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Jenkinsfile Runner (Incubating project)


Target use cases include but not limited to:

  • Using Jenkins in a Function-as-a-Service context.

  • Assist editing and testing Jenkins Pipeline definitions and libraries locally.

  • Integration testing of Pipelines.

Quick Demo

The demo below demonstrates running of a simple Pipeline with Jenkinsfile Runner. It is based on the Vanilla distribution which includes the minimum required set of plugins for running pipelines.

Jenkinsfile Runner Demo

See this directory for the source codes of the demo. There are more demos available in the project.

Usage in command-line

Jenkinsfile Runner can be run in the command line or in Docker. In case you want to run it in the command line just follow these steps:

  1. Download the jar file available in artifactory or build the source code from this repository (see contributing guidelines)

  2. Prepare the execution environment

  3. Run the command


Find jenkins.war that represents the version of Jenkins that you’d like to use, then unzip it somewhere.

unzip jenkins.war -d /tmp/jenkins

Next, create a directory and assemble all the plugins that you’d like to use with the build. One way to do this is to run the Jenkins setup wizard and install the default set of plugins. This is a gap intended to be filled with configuration as code.

JENKINS_HOME=/tmp/jenkins_home java -jar jenkins.war
# go to http://localhost:8080/, follow the installation step
# and install the recommended set of plugins


Say you have your Git repository checked out at ~/foo that contains Jenkinsfile and your source code. You can now run Jenkinsfile Runner like this:

jenkinsfile-runner -w <path to war> -p <path to plugins> -f <path to Jenkinsfile> [-a "param1=Hello" -a "param2=value2"]

Sample Jenkinsfile:

$ cat ~/foo/Jenkinsfile
pipeline {
    agent any
    parameters {
        string(name: 'param1', defaultValue: '', description: 'Greeting message')
        string(name: 'param2', defaultValue: '', description: '2nd parameter')
    stages {
        stage('Build') {
            steps {
                echo 'Hello world!'
                echo "message: ${params.param1}"
                echo "param2: ${params.param2}"
                sh 'ls -la'


$ ./app/target/appassembler/bin/jenkinsfile-runner -w /tmp/jenkins -p /tmp/jenkins_home/plugins -f ~/foo/ -a "param1=Hello&param2=value2"
Running in Durability level: PERFORMANCE_OPTIMIZED
Running on Jenkins in /tmp/jenkinsTests.tmp/jenkins8090792616816810094test/workspace/job
[Pipeline] node
[Pipeline] {
[Pipeline] // stage
[Pipeline] stage
[Pipeline] { (Build)
[Pipeline] echo
Hello world!
[Pipeline] echo
message: Hello
[Pipeline] echo
param2: value2
[Pipeline] sh
[job] Running shell script
+ ls -la
total 12
drwxrwxr-x 2 kohsuke kohsuke 4096 Feb 24 15:36 .
drwxrwxr-x 4 kohsuke kohsuke 4096 Feb 24 15:36 ..
-rw-rw-r-- 1 kohsuke kohsuke    0 Feb 24 15:36 abc
-rw-rw-r-- 1 kohsuke kohsuke  179 Feb 24 15:36 Jenkinsfile
[Pipeline] }
[Pipeline] // stage
[Pipeline] }
[Pipeline] // node
[Pipeline] End of Pipeline
Finished: SUCCESS

The exit code reflects the result of the build. The test directory of this workspace includes a very simple example of Jenkinsfile that can be used to demo Jenkinsfile Runner.

CLI options

The executable of Jenkinsfile Runner allows its invocation with these CLI options:

 # Usage: jenkinsfile-runner -w [warPath] -p [pluginsDirPath] -f [jenkinsfilePath] [other options]
 --runHome FILE              : Path to the empty Jenkins Home directory to use for
                               this run. If not specified a temporary directory
                               will be created. Note that the folder specified via
                               --runHome will not be disposed after the run.
 --runWorkspace FILE         : Path to the workspace of the run to be used within
                               the node{} context. It applies to both Jenkins
                               master and agents (or side containers) if any.
                               Requires Jenkins 2.119 or above
 -a (--arg)                  : Parameters to be passed to workflow job. Use
                               multiple -a switches for multiple params
 --cli                       : Launch interactive CLI. (default: false)
 -u (--keep-undefined-parameters) : Keep undefined parameters if set, defaults
                                    to false.
-f (--file) FILE            : Path to Jenkinsfile (or directory containing a
                               Jenkinsfile) to run, default to ./Jenkinsfile.
 -ns (--no-sandbox)          : Disable workflow job execution within sandbox
 -p (--plugins) FILE         : plugins required to run pipeline. Either a
                               plugins.txt file or a /plugins installation
                               directory. Defaults to plugins.txt.
 -n (--job-name) VAL         : Name of the job the run belongs to, defaults to 'job'
 -b (--build-number) N       : Build number of the run, defaults to 1.
 -c (--cause) VAL            : A string describing the cause of the run.
                               It will be attached to the build so that it appears in the
                               build log and becomes available to plug-ins and pipeline steps.
--scm FILE                   : A YAML file defining the SCM and optional credentials to use
                               with the SCM. If given, the SCM will be checked out into the
                               workspace automatically in Declarative Pipelines, and will be
                               available for use with `checkout scm` in Scripted Pipelines.
                               Note that an SCM cannot currently be used with YAML pipelines.
                               See link:./docs/using/SCM.adoc[this doc for more details].
 -jv (--jenkins-version) VAL : jenkins version to use (only in case 'warDir' is not
                               specified). Defaults to latest LTS.
 -w (--jenkins-war) FILE     : Path to exploded Jenkins WAR directory. Depending on packaging,
                               it may contain the entire WAR file or just resources to be loaded
                               by the WAR file, for example Groovy hooks or extra libraries.
 -v (--version)              : Display the current version
 -h (--help)                 : Print this help

where `-a`, `-ns`, `--runHome`, `--runWorkspace` and `-jv` are optional.

Passing parameters

Any parameter values, for parameters defined on workflow job within parameters statement, can be passed to the Jenkinsfile Runner using -a or --arg switches in the key=value format.

$ ./app/target/appassembler/bin/jenkinsfile-runner \
  -w /tmp/jenkins \
  -p /tmp/jenkins_home/plugins \
  -f ~/foo/ \
  # pipeline has two parameters param1 and param2
  -a "param1=Hello" \
  -a "param2=value2"

Usage in Docker

Containerized Pipeline execution is one of the main Jenkinsfile Runner use-cases. The project provides official Docker images which can be used and extended for custom use-cases.

Vanilla Distribution

This repository provides the Vanilla distribution. This package includes the minimum required set of plugins for running pipelines, but it needs to be extended in order to run real-world pipelines. The image is available in the jenkins/jenkinsfile-runner repository on DockerHub.

Image Packs

There is a Jenkinsfile Runner Image Packs repository. It provides additional Docker images for common use-cases, e.g. for building Java projects with Maven or Gradle. Each image includes a set of Jenkins plugins, configurations and Pipeline libraries which are commonly used in the desired technology stack. Image packs are available in the experimental jenkins4eval/jenkinsfile-runner repository on DockerHub.

Running Jenkinsfile Runner in Docker

Jenkinsfile Runner images can be launched simply as…

    docker run --rm -v $(pwd)/Jenkinsfile:/workspace/Jenkinsfile jenkins/jenkinsfile-runner

Advanced options:

  • JAVA_OPTS environment variable can be passed to pass extra JVM arguments to the image

docker run --rm -e JAVA_OPTS="-Xms 256m" -v $PWD/test:/workspace jenkins/jenkinsfile-runner
  • In the Vanilla Dockerfile the master workspace is mapped to /build. This directory can be exposed as a volume. The Docker image generated with Custom War Packager maps the workspace to /build by default and it can be exposed as well. However it is possible to override that directory if both the -v docker option and the --runWorkspace Jenkinsfile Runner option are specified.

  • By default the JENKINS_HOME folder is randomly created and disposed afterwards. With the --runHome parameter in combination with the -v Docker option it is possible to specify a folder. e.g. docker run -v /local/Jenkinsfile:/workspace/Jenkinsfile -v /local/jenkinsHome:/jenkinsHome ${JENKINSFILE_RUNNER_IMAGE} --runHome /jenkinsHome. This way you can access the build metadata in <jenkinsHome>/jobs/job/builds/1, like the build.xml, logs, and workflow data, even after the container finished.

  • The -ns and -a options can be specified and passed to the image in the same way as the command line execution. Using a non-sandbox environment may pose potential security risks. We strongly encourage you not to use this mode unless it is strictly necessary and always with extreme care and at your own risk.

  • You may pass --cli to obtain an interactive Jenkins CLI session. To get an interactive Jenkins CLI shell in the container, pass -i -e FORCE_JENKINS_CLI=true to docker run as extra parameters.

  • If you want to change default parameters for plugins or workspace, you can get onto the container by overriding entrypoint - binary is placed in /app/bin/jenkinsfile-runner.

$ docker run --rm -it -v $PWD/test:/workspace --entrypoint bash jenkinsfile-runner:my-production-jenkins
root@dec4c0f12478:/src# cp -r /app/jenkins /tmp/jenkins
root@dec4c0f12478:/src# /app/bin/jenkinsfile-runner -w /tmp/jenkins -p /usr/share/jenkins/ref/plugins -f /workspace

Extending Jenkinsfile Runner

Jenkinsfile Runner provides a vanilla image which includes some plugins and configurations. Usually, it is not enough to run a real Jenkins Pipelines. It might be required to install extra plugins and tools, and then to configure Jenkins so that Pipelines can properly operate in the user environment.

There are 2 ways to extend Jenkinsfile Runner:

  • Using low-level management tools, including the --plugins command included in CLI.

  • For Docker images only: using Custom WAR/Docker Packager which automates some build steps and allows managing Jenkinsfile Runner configuration via a single YAML file.

For Docker images see Extending Jenkinsfile Runner images for more information and examples.

Reporting issues

Please use GitHub Issues to report defects and improvement ideas. If you see a security issue in the component, please follow the vulnerability reporting guidelines.

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