Quickly setup a minimal Python CI system using Jenkins and GitHub

written by Andrew Shay on 2018-09-27

This article discusses how to quickly and easily setup a Python CI system using GitHub and Jenkins.

This is useful for anyone who does not have a dedicated CI tool (Travis CI, TeamCity etc.) and just want to get something up and running with minimal effort.

When a GitHub Pull Request is "Opened", "Reopened", or a commit is made, a webhook will be sent to the Jenkins job. The Jenkins job will create a virtual environment, install several tools for running tests and linters, then run those tools against the code base. The output of the tools will be gathered and posted as a comment to the Pull Request via the GitHub API.

This was created to offer Python projects a simple and easy CI system without having to install and maintain dedicated CI software.

Requirements: Jenkins with Python 3.6, GitHub

Setup Jenkins Job

The Jenkins job is very simple and mainly consists of a single shell script.

Create a new Jenkins job and follow the configuration steps below.

Job Configuration

  • Check This project is parameterized
    • Add String Parameter
      • Name = payload
  • Check Execute concurrent builds if necessary
  • Source Code Management: None
  • Build Triggers
    • Trigger builds remotely
      • Authentication Token = github
  • Build Environment
    • Check Delete workspace before build starts
  • Build
    • Execute shell
      • Main Shell Script below
  • Post Build Actions
    • Archive artifacts
      • htmlcov/, tox_out.txt, coverage_out.txt, radon_cc_out.txt, radon_mi_out.txt, pycode_out.txt, pydoc_out.txt, vulture_out.txt, github_payload.txt, simple_ci.ini, ci.py, test_results.xml
    • Publish HTML reports
      • HTML directory to archive = htmlcov
      • Index pages[s] = index.html
      • Index page title[s] (Optional) = Code Coverage HTML Report
      • Report title = HTML Report
      • Publishing Options
        • Check the following: Keep Past HTML reports, Always link to last build, Allow missing report
    • Publish JUnit test result report
      • Test report XMLs = test_results.xml
      • Check Allow empty results

Main Shell Script

You need to update the creds for cloning the repo and posting the GitHub Comment.
You can also set Jenkins to use key authentication.
See the sections GitHub creds, Clone Repo and POST GitHub comment.

View script on GitHub

# Andrew Shay
# License MIT

/bin/cat <<EOM >$FILE

import json
import os

# -- Get and save GitHub API Payload
github_data = json.loads(os.environ['payload'])
github_str = json.dumps(github_data, sort_keys=True, indent=4)

with open("github_payload.txt", "w", encoding="utf-8") as f:

# -- Print payload description
full_name = github_data['repository']['full_name']
clone_url = github_data['repository']['clone_url']

# -- Determine if we want to operate on this payload
if 'after' in github_data and 'pull_request' in github_data:  # New commit
    commit = github_data['after']
    with open("commit.txt", "w", encoding="utf8") as f:
elif 'action' in github_data and github_data['action'] in ('opened', 'reopened'):  # Opened and Reopened Pull Requests
    commit = github_data['pull_request']['head']['ref']
    with open("commit.txt", "w", encoding="utf8") as f:




/bin/cat <<EOM >$FILE

import subprocess
import os
import sys
import configparser
import requests
import json
import base64
import shutil

def check_proc(p):
  if p.returncode:

# -- Get GitHub API Payload
github_data = json.loads(os.environ['payload'])

# -- GitHub creds
github_user = ""
github_password = ""

# -- Clone Repo
clone_url = github_data['pull_request']['base']['repo']['clone_url']
clone_url = clone_url.replace("https://", "")
clone_url = clone_url.replace("http://", "")
cmd = f"git clone https://{github_user}:{github_password}@{clone_url}"
p = subprocess.run(cmd, shell=True)

# -- Move repo contents up one level
folder_name = github_data['pull_request']['base']['repo']['name']
source = f'./{folder_name}/'
dest = './'
files = os.listdir(source)
for f in files:
    shutil.move(source+f, dest)

# -- Checkout branch or commit
with open("commit.txt", "r", encoding="utf-8") as f:
    commit = f.read().strip()
cmd = "git checkout {}".format(commit)
p = subprocess.run(cmd, shell=True)

# -- Install package reqs
cmd = "pip install -r requirements.txt"
subprocess.run(cmd, shell=True)

# -- Install CI reqs
cmd = "pip install requests radon pydocstyle coverage pycodestyle vulture tox pytest pytest-cov"
subprocess.run(cmd, shell=True)

# -- Load simple_ci.ini
config = configparser.ConfigParser()
package_path = config['Project']['package']
package_path = "./" + package_path

# -- Static Analysis Tools to run
tools = [ 
    "title": "TOX",
    "cmd": "tox",
    "file": "tox_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "COVERAGE",
    "cmd": "coverage report",
    "file": "coverage_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "RADON CC",
    "cmd": "radon cc --total-average --show-complexity -n C {}".format(package_path),
    "file": "radon_cc_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "RADON MI",
    "cmd": "radon mi --show -n C {}".format(package_path),
    "file": "radon_mi_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "PYCODESTYLE",
    "cmd": "pycodestyle --max-line-length=120 --count --statistics {}".format(package_path),
    "file": "pycode_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "PYDOCSTYLE",
    "cmd": "pydocstyle --add-ignore D400,D401,D205,D105,D107 {}".format(package_path),
    "file": "pydoc_out.txt",
    "enabled": True
    "title": "VULTURE",
    "cmd": "vulture --min-confidence 80 {}".format(package_path),
    "file": "vulture_out.txt",
    "enabled": True

# Update tools from simple_ci.ini
for tool in tools:
    section_title = tool['title'].lower()
    if section_title in config:
        section = config[section_title]
        if 'cmd' in section:
            tool['cmd'] = section['cmd']
        if 'enabled' in section:
            enabled = section['enabled'].lower()
            enabled = enabled == 'true'
            tool['enabled'] = enabled

# -- Runs tools and create GitHub comment body
github_body = "\`\`\`\n"

for tool in tools:
    if not tool['enabled']:
    r = subprocess.run(tool['cmd'], shell=True, stdout=subprocess.PIPE, stderr=subprocess.PIPE)
    output = f"########## {tool['title']} ##########\n"
    output += r.stdout.decode('utf-8') + r.stderr.decode('utf-8')
    github_body += output
    github_body += "\n\n\n\n"
    with open(tool['file'], 'w', encoding="utf-8") as f:

github_body += "\n\`\`\`"
build_url = os.environ['BUILD_URL']  # Add link to Jenkins build
github_body += "\n{}".format(build_url)

# -- Add GitHub Commit
github_body += "\nCommit/Branch: {}".format(commit)

# -- POST GitHub comment
payload = {
    "body": github_body,
headers = {
    'Content-Type': "application/json",
    'Cache-Control': "no-cache",

comment_url = github_data['pull_request']['_links']['comments']['href']
response = requests.post(comment_url, json=payload, headers=headers, auth=auth)


python3 ./quick_test.py

if [ -f $FILE ]; then
  virtualenv env
  . ./env/bin/activate

  pip install requests

  python3 ./ci.py

Python Project Setup

This CI system requires a specific project structure as well as a file called simple_ci.ini that allows the CI system to be configured.

Project Structure

The project will be structured like the pypa/sample project.
The following should be in the root of the repo:

  • Directory containing the project source code (PROJECT_SRC/)
  • Directory containing the tests for the project (tests/)
  • simple_ci.ini (Discussed later)
  • tox.ini (Discussed later)
  • requirements.txt
  • setup.py

Here is a sample layout of a possible project


Create simple_ci.ini

This is a simple file that configures the CI system.
There is very little that is required, but more can be added to configure each tool. It should be in the root of the repo.

Minimal Required sample

Here is the minimal required sample, where PROJECT_SRC is the name of the directory containing the Python project source code.


package = PROJECT_SRC

Full Configuration Sample

Here is a sample that shows the full possible configuration.
It shows the commands that the CI system runs by default.

Note: In this sample, {} is replaced with Project -> ./package however you need to fully specify the command.


package = my_project

cmd = tox
enable = True

cmd = coverage report
enable = True

[radon cc]
cmd = radon cc --total-average --show-complexity -n C {}
enable = True

[radon mi]
cmd = radon mi --show -n C {}
enable = True

cmd = pycodestyle --max-line-length=120 --count --statistics {}
enable = True

cmd = pydocstyle --add-ignore D400,D401,D205,D105,D107 {}
enable = True

cmd = vulture --min-confidence 80 {}
enable = True

simple_ci.ini Description


package = Name of directory in the root of the repo containing the python source code for the project (PROJECT_SRC)

cmd = CLI command to run for tool
enable = True or False. When False, the tool will not run and no output will be shown for the tool.

Setup tox

Tox is a tool used to execute tests against multiple python environments.
Your project should have tox.ini in the root of the repo.

Here is a minimal sample (change --cov to equal to name of the project's source package, PROJECT_SRC)

envlist = py36

install_command = pip install {opts} {packages}
commands =
    pytest --tb=native --cov=PROJECT_SRC --junit-xml=test_results.xml --cov-report html tests/

Setup GitHub Webhook

On your repo webpage on GitHub, follow the following steps to configure the Webhook.

  • Settings tab > Hooks & Services
  • Add webhook
  • PayLoad URL = JENKINS_JOB_URL/buildWithParameters?token=github
  • Content Type = form urlencoded
  • Secret = github
  • Select Let me select individual events.
    • Check Pull request
  • Check Active
  • Click Add webhook

Tools Executed

What the Jenkins Job saves

For each build you can view the following

  • Code Coverage HTML report via HTML Report link on the left menu
  • JUNIT test results html report via Test Result link on the left menu
  • The following files are saved as Jenkins Build Artifacts which can be seen on the middle of the page for build
    • simple_ci.ini
    • github_payload.txt - GitHub API data
    • Output of each tool e.g. tox_out.txt, radon_cc.out etc
    • and more

How it works

  • GitHub webhook sends Pull Request JSON payload to Jenkins job
  • Jenkins job
    • Clones repo
    • Checkouts commit/branch
    • Loops through tools to execute
    • Appends tool output to GitHub comment body
    • Saves output of each tool to own file
    • Saves output of each tool as Jenkins build artifacts (as well as other files)
    • Posts GitHub comment to Pull Request

Potential Future Enhancements

  • Run manually with a given GitHub URL and commit/branch
  • Support other project structures eg All code in root repo
  • Editing the GitHub comment instead of making a new comment


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