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Custom Distribution Service : Phase 2 Blogpost

Sladyn Nunes
August 9, 2020

Hello everyone, It is time to wrap up another successful phase for the custom distribution service project, and we have incorporated most of the features that we had planned at the start of the phase. It has been an immense learning curve for me and the entire team.

To understand what the project is about and the past progress, please refer to the phase one blogpost here.


Filters for Plugins

In the previous phase we implemented the ability to add plugins to the configuration, and the ability to search these plugins via a search bar. Sometimes though we would like to filter these plugins based on their usage, popularity, stars etc. Hence we have added a certain set of filters to these plugins. We support only four major filters for now. They are:

  1. Title

  2. Most installed

  3. Relevance

  4. Trending

Filter implementation

The major heavy lifting is done by the plugin api which takes in the necessary parameters and returns the relevant plugins in the form of a json object, here is an example of the api call url: const url =$params.

For details, see:

  • Feature request #9

  • Pull Request #76

Community Configurations

One major deliverable for the project was the ability for users to share the configurations developed by them, so that they can be used widely within the community. For example we see quite a lot of jenkins configurations involve being run on AWS and kubernetes and so on. Therefore it would be really good for the community to have a place to find and run these configurations right out of the box.


Design Decision

The major design decision taken here was whether to include the configurations inside the repository or to have them in a completely new repository. Let us talk about both these approaches.

Having the configurations in the current repository:

This allows us to have all of the relevant configurations inside the repository itself, and so users would not have to go fetch this in different repositories. We could have issues with the release cycle and dependencies since, it would have to happen along with the custom distribution service project releases.

Having the configurations in a different repository:

This allows us to manage all of the configurations and the relevant dependencies separately and easily, thus avoiding any release conflict with the current repository. However it would be a bit difficult if users were to not find this repository.

Decision : We still cannot quite agree on what is the best method so for now, I have included the url from which the community configurations are picked up as a configuration variable in the .env file which can be configured later and therefore it can be up to the user to configure. Another advantage of having it configurable, is that the user can decide to load configurations which are private to his organization as well.

For details, see:


War Generation

The ability to generate and download war files has finally been achieved, the reason this feature took so long to complete is because we had some difficulty in implementing the war generation and its tests. However this has been completed and can now be tested successfully.

Things to take care while generating war files

In its current state the war generation cannot include casc.yml or groovy files if they are included in the configuration they would have to be added externally. There is an issue opened here. The war file generation would yell at you if you tried to build a war file with a jcasc file configuration.

For details, see:

Pull Request Creation

This feature was included in the design document that I created after my GSoC selection. It involves the ability to create pull requests via the front-end of the service. The User Story behind this feature was that If I want to share a configuration with the community and I do not quite know how to use github or I do not want to do it via the terminal. This feature includes creation of a bot that handles the creation of pull requests in the repository. This bot would have to be installed by the jenkins organization in this repository and the bot would handle the rest.

For details, see:


This feature has however been put on the back-burner for now because we are focusing on getting the project to be self hosted and therefore would like to implement this once we have a clear path for the project to be hosted by the jenkins-infra team.If you would like to participate in the discussion here are the links for the pull requests, PR 1 and link: PR 2, or you can even jump in our gitter channel.

If you have been following my posts, I mentioned in my second week blog post that pulling in the json file consisting of more than 1600 plugins took a bit more time that my liking. We managed to solve that issue using a caching mechanism, so now the files are pulled in the first time you start the service and downloaded in a temporary folder. The next time you want to view the plugin cards they are pulled in directly from the temp directory bam ! thereby reducing time.

For details see Pull Request #90

Fixes and improvements

Port 8080

Port 8080 now does have a message instead of a whitelabel error message which is present by default in the spring-boot tomcat server setup. Turns out it requires overriding a particular class, and inserting a custom message

For details, see:

  • Pull Request #92

War Generation

Till now while you were generating the war file, if something went wrong during generation the service would not complain it would just swallow the error and throw back a corrupted war file, however now we have added an error support feature that will alert you when something goes wrong, the error is not very informative as of now, but we are working on making it more informative in the future.

For details, see:

  • War generation error handling #91

  • Add Github controller and jwt helper #66


One of the major milestones of this phase was to have a project that can be self hosted, needless to say we needed the dockerfile i.e docker-compose.yml to spin the project with a few commands. The major issue we faced here was that there was a bit of a problem making the two containers talk to each other. Let me give you a little bit of context here. Our docker-compose is constructed using two separate dockerfiles one for the backend of the service and the other for the front-end. The backend makes api calls to the front-end via the proxy url i.e localhost:8080. We now had to change this since the network bridge between the two containers spoke to each other via the backend-server name i.e app-server. To bridge that gap we have this PR that ensured that the docker compose works flawlessly.

For details, see:

  • Pull Request #82

However there is a minor draw-back of the above approach was now the entire project just relied on the docker compose and could not run using the simple combination of npm and maven since the proxy was different. In order to fix this I decided to follow a multiple environment approach, where we have multiple environment files that pick up the correct proxy and insert it at build time, to elaborate further we have two environment files, (using the env-cmd library ) .env and the docker.env and we insert, the correct file depending on how you want to build the project. For instance if you want to run it using the dockerfile the command that is run under the hood is something along these lines — npm --env-cmd -f docker.env start scripts.

For details, see:

  • Pull Request #88

About the author

Sladyn Nunes

Sladyn is a Computer Science student at Mumbai University, India. He is participating in Community Bridge 2019 to provide development tools to JCasC plugin in the form of IDE integrations, schema architecture improvements and configuration extension points Configuration as Code Plugin.