1. Overview

In this article, we’ll create a Jenkins job that builds a Git project. Then, we’ll see how to select the branch we want to build. For this purpose, we’ll use the Active Choices plugin.

2. Install the Active Choices Plugin

First, we’ll install the Active Choices plugin. In Jenkins’ left panel, let’s click on Manage Jenkins:

manage jenkins

Then, in the System Configuration panel, let’s choose Manage Plugins:

manage plugins

Lastly, we go to the Available section, type Active Choices in the filter input, and tick the box:

active choices

We can now click the Install without restart button, and the installation will proceed!

3. Job Creation

Let’s now create our job and configure the branch selection.

3.1. Create a Parameterized Job

To create a job, in Jenkins’ left panel, let’s click New Item:

new item

The interface for item creation appears. Let’s call our Freestyle project Demo Git branch configuration:

job creation

We’re now on the configuration page for the job. In the General section, let’s tick the This project is parameterized checkbox. Then, we’ll open the Add Parameter dropdown and choose Active Choices Reactive Parameter:


active choices reactive parameter

After clicking, the interface for parameter configuration pops in.

3.2. Add Groovy Script to Fetch Branches

We can now configure our reactive parameter. We’ll call it branch and keep it as a Single Select:

branch parameter

Let’s now tick Groovy Script and fill in the Script section that appears with the following script:

def gitUrl = "https://github.com/eugenp/tutorials.git"
def gitBranches = "git ls-remote --heads ${gitUrl}".execute().text.readLines().collect { it.split()[1].replaceAll("refs/heads/", "") }.sort().reverse()

First, we defined the URL of the GitHub repository to checkout. Then we used the git ls-remote command to retrieve information about the remote branches of this repository. We converted this information into a collection of lines of text: every line refers to a distinct branch. The branch name is the second element in every line. Additionally, we removed the refs/heads prefix from each branch name for clarity. Eventually, we sorted the list in alphabetical order to make it user-friendly.

3.3. Configure Source Code Management

Let’s now move to the Source Code Management subsection. To end up with the job’s configuration, we need to tick Git instead of None. An interface to configure the Git Repository will show up. We’ll fill in the Repository URL: it is the same as the one we put inside the Groovy script. We also need to specify the branch to build. Since we called our reactive parameter branch, we’ll put ${branch} in this field:

source code management

We can now click the Save button at the bottom of the page, and we’re done creating the job!

4. Usage

We’ve now landed on the root page for the Demo Git branch configuration project. In the left panel, let’s click Build with Parameters:

build with parameters

We’re now asked to choose the branch to build. Our example repository has a unique master branch. Thus it is the only available option:

branch selection

5. Conclusion

In this tutorial, we’ve installed the Active Choices plugin. It helped us to create a parameterized job. Our parameter contains a list of all the branches of our GitHub repository, fetched thanks to a Groovy script. This all led us to be able to choose the branch to build when running our job.

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