How to integrate Gitea and Jenkins

Gitea is a web app for hosting Git repositories. It’s open source, and very simple to get running. With some extra setup, it can also trigger Jenkins builds, and display the Jenkins build status of each commit once it has been built.

Because the documentation for the Jenkins plugin is very minimalist, I decided to write about it for future reference.

About this setup

I installed Jenkins and Gitea on the same Debian 9 server on the LAN. They communicate only over HTTP, so they could just as easily be installed separately.

To make the configuration clear, I’ve used jenkins.example.com in URLs which refer to Jenkins, and gitea.example.com for the Gitea.

Gitea installation

This command will install and start the linux-amd64 version of Gitea as the user “git”.

useradd git -r --create-home && \
  mkdir /opt/gitea && chown -R git: /opt/gitea && \
  wget -O /opt/gitea/gitea https://dl.gitea.io/gitea/1.7.0/gitea-1.7.0-linux-amd64 && \
  chmod +x /opt/gitea/gitea && \
  sudo -u git bash -c "cd /opt/gitea && ./gitea web"

Shut it down, and configure some paths at /opt/gitea/custom/conf/app.ini. These will depend on your environment.

SSH_DOMAIN       = gitea.example.com
DOMAIN           = gitea.example.com
HTTP_PORT        = 3000
ROOT_URL         = http://gitea.example.com:3000/

Start it back up as a systemd service at this point, by creating /etc/systemd/system/gitea.service with this content:

[Unit]
Description=gitea
After=network.target

[Service]
ExecStart=/opt/gitea/gitea web
WorkingDirectory=/opt/gitea
User=git
Type=simple

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

Once this is saved, start the service.

systemctl daemon-reload
systemctl start gitea

Optionally, also configure it to start on boot.

systemctl enable gitea

Jenkins installation

I installed Jenkins from the official Debian repo at jenkins-ci.org, and clicked through the initial install.

Add plugin

Open up Manage JenkinsManage Plugins. Navigate to Available and check the Gitea plugin.

Next, install the plugin and restart Jenkins.

The configuration for the plugin is located under Manage JenkinsConfigure System.

At this point you will want to tell Jenkins where to find your Gitea server.

I don’t suggest choosing Manage hooks, because it uses the same account to manage hooks across all repos, which would violate the principle of least privilege.

Set up a project in Gitea

In Gitea, create a project, then a repository under that.

Register an account in Gitea for Jenkins to use for this project.

Log out, log back in as yourself, and add Jenkins as a collaborator to the repo, with Write access.

This is the only permission you need for public repositories. If you plan to lock down your Gitea organization later, then you will also need to give this Jenkins account Read access at the organization level.

Set up a project in Jenkins

Add a new Gitea Organization Jenkins job.

Enter the name of the organization, and the account to log in with.

Add the details for the new account, and make sure it’s selected.

The other options don’t need to be changed at this stage.

When you press ‘save’, Jenkins will immediately attempt to find any repositories in the Gitea organization, and kick off any builds. Unless everything is correct, this is unlikely to work the first time, so pay attention to error logs.

These three places will show what’s happening:

  • Scan Gitea Organization Log, which lists repositories in the organization.
  • Scan Multibranch Pipeline Log for each repository, which shows the discovery of branches.
  • Console output for each build, which will show errors if the build status could not be submitted.

Problems which I’ve found here include:

  • The URL of Gitea in the Jenkins configuration must match the URL to Gitea in its own configuration.
  • The Jenkins user account must have permission to list repositories, clone, and update statuses.
  • Empty repositories, and repositories without a ‘Jenkinsfile’ are ignored.

For that last step, here is an empty Jenkinsfile that you can put in your repository to test this integration:

pipeline {
    agent any

    stages {
        stage('Do nothing') {
            steps {
                sh '/bin/true'
            }
        }
    }
}

Once this is sorted out, you can expect to see your repository in Jenkins.

Every branch with a Jenkinsfile will appear.

And each time a commit is mentioned in Gitea, it will display a small icon to indicate the build status.

Set up a web hook in Gitea

At this point, builds need to be manually triggered. To trigger them each time the repository changes, we need to get a notification out to Jenkins.

Under the repository settings, click WebhooksAdd webhookGitea.

The correct values to use are:

  • URL: http://[ your jenkins server ]/gitea-webhook/post
  • POST Content Type: application/json

Once you press Add Webhook, the path will appear with a small grey dot, indicating that it hasn’t been run before.

If you click edit, then the Test Delivery button can be used to check that it’s working.

The icon indicates the status. If things aren’t working correctly, then click the delivery UUID to expand the full request information, which should help with debugging.

Final result

With Jenkins and Gitea, you have a simple self-hosted a continuous integration environment.

In Gitea, you can store, update and review your code. Any build and test steps in a Jenkinsfile will be run automatically each time the repository changes.

The detailed output for each build is visible in Jenkins, where you can track build results with a variety of plugins.

Git Introductory Material – Tips for Users, Admins and Git Champions

This is a collection of tips that I have found useful for introducing software developers to the Git version control system.

Bookmarks for reference

For users

When you say that you use Git, most developers will assume that you are familiar with the Git CLI. Regardless of whether you plan to use the CLI long-term, when you do a web search to find out something about Git, you should be prepared to read answers that apply to the Git CLI.

Since you will be asking a lot of questions in the first few weeks, you will have less work to do if you use the same interface as everybody else. Rest assured that there are plenty of graphical tools and IDE plugins that you can try out later.

Takeaway: Use the Git CLI while you are learning

If you have more than one person working with the code, then you will want to share your repository between them.

You need product that meets your budget, workflow, security and licensing needs: As of 2018, you really only need to consider GitHub, Bitbucket, Phabricator or GitLab to make a thorough comparison.

Takeaway: Demand a collaborative environment that supports ‘pull requests’

Repository admins

Aim to make your setup both beginner-friendly, and beginner-proof.

Git is not very opinionated, and has features which will support many advanced workflows. I would suggest that you save these features until you have a critical mass of experienced users who are comfortable using them. The feature-branch workflow is beginner-friendly, as long as the shared branch is never changed.

Ensure that your whole team has mastered the basics before you try to get creative.

Takeaway: Just use the feature branch workflow initially

There are a few switches that you should set in your system to prevent mistakes from disrupting users who do the right thing:

  • disable forced-push on the master branch
  • require a pull request and one approval to modify the master branch

The name of these settings will depend on the software you are hosting on, but for example, on GitHub, this is known as a “protected branch”:

These settings prevent people from re-writing history the main branch, which is bad Git etiquette. Usually people are trying to re-write history with good intentions, such as trying to scrub credentials, huge files, or other extras that were accidentally included.

Good software process aside, a lightweight code review process will make accidental changes more visible, so that you can give developers a chance to fix their mistakes without propagating them to other developers.

Takeaway: Don’t allow direct access to master

Git champions

There are a few setup steps that users may not discover on their own, which avoid common frustrations.

A classic newbie complaint about Git is that it makes you enter passwords “all the time”. This is not really true, but to give users less things to complain about, ensure that they do the initial clones over SSH.

This involves generating a key and uploading it to your hosting software. Subsequently, you will never be prompted for credentials.

Takeaway: Show users how to clone with SSH

Immediately after you make your first commit, Git will point out that the author name has not been set, suggesting that you should amend the commit. I think that the experience is far better when this is configured pro-actively:

git config --global user.name "Example Bob"
git config --global user.email "bob@example.com"

The first time that this user finds a merge conflict, they will appreciate having a graphical, point-and-click merge like meld.

Follow OS-specific instructions, then run:

git config --global difftool meld

Takeaway: Step useers through the author and difftool settings for new users.

Conclusion

The dominance of Git as a software revision control tool means that it’s worth investing some time to learn it properly.

If you get one thing out of this post, though, it’s that you shouldn’t attempt to be creative about your use of Git until you know what you are doing.

I’ve tried to avoid mentioning intermediate or advanced features in this post. As you become more comfortable with the basics, you can use the flight rules and simulator at the top of the post to discover some of the things git can do, and the situations where you might want to use each feature.

Fix merge conflicts in git with Meld

When you’re writing code collaboratively, there’s plenty of situations when you need to combine two sets of changes.

This could happen, for example, if Bob and yourself both fix different bugs by making edits to the same file.

foo

This post assumes that your source code is tracked in git.

First up, install meld. The Meld homepage has instructions for other platforms, but on Debian/Ubuntu, it’s just:

sudo apt-get install meld

Now tell git to use it as a tool:

git config --global merge.tool meld

Once you have a merge conflict, you can then fire up Meld like this:

git mergetool

For each file, you will get a 3-way diff. Click the arrows on the sides to move the code you want into the middle:

2015-10-meld

Once you’ve saved the file and closed Meld, you will be prompted on the command-line. You just tell it whether you’ve successfully merged the file, until it stops giving you new files to merge.

After this, commit the changes:

git commit

Done!

Simpler usage

If you don’t use git, you can simply call Meld from the command-line as well. This shows you differences between files in a similar window, and lets you move blocks of code around as well:

meld foo.c bar.c

Including git commit history in a LaTeX document

LaTeX is a document typesetting system, which lends itself well to use within a source-code management program such as git. I found a need to include a changelog in a document, and found this brilliant blog article by Jerel Unruh which creates a HTML log using git log.

For inclusion within a Makefile target, I re-worked this into a shell script, changes.sh, which will also auto-detect URL’s for any Github-hosted repository:

#!/bin/bash
# Find remote URL for hashes (designed for GitHub-hosted projects)
origin=`git config remote.origin.url`
base=`dirname "$origin"`/`basename "$origin" .git`

# Output LaTeX table in chronological order
echo "\\begin{tabular}{l l l}\\textbf{Detail} & \\textbf{Author} & \\textbf{Description}\\\\\\hline"
git log --pretty=format:"\\href{$base/commit/%H}{%h} & %an & %s\\\\\\hline" --reverse
echo "\end{tabular}"

The above script outputs a LaTeX table, including a hyperlink to each commit. In the pre-amble, you need:

\usepackage{hyperref}

In your Makefile, you might add something like:

changelog:
	./changes.sh > changelog.tex

The resulting changelog can then be included in the document via:

\input{changelog.tex}