Automate Jenkins job creation with DSL

28 02 2016

Jenkins job creation in Web UI is simple but still – manual creation takes time. Depending on your coding and testing practices you may find it acceptable or burdensome and costly.

Jenkins DSL allows you to define Jenkins job in groovy script file, put it on VCS and allow Jenkins to create and execute jobs based on it. The another advantage is that you get your jobs versioned along with codebase.

So… is that hard? Having Jenkins configured to build your code it requires few steps to build jobs from DSL:

1. Install Jenkins Job DSL plugin

Simple thing to begin: go to your Jenkins’ Management page, find the Job DSL plugin and install it (

2.Create the Seed Job

That is the job that will create other jobs. Do it like any other job creation: Select the ‘New Item‘, give it a name (in my case ‘dsl-demo’) and select type of ‘Build a free-style software project‘ (or ‘Freestyle project’).

Remember to configure the Code Repository url and credentials where this job will do the checkout and find the DSL script files.

3. Configure DSL scripts files location

Then in your job configuration add build step named: ‘Process Job DSLs’ (provided by Job DSL plugin). I am going to use the script files located in the filesystem (Jenkins’ workspace), versioned in my git repo. All of them will be located under the Jenkins/jobs/ directory in my VCS with the .groovy extension. So the path in my config is:


Where I have one file as for now, named:


Remember to follow naming conventions for files: script names may only contain letters, digits and underscores, but may not start with a digit

4. DSL Script file content

First of all to simply make Jenkins create the job it is sufficient to have such content in DSL script:

job('simpliest-job-ever') {
    steps {
        shell('echo hello from your automated job!')

Here I am creating the job with a name ‘simpliest-job-ever’ with one step inside. The step is using shell plugin and executing the echo command.

5. Run Seed Job

Now is the time to push the DSL file to the git server and trigger the Seed Job execution. The effect found in Jenkins console after running my Seed job was:

Processing DSL script demoJob.groovy
Added items:

So my job was created from DSL file.

6. Run newly created Job

Now, coming back to the Jenkins’ job list the new job actually is there. I did not set the triggers on it yet so I have to fire it manually.

Here is the result of executing my newly generated job, printed in Jenkins console:

Started by user LooksOK!
Building in workspace /var/lib/jenkins/jobs/simpliest-job-ever/workspace
+ echo hello from your automated 'job!'
hello from your automated job!
Finished: SUCCESS

Lovely, isn’t it? :>

Enhance your DSL script

Such a basic configuration and script file prooves that the whole thing works. Now is the time to enhance the scripts and make them creating the fully useful jobs. The plugins supported in DSL and their full documentation is here:

A list of most useful plugins is:

    • SCM to connect your Job with code repository
scm {
    • Triggers to setup the schedule on your job execution
triggers {
  scm('*/15 * * * *')
    • maven to execute maven tasks
maven('-e clean test')
    • shell to execute shell commands
shell('echo hello from your automated job!')
  • and more…

Thanks for reading, give it a try!



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