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Pipeline Shared Libraries

When you have multiple Pipeline jobs, you often want to share some parts of the Pipeline scripts between them to keep Pipeline scripts DRY. A very common use case is that you have many projects that are built in the similar way.

This plugin adds that functionality by allowing you to create “shared library script” SCM repositories. It can be used in two modes: a legacy mode in which there is a single Git repository hosted by Jenkins itself, to which you may push changes; and a more general mode in which you may define libraries hosted by any SCM in a location of your choice.

Directory structure

The directory structure of a shared library repository is as follows:

 +- src                     # Groovy source files
 |   +- org
 |       +- foo
 |           +- Bar.groovy  # for class
 +- vars
 |   +- foo.groovy          # for global 'foo' variable/function
 |   +- foo.txt             # help for 'foo' variable/function
 +- resources               # resource files (external libraries only)
 |   +- org
 |       +- foo
 |           +- bar.json    # static helper data for

The src directory should look like standard Java source directory structure. This directory is added to the classpath when executing Pipelines.

The vars directory hosts scripts that define global variables accessible from Pipeline scripts. The basename of each *.groovy file should be a Groovy (~ Java) identifier, conventionally camelCased. The matching *.txt, if present, can contain documentation, processed through the system’s configured markup formatter (so may really be HTML, Markdown, etc., though the txt extension is required).

The Groovy source files in these directories get the same “CPS transformation” as your Pipeline scripts.

A resources directory allows the libraryResource step to be used from an external library to load associated non-Groovy files. Currently this feature is not supported for internal libraries.

Other directories under the root are reserved for future enhancements.

Defining external libraries

An external library is defined with a name, a source code retrieval method such as by SCM, and optionally a default version. The name should be a short identifier as it will be used in scripts.

The version could be anything understood by that SCM; for example, branches, tags, and commit hashes all work for Git. You may also declare whether scripts need to explicitly request that library (detailed below), or if it is present by default. Furthermore, if you specify a version in Jenkins configuration, you can block scripts from selecting a different version.

The best way to specify the SCM is using an SCM plugin which has been specifically updated to support a new API for checking out an arbitrary named version (Modern SCM option). As of this writing, the latest versions of the Git and Subversion plugins support this mode; others should follow.

If your SCM plugin has not been integrated, you may select Legacy SCM and pick anything offered. In this case, you need to include ${library.yourLibName.version} somewhere in the configuration of the SCM, so that during checkout the plugin will expand this variable to select the desired version. For example, for Subversion, you can set the Repository URL to https://svnserver/project/${library.yourLibName.version} and then use versions such as trunk or branches/dev or tags/1.0.

Global external libraries

There are several places you can define external libraries, according to your needs.

Under Manage Jenkins » Configure System » Global Pipeline Libraries you may configure as many libraries as you need. These will be accessible to any Pipeline job in the system.

These libraries are trusted: they can run any methods in Java, Groovy, Jenkins internal APIs, Jenkins plugins, or third-party libraries. This allows you to define libraries which encapsulate individually unsafe APIs in a higher-level wrapper safe for use from any job. Beware that anyone able to push commits to this SCM repository could obtain unlimited access to Jenkins. You need the Overall/RunScripts permission to configure these libraries (normally this will be granted to Jenkins administrators).

Folder-level external libraries

When you create a folder, you can associate some libraries with it. These will be available to any job running inside the folder (or a subfolder).

Folder-based libraries are not trusted: they run in the Groovy sandbox just like typical Pipeline scripts.

Automatic external libraries

Other plugins may add ways of defining libraries on the fly just based on name. For example, the GitHub Organization Folder plugin allows a script to use an (untrusted) library named something like without any Jenkins configuration at all: the specified GitHub repository is loaded, by default in the master branch, using an anonymous checkout.

Defining the internal library

An older mode of sharing code is to deploy sources to Jenkins itself. This special library is trusted (no Groovy sandbox), since the Overall/RunScripts permission is required to push any changes to the global library repository,

This library is implicitly available to all scripts. There is no way for a script to select a particular version to use; the master branch is always loaded.

This directory is managed by Git, and you'll deploy new changes through git push. The repository is exposed in two endpoints:

  • ssh://USERNAME@server:PORT/workflowLibs.git through Jenkins SSH
  • http://LOCATION/workflowLibs.git (when your Jenkins app is located on the url http://LOCATION/). As noted in JENKINS-26537, this mode will not currently work in an authenticated Jenkins instance.

Having the shared library script in Git allows you to track changes, perform tested deployments, and reuse the same scripts across a large number of instances.

Note that the repository is initially empty of any commits, so it is possible to push an existing repository here. Normally you would instead clone it to get started, in which case Git will note

warning: remote HEAD refers to nonexistent ref, unable to checkout.

To set things up after cloning, start with:

git checkout -b master

Now you may add and commit files normally. For your first push to Jenkins you will need to set up a tracking branch:

git push --set-upstream origin master

Thereafter it should suffice to run:

git push

Using libraries

Pipeline scripts need do nothing special to access external libraries marked Load implicitly, or the legacy internal library. They may immediately use classes or global variables defined by any such libraries (details below).

To access other external libraries, a script needs to use the @Library annotation. It can take a library name:


or a library with a version specifier (branch, tag, etc.):


or several libraries:

@Library(['somelib', 'otherlib@abc1234'])

The annotation can be anywhere in the script where an annotation is permitted by Java/Groovy. When referring to class libraries (with src/ directories), conventionally the annotation goes on an import statement:

import com.mycorp.pipeline.somelib.UsefulClass

It is legal, though unnecessary, to import a global variable (or function) defined in a vars/ directory:

import usefulFunction

If you have nowhere better to put it, the simplest legal syntax is an unused, untyped field named _:

@Library('somelib') _

Note that libraries are resolved and loaded during compilation of the script, before it starts running. This allows the Groovy compiler to understand the meaning of symbols you use in static type checking, and permits them to be used in type declarations in your script:

import com.mycorp.pipeline.somelib.Helper

int useSomeLib(Helper helper) {
    return helper.count()

echo useSomeLib(new Helper('some text'))

This matters less for global variables/functions, which are resolved at runtime.

Overriding versions

A @Library annotation may override a default version given in the library’s definition, if the definition permits this. In particular, an external library marked for implicit use can still be loaded in a different version using the annotation (unless the definition specifically forbids this).

Writing libraries

Whether external or internal, shared libraries offer several mechanisms for code reuse.

Writing shared code

At the base level, any valid Groovy code is OK. So you can define data structures, utility functions, and etc., like this:

// src/org/foo/Point.groovy

// point in 3D space
class Point {
  float x,y,z;

Accessing steps

Library classes cannot directly call step functions like sh or git. You might want to define a series of functions that in turn invoke other Pipeline step functions. You can do this by not explicitly defining the enclosing class, just like your main Pipeline script itself:

// src/org/foo/Zot.groovy

def checkOutFrom(repo) {
  git url: "${repo}"

You can then call such function from your main Pipeline script like this:

def z = new

However this style has its own limitations; for example, you cannot declare a superclass.

Alternately, you can explicitly pass the set of steps to a library class, in a constructor or just one method:

class Utilities {
  def steps
  Utilities(steps) {this.steps = steps}
  def mvn(args) { "${steps.tool 'Maven'}/bin/mvn -o ${args}"

which might be accessed like this from a script:

@Library('utils') import
def utils = new Utilities(steps)
node {
  utils.mvn 'clean package'

If you need to access env or other global variables as well, you could pass these in explicitly in the same way, or simply pass the entire top-level script rather than just steps:

class Utilities {
  static def mvn(script, args) { "${script.tool 'Maven'}/bin/mvn -s ${script.env.HOME}/jenkins.xml -o ${args}"

The above example shows the script being passed in to one static method, so it could be accessed like this:

@Library('utils') import static*
node {
  mvn this, 'clean package'

Defining global functions

You can define your own functions that looks and feels like built-in step functions like sh or git. For example, to define helloWorld step of your own, create a file named vars/helloWorld.groovy and define the call method:

// vars/helloWorld.groovy
def call(name) {
    // you can call any valid step functions from your code, just like you can from Pipeline scripts
    echo "Hello world, ${name}"

Then your Pipeline can call this function like this:

helloWorld "Joe"

If called with a block, the call method will receive a Closure object. You can define that explicitly as the type to clarify your intent, like the following:

// vars/windows.groovy
def call(Closure body) {
    node('windows') {

Your Pipeline can call this function like this:

windows {
    bat "cmd /?"

See the closure chapter of Groovy language reference for more details about the block syntax in Groovy.

Defining global variables

Internally, scripts in the vars directory are instantiated as a singleton on-demand, when used first. So it is possible to define more methods, properties on a single file that interact with each other:

// vars/acme.groovy
def setFoo(v) { = v;
def getFoo() {
def say(name) {
    echo "Hello world, ${name}"

Then your Pipeline can call these functions like this: = "5";
echo; // print 5
acme.say "Joe" // print "Hello world, Joe"

Note that a variable defined in an external library will currently only show up in Global Variables Reference (under Pipeline Syntax) after you have first run a successful build using that library, allowing its sources to be checked out by Jenkins.

Define more structured DSL

If you have a lot of Pipeline jobs that are mostly similar, the global function/variable mechanism gives you a handy tool to build a higher-level DSL that captures the similarity. For example, all Jenkins plugins are built and tested in the same way, so we might write a global function named jenkinsPlugin like this:

// vars/jenkinsPlugin.groovy
def call(body) {
    // evaluate the body block, and collect configuration into the object
    def config = [:]
    body.resolveStrategy = Closure.DELEGATE_FIRST
    body.delegate = config

    // now build, based on the configuration provided
    node {
        git url: "${}-plugin.git"
        sh "mvn install"
        mail to: "...", subject: "${} plugin build", body: "..."

With this as an internal or implicit external library, the Pipeline script will look a whole lot simpler, to the point that people who know nothing about Groovy can write it:

jenkinsPlugin {
    name = 'git'

Using third-party libraries

You may use third-party Java libraries (typically found in Maven Central) within trusted library code via @Grab. Refer to the Grape documentation for details. For example:

import org.apache.commons.math3.primes.Primes
void parallelize(int count) {
  if (!Primes.isPrime(count)) {
    error "${count} was not prime"

Libraries are cached by default in ~/.groovy/grapes/ on the Jenkins master.

Loading resources

External libraries may load adjunct files from a resources/ directory using the libraryResource step. The argument is a relative pathname, akin to Java resource loading:

def request = libraryResource 'com/mycorp/pipeline/somelib/request.json'

The file is loaded as a string, suitable for passing to certain APIs or saving to a workspace using writeFile.

It is advisable to use an unique package structure so you do not accidentally conflict with another library.

Pretesting library changes

If you notice a mistake in a build using an untrusted library, simply click the Replay link to try editing one or more of its source files, and see if the resulting build behaves as expected. Once you are satisfied with the result, follow the diff link from the build’s status page, and apply the diff to the library repository and commit.

(Even if the version requested for the library was a branch, rather than a fixed version like a tag, replayed builds will use the exact same revision as the original build: library sources will not be checked out again.)

Replay is not currently supported for trusted libraries. Modifying resource files is also not currently supported during Replay.

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