Interacting with builds in Jenkins

This page documents what kind of information GROMACS builds provide in Jenkins, how to access it, and how to interact with the builds (e.g., trigger new ones). This also covers how the builds appear when reported back to Gerrit for builds triggered from there.


  • General information about what a build does and how is typically available on the project page in Jenkins (i.e., one level up from an individual build). Additional documentation is available at Understanding Jenkins builds (what the builds do), Workflow build overview (what the workflow builds do) and Jenkins configuration (on how Jenkins is configured).

  • The Changes section on any build summary page typically shows the changes that the build contains. For builds triggered from Gerrit, this is the title of the commit in Gerrit. For manually triggered builds, this is generally the newest change from the gromacs repository that is included in the build. To see the full list of changes across all repositories (across all three repositories), look at the console log. For workflow jobs, some of this information is also available on the build summary page under Built revisions, but this does not always include the commit titles.

  • Because of interplay between the three repositories and the Jenkins configuration, it is not always possible for old changes to get a green build from Jenkins. A typical case is if change X has been merged to gromacs, and change Y to regressiontests, and tests added/changed in Y need X to pass. In such a case, any changes whose git ancestry does not include change X will get an unstable vote, even if they earlier passed Jenkins verification. So if you get seemingly unrelated errors when uploading new versions of old changes, please check whether rebasing solves the issue.

    Also, no particular effort is put into maintaining releng backwards compatibility over long periods of time if such a rebasing need already exists. This means that your build may also fail with mysterious Python errors from releng if the API has changed, if such a rebasing need exists and your change is particularly old.

Triggering builds

Gerrit automatically triggers builds for any change uploaded. This includes changes uploaded to regressiontests and releng, but the set of builds triggered depends on the repository. For any change, the build will be done with the change from Gerrit, combined with the latest merged change from the other repositories. For verifying simultaneous changes to more than one repository (most commonly, gromacs and one of the others), see manual triggering below.

For drafts, Jenkins has to be added manually as reviewer so that Jenkins sees the change. It will start reviewing from the next patch set you upload to the draft, or you can trigger a build manually (see below).

If a change from Gerrit does not automatically trigger a build (e.g., because Jenkins was down when you uploaded your change), you can manually recreate the event using Query and Trigger Gerrit Patches on Jenkins main page.

If a change from Gerrit got built, but there was a technical/temporary problem with the build, you can use Rebuild or Rebuild All links on the build summary page. This will do the build again and post the results again to Gerrit. Rebuild builds only the build where it was clicked (it uses the results of the other, already done builds when reporting back). Rebuild All rebuilds all the triggered builds, in case all or most of them had problems. It is not possible to rebuild only a part of the matrix job.

On-demand builds

Some types of builds are not automatically triggered from Gerrit when a patch set is uploaded, but instead need to be requested with a specifically formatted comment in Gerrit. The general format for the comment is [JENKINS] followed by keywords for the build(s) requested. This mechanism can also be used for cross-verification, i.e., verifying a different combination of changes than what is triggered by default. The general format is:

[JENKINS] [ Cross-verify <NNNN> [quiet] | release-<YYYY> ] [<builds>]

If Cross-verify is specified, it builds the current change together with the latest patch set of change number NNNN from Gerrit (should be from another project). If quiet is not specified, results are posted back to both changes (the NNNN change only if it is still open), but the vote is not affected. For cross-verification with releng changes, the [JENKINS] comment needs to be posted in the releng change to ensure that the correct releng scripts are used throughout the build.

If release-<YYYY> (name of a release branch) is specified, it builds the current change together with release branch HEADs from other repositories. This only makes sense for releng changes, where it should be run at least once before merging if there is a possibility that the changes impact builds in the release branches. These do not run automatically (at least for now) to reduce peak load, and make testing releng changes easier (since in many cases, the test builds that are actually interesting will only run after the matrix builds have been cleared from the queue).

If neither of the above is specified, then the requested builds are built for this change.

With any of the above variants, possible builds are:

  • Coverage: Triggers a coverage build.
  • clang-analyzer: Triggers the per-patchset clang static analysis build.
  • cppcheck: Triggers the per-patchset cppcheck static analysis build.
  • Documentation: Triggers the per-patchset documentation build.
  • Package: Triggers a packaging build. When triggered from a source or a regression tests change, packages that repository. When triggered from releng, packages both.
  • Pre-submit: Triggers a matrix build with the pre-submit matrix specified in the gromacs repository.
  • Post-submit: Triggers a matrix build with the post-submit matrix specified in the gromacs repository.
  • Release: Triggers a release workflow build for testing the release process. If no-dev is also specified (as Release no-dev), the workflow builds the tarballs without -dev suffixes for actually doing a release.
  • Uncrustify: Triggers the per-patchset uncrustify code style checker build.
  • Update: When triggered from a regressiontests change, generates reference data for tests that are missing it, and uploads those back to Gerrit.
  • Update-regtest-hash: When triggered from a source change, generates the latest release-versioned regressiontests tarball for that branch, and updates the MD5 in the source repository to match this tarball.

More than one build can be requested with a single comment; the keywords should be separated by whitespace. When the requested builds complete, a link to the build is posted back. In case there is just a single build, the link points directly to it. If there are multiple, the link points to a workflow build and the individual builds can be accessed through links on the build summary page (some types of builds execute directly as part of the workflow, and all information is accessible directly from the build summary page).

If no builds are specified, a default set of builds is triggered. For cross-verification (including the release branch variant) from releng, it triggers all per-patchset builds. Otherwise, only the pre-submit matrix build is triggered.

There can be also other content in the Gerrit comment that requests a build. The [JENKINS] tag must appear at the start of a paragraph, and that paragraph as a whole will be interpreted as keywords intended for Jenkins.

Manual triggering

To manually trigger a build (e.g., for testing job configuration changes), use Build with Parameters on the project page, for the same builds that are triggered from Gerrit. Enter the refspecs (like refs/changes/53/2053/1) for the combination you want to build. This will not report anything back to Gerrit. The refspec for changes in Gerrit is of the form refs/changes/MM/NNMM/PP, where NNMM is the number of the change and PP is the patch set number. You can see the refspec, e.g., in the download links on the change page. Depending on how the job does the checkout, Jenkins may again need to be added as a reviewer for draft changes before manual triggering is possible.

Individual build types

These sections specify details of particular build types.

Matrix builds

Current matrix/multi-configuration builds are actually composed of two different Jenkins jobs: a triggering workflow build (see Matrix build launcher), and a child matrix build. Normally, a link to the child matrix build gets posted to Gerrit, and it mostly looks like a normal matrix build. Only if the triggering workflow job fails, you will get a link to it.

Failed tests and compiler errors/warnings are aggregated on the matrix build summary page across all configurations, and you can navigate to individual issues through these links. If this is not sufficient to understand why the build fails/is unstable, you can check the console output of individual configuration builds by clicking on the build ball in the configuration matrix.

To retrigger a build triggered from Gerrit, you will need to navigate to the parent workflow job. You will find the link towards the top of the build summary page, as “Started by upstream project … build number NNN”, and clicking on the build number will take you to the parent build. You can also retrigger the job directly from the dropdown that is available next to the build number link.

Similarly, to trigger a matrix build manually, you will need to do that for the workflow job.



clang static analyzer

The build summary page shows the number of warnings/issues found in the console output of the analyzer. You can see the individual issues through the link. Note that issues reported from code in the header are not handled well by the tools we use, and we ignore those, but they are still shown in this list.

The build is unstable only if there are issues found from source files (not headers). Details on each issue is accessible through Analysis Report link on the left. This also includes the steps that the analyzer thinks leads to the issue.


Summary of the changes is visible on the build summary page, and individual issues can be browsed by clicking on the links. The build is unstable if any issues are found.


To see the full list of issues, look at the console log.

Known issues and limitations

The following issues, limitations, and potentially confusing behavior with the current Jenkins setup are known:

  • Post-submit builds are triggered by Gerrit Trigger, but the results are not posted back to Gerrit. This is because new Gerrit versions are not compatible with the way the plugin posts the results (see JENKINS-39132).
  • If builds are aborted, some bogus errors can get reported back to Gerrit, but the build status should say ABORTED. This is because there is no reasonable way to detect in all cases whether a build got aborted or failed because of other reasons. This is related to JENKINS-28822.
  • If Jenkins gets restarted while builds triggered from Gerrit are running/queued, some of these builds may get resumed after the restart. The in-memory state of Gerrit Trigger is not properly maintained, and the vote from Jenkins only reflects the results from a subset of the builds. You can see this happening in Gerrit if there are less links to different builds than usual when Jenkins votes.

On-demand builds

  • Only one on-demand build can be run at a time for the same patch set. If you post another [JENKINS] comment to a patch set before the previous such build has finished, such a comment will get silently ignored. This is how Gerrit Trigger plugin works.
  • If an on-demand build is aborted (either manually, or because of a timeout), Jenkins votes -2 on the change in Gerrit. For all other build results (either success or failure), Jenkins does not change its vote (the pre-submit verification vote stays). This is a limitation in Gerrit Trigger (see JENKINS-38743).

Matrix builds

  • If the build was aborted, there is no visual cue in the configuration matrix for the configurations that were not yet finished by the time the build was aborted. They look exactly like configurations that were not run at all.
  • If the set of configurations has changed (in particular, if you are building a change in Gerrit that changes the configurations), the configuration matrix on the build summary page may not reflect the actual configurations used (see JENKINS-30437). You can see the actual configurations that were built and their results from the console log, and navigate to the individual configurations from there. Note, however, that the links in the console log take you to the project page, not to the individual build, so you will need to click another time to get to the actual build. The child configuration builds always have the same build number as the matrix parent.
  • If a matrix build contains configurations that are assigned to build agents that are not part of the (static) matrix node axis, these are not built. The matrix build still passes, but the triggering workflow build will detect this issue. The matrix build still shows up as successful in such a scenario, but the link posted to Gerrit says it failed.