This plugin allows you to distinguish good builds from bad builds by introducing the notion of 'promotion'.Put simply, a promoted build is a successful build that passed additional criteria (such as more comprehensive tests that are set up as downstream jobs.) The typical situation in which you use promotion is where you have multiple 'test' jobs hooked up as downstream jobs of a 'build' job. You'll then configure the build job so that the build gets promoted when all the test jobs passed successfully. This allows you to keep the build job run fast (so that developers get faster feedback when a build fails), and you can still distinguish builds that are good from builds that compiled but had runtime problems.
Another variation of this usage is to manually promote builds (based on instinct or something else that runs outside Jenkins.) Promoted builds will get a star in the build history view, and it can be then picked up by other teams, deployed to the staging area, etc., as those builds have passed additional quality criteria. In more complicated scenarios, one can set up multiple levels of promotions. This fits nicely in an environment where there are multiple stages of testings (for example, QA testing, acceptance testing, staging, and production.)
When a build is promoted, you can have Jenkins perform some actions (such as running a shell script, triggering other jobs, etc. — or in Jenkins lingo, you can run build steps.) This is useful for example to copy the promoted build to somewhere else, deploy it to your QA server. You can also define it as a separate job and then have the promotion action trigger that job.
To use this plugin, look for the "Promote builds when..." checkbox, on the Job-configuration page. Define one or a series of promotion processes for the job.
How might you use promoted builds in your environment? Here are a few use cases.
Artifact storage -- you may not want to push an artifact to your main artifact repository on each build. With build promotions, you can push only when an artifact meets certain criteria. For example, you might want to push it only after an integration test is run.
Manual Promotions - You can choose a group of people who can run a promotion manually. This gives a way of having a "sign off" within the build system. For example, a developer might validate a build and approve it for QA testing only when a work product is completed entirely. Then another promotion can be added for the QA hand off to production.
Aggregation of artifacts - If you have a software release that consists of several not directly related artifacts that are in separate jobs, you might want to aggregate all the artifacts of a proven quality to a distribution location. To do this, you can create a new job, adding a "Copy artifacts from another job" (available through Copy Artifact plugin") for each item you want to aggregate. To get a certain promotion, select "Use permalink" in the copy artifact step, then your promoted build should show up in the list of items to copy.
One of the possible criteria for promoting a build is "When the following downstream projects build successfully", which basically says if all the specified jobs successfully built (say build BD of job JD), the build in the upstream will be promoted (say build BU of job JU.)
This mechanism crucially relies on a "link" between BD and BU, for BU isn't always the last successful build. We say "BD qualifies BU" if there's this link, and the qualification is established by one of the following means:
Note that in the case #1 above, JU and JD doesn't necessarily have to have any triggering relationship. All it takes is for BD to use some fingerprinted artifacts from BU, and records those fingerprints in BD. It doesn't matter how those artifacts are retrieved either — it could be via Copy Artifact Plugin, it could be through a maven repository, etc. This also means that you can have a single test job (perhaps parameterized), that can promote a large number of different upstream jobs.
The following environment variables are added for use in scripts, etc. These were retrieved from github here.
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