Learn how to work with global properties in DSL Groovy script, and how to handle missing properties.

If you are not familiar with Jenkins Job DSL, this post may be a good starting point;


When you are working with main Groovy script, all Jenkins environment variables are available as so called properties. Properties, because you main script is more than just a similar shell script, in fact you are working with an instance of a Groovy class, that’s why there are properties. For example, you can read the value of Jenkins’ BUILD_NUMBER environment variable in DSL script like this

String buildNumber = ${BUILD_NUMBER}

Very convenient way to read any environment variable. Additionally you can use EnvInject plugin and inject more environment variables to the build job.

Missing Properties

But what happens if environment variable is not defined? In that case corresponding property will not be defined as well, so if you try to read that property, you will get a runtime error.

println "${NO_SUCH_PROPERTY}"

So what do you do if you really want to read the variable first and if it’s not there just use sensible default? For example

String rubyVersion = ${RUBY_VERSION} ?: "2.0"

First thing you may try is to use hasProperty method which is a member of any Groovy class.

// 'this.' can be dropped
println this.hasProperty("RUBY_VERSION") ? "Yes, has property!" : "No such property"
println this.metaClass.hasProperty("RUBY_VERSION") ? "Yes, has property!" : "No such property"

This code will not throw a runtime error. The problem is that hasProperty will always return false.


All is not lost though. Each Jenkins DSL script has a reference to so called “bindings”. Apparently, bindings are used to bind all the environment variables and make them available for the script. Additionally bindings include references to things like standard output, which will come handy later on.

def configuration = new HashMap()
def binding = getBinding()

That’s all you have to do to get the script bindings. Now you can access environment variables in a safe way.

String buildNumber = configuration["BUILD_NUMBER"]
String rubyVersion = configuration["RUBY_VERSION"] ?: "2.0"

If the property is not defined, the return value is null and your code will fallback to a default value.

Standard Output

As I mentioned before, bindings also bind such things as standard output. By default println statements will work only when called from the body of the main script. If you use packages and other classes in your DSL, logging from other modules via println statement will not work, will not yield any output to console to be more specific.

* Logger utility class
class Logger {
    // Default standard output
    private static out = System.out

    * Set standard output
    * @param out Standard output
    public static setOutput(out) {
        this.out = out

    * Log a message
    * @param message Message
    public static log(String message) {

// Get proper standard output from bindings
def configuration = new HashMap()
def binding = getBinding()

// Set working stdout for Logger

// Log all you want
Logger.log("This message will work in any module!")

Of course it makes no sense to declare Logger class in the body of the main script. Proper way is to factor it out into a separate file and import the package instead. I plan to have a write up on advanced DSL with classes and packages.

blog comments powered by Disqus


17 May 2015


Mobile CI