Recently we have selected Jenkins 2.263 as a new baseline for the LTS release line, with ETA in December 2020. It allows delivering significant and in some cases breaking changes which have been previously on hold. Beginning with the Jenkins 2.264 release on October 27, 2020, we’ve entered a period where the Jenkins weekly releases will include more significant changes than usual. That period of more significant changes is expected to continue for a month or more. As you may have seen from the release community ratings, there might be regressions and instabilities during this period.

We’re excited for the changes. They help to improve user experience and to address the technical debt accumulated in the Jenkins core. We invite Jenkins users to evaluate those changes and provide feedback. This is an especially valuable time for users and administrators to test the weekly releases and report issues with them, especially on Jenkins test environments. In the Jenkins project we have invested a lot in test coverage for the main functionality, but in many cases we rely on user feedback for exotic plugins and environments not yet covered by our test automation.

The most notable changes include:

Configuration UI - Tables to Divs

Jenkins 2.264 is the first weekly release to include the "Tables to Divs migration" user interface work of Josh Soref, Tim Jacomb, and Felix Queiruga. It is a significant step to improve forms in the Jenkins user interface (configuration pages, build parameters, etc.), especially for users on narrow devices like tablets and phones.

A better user interface

The transition from using HTML table tags to using HTML div tags provides a more attractive user interface for all users and a much better experience for users on narrower devices. Before the conversion from table tags to div tags, the "Manage Jenkins" page looked like this in a 1024x768 window:

Before the pull request

After the conversion, the "Manage Jenkins" page now looks like this:

After the pull request

The user interface improvements from the transition are a nice step forward for Jenkins. However, because the user interface improvements require changes in plugins, we need your help.

We need users to test the latest weekly Jenkins releases with the plugins and configurations that are most important to them. When users detect an issue, we need them to report the issue with enough detail that a plugin maintainer can fix the issue. Please add the tables-to-divs-regression label to the issues. The tables-to-divs-regression label makes it easier to find issues related to the tables to divs transition.

Plugin developers

Several plugins have already been identified that may need changes. See the Jira epic for plugins that are likely to need changes for the new user interface layout. The list of open tables-to-divs-regression issues can also be used to see plugins that need changes.

If you can assist with plugin testing and code changes, select one of the plugins from that epic, test it, and propose a pull request to help with this user interface transition. If you’re not comfortable proposing a pull request, describe the problems you see in a bug report.

A tables to divs migration guide is available. It describes areas that typically need to be changed as part of the migration from tables to divs. It also includes detailed examples that allow the plugin to continue supporting older Jenkins versions with table layouts and use div layouts for newer Jenkins versions.

Core - Spring Security replaces Acegi Security

The Jenkins 2.266 release on November 10, 2020 will include the migration to the Spring Security libraries from the Acegi security libraries that Jesse Glick has proposed and developed through JEP-227: Jenkins Enhancement Proposal 227.

This upgrade replaces the Acegi Security library with the current release of the Spring Security library. Details of the change are described in JEP-227 and in the pull request.

We need users to test the latest Jenkins weekly releases with their plugins and watch for issues related to authentication.

Refer to Jesse Glick’s blog post that introduces the details of the change and provides links to the Spring Security compatibility table. Jesse’s blog post provides specific instructions for those who report bugs related to this change. Please use those instructions as you submit bug reports related to the Spring Security upgrade.

Core - XStream unfork

Jenkins has been using a fork of the XStream serialization library to read and write XML files. The XStream library was forked over 10 years ago and had a few fixes applied to it. Unfortunately, at that time the fixes were rejected by the upstream maintainers of XStream (unsupported patterns of API use) and the fork fell behind the upstream version.

The Jenkins 2.266 release on November 10, 2020 will include the migration to the upstream version of the XStream library that Jesse Glick has proposed and developed through JEP-228: Jenkins Enhancement Proposal 228.

Refer to Jesse Glick’s blog post that introduces the details of the change and provides links to the XStream compatibility table. Jesse’s blog post provides specific instructions for those who report bugs related to this change. Please use those instructions as you submit bug reports related to the XStream upgrade.

UI - JQuery upgrade

Jenkins uses a 1.x version of the jQuery user interface library for some of its components. Felix Queiruga has started the work to update that library to a current jQuery version.

It will arrive in a future Jenkins weekly release. When it arrives, it will be noted in the Jenkins weekly changelog.

When the jQuery update arrives, We will need users to test the Jenkins weekly release with the plugins and configurations that are most important to them. When users detect an issue, we need them to report the issue with enough detail that a plugin maintainer can fix the issue.

Call to test

This is a great time to help the Jenkins project by testing the weekly releases. We encourage you to test the user interface and the interactions that are most important to you. If you find an issue, please report the issue so that others can benefit from your discovery.

About the Author
Mark Waite

Mark is the Jenkins Documentation Officer, a long-time Jenkins user and contributor, and maintains the git plugin and the git client plugin. He is active in Jenkins special interest groups including the Docs SIG, Platform SIG, Advocacy SIG, and Pipeline Authoring SIG.