March 15, 2012 Continuous Integration

Switching to Jenkins–SVN Revision Number as the Build Number

One of the things that I really liked about the version of CCNet that I was using was the custom build labeller we were using.  It would append to a base string the SVN revision number.  Here is a snapshot of the Recent Builds widget on one of our Release Build reports:


This build server was working on the 5.2.1 branch and the most recent build was of SVN revision 40468.  This allows developer to easily communicate what build their changes or fixes are in.  So for example a tester can easily understand which build they want to download, install, and test…  That is very convenient, yes?

Jenkins does not have this feature.  In all fairness neither did CCNet, we had to write a plugin.  In this case I found a Groovy plugin for Jenkins that I used to script up a solution.  The documentation for the plugin can be found here.

I made the first build step a system Groovy step and added the following code:


Executing as a system Groovy step means this will be executed in the same JVM as Jenkins, allowing access to all the Jenkins objects…so we can alter the build display name.  The first two lines are importing the Jenkins(Hudson) packages.  The javadocs for what is available are located here.

import hudson.model.*
import hudson.util.*

The next line is a neat little trick that will give you a reference to the current build.

def build = Thread.currentThread().executable

We will first use this build object to get the workspace folder path.  This is where the build is executing out of.  We need this piece of information so that we can execute the subversion command “info” in the root of the workspace.

def workspace = build.getWorkspace()

In Groovy if you want to specify the directory from which to execute a shell command and you want to capture the command’s output the easiest way to use the Ant task exec like so:

def ant = new AntBuilder()
ant.exec(executable: "svn", outputproperty: "output", dir: workspace){
    arg(line: "info")

svnInfo = ant.project.getProperty("output")

That captured the out of the svn “info” command into the variable svnInfo.  Now we can use a regular expression to extract the revision we are currently on.  Here is some example output from an svn “info” command:

C:\Projects\Chapter33\Trunk\Build>svn info
Path: .
URL: https://va33-repo01/svn/Chapter33/Trunk/Build
Repository Root: https://va33-repo01/svn/Chapter33
Repository UUID: f1ce2e10-74e2-f14b-9613-4d7166fa18d4
Revision: 40498
Node Kind: directory
Schedule: normal
Last Changed Author: bassettt
Last Changed Rev: 40484
Last Changed Date: 2012-03-14 16:24:37 -0400 (Wed, 14 Mar 2012)

We want to extract from all that the Last Changed Rev value, and we can do that with this code:

def pattern = /Last\s+Changed\s+Rev:\s+(\d+)/
def matcher = (svnInfo =~ pattern)

def buildLabel = ‘Dev-’ + matcher[0][1]

We take the extracted value, in this example 40484, and set a variable named buildLabel to “Dev-40484”.  Lastly we set the Jenkins build display name.

println ‘setting build label for this build’


This results in a Build History widget that looks like this:



If you are familiar with Jenkins you might ask why not just use the Build Name Setter Plugin?  I would have but the svn env var Jenkins sets is often incorrect as documented here(I too see this bug).  So I wrote my own solution…  I also use variations on this to show versions of the application as the move through the build pipeline.  Instead of grabbing the build name from subversion in downstream builds I grab it from the triggering upstream build.  There are lots of interesting uses for this.

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