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  1. Jenkins
  2. JENKINS-41196

Pluggable core component



      There are quite a few libraries that core bundles. Some of them, such as remoting, stapler, and so on, are heavily used by plugins and systems we build on top of Jenkins core, such as Blue Ocean.

      This situation creates a class of pain for those plugins; when they need a newer feature or a bug fix in those libraries, they have to wait for multiple months before the change propagates to a version of LTS.


      If we can modify Jenkins core such that it allows any of its libraries to be shipped as plugins, then this would eliminate this class of pain altogether.


      • In plugin manifest, BO can specify the minimum core version that bundles one version of stapler, then the version of stapler it requires separately, and the latter is newer than the former
      • Jenkins admin can install a new remoting plugin in order to deploy a security fix without upgrading the whole Jenkins.
      • From users’ & administrators’ perspective, “stapler plugin” and “remoting” plugin looks no different from “git plugin” and “promoted builds plugin.”
      • In a running Jenkins JVM, there’s only one version of stapler or remoting active at any given moment.
      • Spend a reasonable engineering effort to make Jenkins robust in the face of administrators installing wrong set of plugins, old plugins, and other such situations that arise from our weak plugin manager, incompetent users, and so on. (ie, consider manual manipulation of the plugins directory)

      Acceptance criteria

      • The implementation should have enough logging on Success and non-success paths
      • The core components plugin should always require a restart when the replacement plugin is installed
      • Diagnostics things like /about or support core plugin should properly report the library versions (ideally with override references)
      • Reference implementation of Remoting plugin. Use-cases like Remoting.jar upgrade should work natively
      • Reference implementation of Stapler plugin, which should be used in another reference plugin (e.g. BlueOcean which was the original requestor)
      • Jenkins ATH, JTH and PCT should support the new mode
      • Enough test automation for the feature (Quality gate is TBD)
      • Upgrade use-cases are well tested (and automated if possible)
      • When the admin installs or updates a plugin which requires an updated core component, that core component should be included in the update.
      • When a plugin using jenkins-test-harness has a newer version of a pluggable core component in the test scope, the JenkinsRule tests should include the update pluggable core component when Jenkins starts.
      • If an updated core component lacks a classpath entry (class or resource) that was present in the original, that entry should no longer be present in the classpath.
      • In the particular case of remoting, there is slave.jar available for download. We would expect this download to be updated by a new version of the remoting pluggable core component.
      • Jenkins administrators are able to see that some core components have been upgraded or overridden in the UI.
      • If a plugin installed by the SetupWizard requires an updated core component, the SetupWizard should install this pluggable core component just as if you had installed it manually from the Available tab.
      • The administrator will be able to update core components using the 'install-plugin' CLI command.
      • A release of a pluggable core component should not be immediately available for installation in the update center.


      • Support Core plugin should be able to report overrides


      • Updated pluggable core components are not shown in the Updates tab until the user installs that pluggable component for the first time.

      Engineering Design

      Today, jenkins.war puts core and all its dependencies in WEB-INF/lib and let servlet container classloader load them all. This results in a fully populated classloader by the time Jenkins core boots up, and it makes it impossible for Jenkins to programmatically control versions of libraries to use.
      We can change this if Jenkins creates its own classloader during bootstraps, and uses its own logic to decide what jar files to put in there; mix and match from jenkins.war and $JENKINS_HOME.
      More specifically, we move everything from WEB-INF/lib to WEB-INF/jars, so that core and its dependencies are not loaded by servlet container automatically. Then place small bootstrap code in WEB-INF/lib instead, which creates a classloader that loads core, then passes on execution to hudson.WebAppMain.
      In order to allow newer versions of components to be delivered as plugins, this bootstrap process will also pick up some files from $JENKINS_HOME/plugins. The likes of remoting/stapler plugins need to have a flag in them, so that the bootstrap process can put them in the main classloader, while others like git & promoted builds are treated the same as today.
      Bootstrap code needs to be small and with as little dependencies as possible, so core component plugins need to be different enough from regular plugins. At the same time, they need to look similar enough so that our update center and plugin manager can treat them equally. A boolean entry in MANIFEST.MF would be one example that meets those two goals.
      For a similar reason, Care has to be taken to avoid breaking the core catastrophically, in the face of inevitable user mistake. One such measure could be to compare versions bundled in WEB-INF/jars against versions supplied as plugins, and if the former is newer, use that and ignore the latter.
      No additional GUI is needed, as the existing plugin manager should be sufficient.

            kohsuke Kohsuke Kawaguchi
            kohsuke Kohsuke Kawaguchi
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