriott Marquis for a full day of Jenkins excitement.
Famed Hudson and Jenkins founder Kohsuke Kawaguchi delivered the opening address to a crowded room.
I'm sure everyone knows the statistics by now, that Jenkins adoption and development continues at an unbridled pace. Pushing past all the mailing list users and posts, the JIRAs opening and closing, the Twitter followers, the five Jenkins User Conferences scheduled for this year, the unprecedented number of installations reporting anonymous usage, the native availability for nine different OSes, in pushing past all of that..
For me, the most impressive number was that on average there was about 1 plugin created every day over the past year. Let me reiterate that: 1 plugin created every day for a year. If that isn't the best testament to the versatility, extensibility, and just plain usefulness of a piece of software, then I don't know what would be!
Announced at the conference was the general availability of CloudBees BuildHive, this is a mechanism for quickly and easily obtaining access to cloud-based Jenkins. If you have projects on GitHub, you can effortlessly log in to BuildHive via GitHub OAuth, import your projects with literally a single click, and start benefiting from the powerful promise of the cloud. You'll no longer have to worry about managing infrastructure, you'll just get all that great Jenkins CI capability for your projects immediately.

Jenkins User Conference Paris Summary

The first stop of Jenkins User Conference world tour this year was Paris, where there's a considerable concentraion of Jenkins developers and users (sometiems those of us on the other side of the Atlantic call them "the French gang") The event was held a day before Devoxx France, in the hope that we attract more attendance.

I believe there are 100+ people that actually showed up, and we had a full day divided in two tracks, talking all things about Jenkins. While many are French, some of the attendees come from all over the Europe. I was able to see some familiar faces, as well as those who I've only known by their names.

I tried to get in and out of both tracks to get the sense of what's going on, so that I can report them later, and here's my notes.

Continuous Information vol.2

Because I work on Jenkins day in day out, it's easy for me to forget that most people don't pay /that/ much attention to Jenkins. If you fit that category, and if you want to stay on top of the latest happenings in Jenkins, don’t miss Volume 2 of Continuous Information, the CloudBees Newsletter for Jenkins.

This issue...

  • Features details about the 6 upcoming Jenkins User Conferences (don’t miss these)
  • Announces the new Jenkins CIA Program (join us to promote Jenkins around the globe)
  • Shows you where to find in-depth information about the latest Jenkins UI improvements and featured plugins (cool stuff)
  • Highlights the importance of Jenkins Security Advisories (install these regularly)
  • Tells you why Jenkins has blue balls instead of green ones (seriously)
  • Shows you the latest Jenkins Usage Stats (still growing super-fast)
  • … and more great stuff, including a bit of Jenkins humor (courtesy of our friends at Geek and Poke)

Announcing the Jenkins CIA

Agent L. Jenkins

For years, we've been hearing about covert installations of Jenkins by groups of developers within larger companies. Rogue engineers, frustrated by the lack of continuous integration would download jenkins.war and run it off their workstation. As time went on, word-of-mouth within the organization spread Jenkins far and wide.

Today we announce an initiative to help support these rogue agents: the Jenkins CIA. CIA being short for Continuous Integration Ambassador of course.

If you're going to be speaking at a JUG or another event where you will have the opportunity to promote and teach people about Jenkins, you too can join the CIA:

  • Send us an email telling us about the event and how many people you expect
  • Write us a guest blog post ahead of time, talking about the event
  • We dispatch Jenkins stickers and a CIA Agent shirt for you to wear.
  • Write up a summary blog post about the event afterwards
  • Repeat!

In the coming months, we'll start collaborating and creating standard presentations that can be easily re-used to introduce people not only to Jenkins, but continuous integration in general, so stay tuned.

If you're not the speaking type but instead prefer to work behind the scenes, you can join the OSS by checking out the Beginner's Guide to contributing to Jenkins.

- Agent Dero, over and out.

Why does Jenkins have blue balls?

A japanese traffic light It is interesting having an open source project that is sufficiently old to start generating "lore" of some form or another. Jenkins is starting to get to be that age, having been started over 6 years ago.

One of the most commonly asked questions, is about Jenkins' use of "blue balls" to indicate success by default. This is enough of an "issue" for some users that the Green Balls plugin is in the list of top 10 installed plugins.

The reason behind our use of blue to indicate success has its basis in Kohsuke's Japanese upbringing. The cultural differences were enumerated in a bug report comically titled "s/blue/green/g" (JENKINS-369):

This response Kohsuke cited was taken from this Q&A thread

Q. "Why do Japanese people say that they have blue traffic lights when they are really green?" --Question submitted by John Sypal

A: According to the book, Japan From A to Z: Mysteries of Everyday Life Explained by James and Michiko Vardaman, the first traffic signals in Japan were blue instead of green, but the blue lights were difficult to see from a long distance away so they were replaced with green ones. Vardaman says that the custom of referring to traffic lights is a holdover from those days.

This sounds like a good explanation, but the problem with it is that you will hear Japanese people refer to other green things (like cucumbers, spinach, and sometimes grass) as being blue as well. This is because historically, Japanese people considered green to be a shade of blue. For example, the Chinese character for blue, pronounced ao is made up of two characters, iki (life) and i (well) and refers to the colour of plants which grow around a well, a colour between green and blue. When Chinese people see the character, they say it means green, but Japanese people say it means blue.

Japanese books on colours tell us that there are four tertiary colours: red, blue, white and black, and that all others are shades of those four main ones. Ao, therefore, is a sort of ideal blue, halfway between green and blue. The sky is said to be blue, but it is a different shade of ao than a traffic light is. Tree leaves are said to be green, but green is a shade of ao, like crimson is a shade of red.

In another interesting cultural difference relating to colour, Japanese children always colour the sun red instead of yellow.

(here's a direct link to Kohsuke's comment)

Unfortunately it's not for color blind users, although that's a pretty convincing explanation. Jenkins has blue balls because in Japan, red means stop and blue means go!