Publishing Experimental Plugin Releases

One of the methods to release experimental updates is using the Plugin Installation Manager Tool combined with incremental builds:

  • The plugin installation manager tool enables easier import into an instance of Jenkins by downloading plugins and their respective dependencies into a folder.

  • It allows the administrator to use incremental builds without requiring a "beta" release.

  • The tool provides handy information about the downloaded plugns, such as available updates, security warnings, and many more.

  • This method provides the user with flexibility to create incremental versions of Jenkins core or an upstream plugin with dependencies, while providing the ability to switch between and keep track of incremental versions.

  • Using the plugin installation manager with incremental builds makes it easier to test and explore unreleased plugin versions.

The other method is to simplify the delivery of plugin beta versions to interested users. The Jenkins project publishes an experimental update center. The experimental update center includes alpha and beta versions of plugins, which aren’t usually included in the regular update center.

The experimental update center is deprecated in favor of incrementals, as described above.

Creating Experimental Plugin Releases

Plugin releases that contain alpha or beta in their version number will only appear in the experimental update site, not in the regular update center. The experimental update center also serves regular releases. Newer releases hide older releases in all update centers. For example, the release of version 1.4 will hide 1.3-beta-2 from the experimental update center.

Note that only alpha and beta strings in the version number will publish to the experimental update center. Other version strings like proto, rc, and unstable will appear in the regular update center.

Using the Experimental Update Center

Experimental Update Center is not enabled by default in Jenkins, additional steps are needed to enable it in Jenkins.

From the Web interface

Users who are interested in downloading experimental plugin releases can go to Plugin Manager, then to the Advanced tab, and configure the update center URL Submit, and then select Check Now. Experimental plugin updates will be marked as such on the Available and Updates tabs of the Plugin Manager.

Once you install the beta plugins that you wanted, you can switch back to the default update center URL. The experimental update center only offers the latest version of each plugin, even if it is incompatible with your version of Jenkins.

In Jenkins Configuration-as-Code plugin

Jenkins Configuration-as-Code plugin allows configuring update centers in configuration YAMLs. Once configured, it will be possible to install experimenta plugins and versions from the Plugin Manager Web UI.

      - id: "default"
        url: ""
      - id: "experimental"
        url: ""

In official Docker images

The official Jenkins Docker image includes plugin management scripts, which allow preinstalling plugins from the experimental update center. The container images support managing plugin versions as code, so that the administrator can define a container image including the exact plugin they require.

Refer to the Docker documentation and examples for additional information.