CircleCI Reviews

36 Ratings
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Score 7.8 out of 101

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Dillon Welch profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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We use CircleCI to run our React tests as well as build and deploy our React code to AWS CloudFront on both staging and production.
  • Deploy to AWS
  • Integrate with GitHub
  • Ruby support
  • JavaScript support
  • YAML files require a lot of configuration for basic setup
  • Pricing outside of the free tier is pretty costly for what's offered
  • Hard to rebuild a single job in a workflow
  • Hard to setup a configuration with multiple dependencies (for example, both node and Python)
CircleCI is well suited for a small team that needs to run tests on web app codes like Ruby on Rails, React, Python, etc. It's not as well suited for larger teams as the cost quickly scales up. It's also not well suited for more complicated builds because the configuration process is pretty arcane.
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Score 7 out of 10
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We've used CircleCI for the automation of build and test for smaller scale projects, in combination with another set of tools for continual deployment, hosting and visual testing. CircleCI is a great interface for viewing and managing automated jobs and workflows, and has made the process of CI more accessible for the team as a whole.
  • Simple integration with the provided YAML template
  • Quick setup with Git repos
  • Easy to add new jobs
  • Quick integration with related visual testing tools
  • Limited options on free plan
  • Sometimes buggy when modifying jobs
  • Jump between new and old UI
Great for quick setup of new projects, but may not be the most suitable to large scale production apps (not from experience, but the level of detail may not be sufficient - at least on the free tier).
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Score 9 out of 10
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CircleCI is being used by my team as a continuous integration / continuous deployment pipeline for code and various other programmatic work. The business problems it addresses is the deployment, testing, and productionization of code supporting our main software engineering functions. Various other teams we work with also go along this pathway and use circle or other tools.
  • continuous integration
  • test driven development
  • continuous deployment
  • scope of view
  • better pricing model
  • better personalized support
CircleCI is great when you have software engineering processes that you need to take out and drastically scale and test before deployment. It works with regular code structures where there's a procedural lifecycle and where there is a need to methodically test and deploy code in an automated manner so deployments no longer need to be done by hand.
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John Grosjean profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
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Our SaaS platform has gone to a CI/CD model, and CircleCI is a critical piece in automating the building, testing, and deployment of all non-production environments. Whenever a developer needs to test something, they can trigger a build and either recycle an older dev environment or launch a new dev environment that won't interfere with any other builds. This greatly accelerates the development process, and ensures the code won't have build errors or fail tests when it does get deployed to production.
  • Automated builds! This is really why you get CircleCI, to automate the build process. This makes building your application far more reliable and repeatable. It can also run tests and verify your application is working as expected.
  • Simple. Unlike Jenkins, Teamcity, or other platforms, CircleCI doesn't need a lot of setup. It's completely hosted, so there's no infrastructure to set up. The config file does take a bit to understand, but if you follow their example and start with something small and add to it, you can get it up and going quicker than it first looks.
  • Scales easily. Again, since it's all cloud-based, you don't have to manage or scale infrastructure. Simply subscribe to the number of containers you want, and scaling up just means buying more containers.
  • No static IPs. This could cause problems if you want to enable only CircleCI to access your environment. Much of the limitations for us were around this issue, since we're in such a regulated industry.
  • The search feature needs improvement. If you're doing a lot of builds, the history can go on for pages. We didn't find it suited our needs for audits/reports as you can't search by a particular developer who triggered a build, filter for only successful builds, etc.
  • Slightly limited customization, something like Jenkins is more flexible. CircleCI used to have a very defined build process, but now with the introduction of workflows, it's gotten a lot better. I think they hit the right balance between simplicity and flexibility though. If you need a lot of integrations or other things that they don't offer, Jenkins is probably better. CircleCI isn't intended for complex applications, it's really about keeping it simple so you can focus on code development.
CircleCI is perfect for a CI/CD pipeline for an app using a standard build process. It'll take more work for a complex build process, but should still be up to the task unless you need a lot of integrations with other tools. If you have a big team and can spare someone to focus full time on just the CI/CD tools, maybe something like Jenkins is better, but if you're just looking to get your app built, tested, and delivered without a huge amount of effort, CircleCI is probably your preferred tool.
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Gabriel Samaroo profile photo
Score 4 out of 10
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We use CircleCI to allow for continuous integration across all of our software applications and environments. CircleCI allows us to build complex workflows, including steps to run pre-deploy / post-deploy scripts, execute test suites, and send slack notifications. With Circle, we can ensure code that is "broken" doesn't make it's way out, so we can be more confident that we are shipping bug-free code.
  • Multiple builds can be run at the same time in parallel.
  • The CircleCI web interface (UI/UX) is very easy to understand and use.
  • Easy Configuration to learn and use. Just a single configuration YAML file.
  • Many integrations. We use the GItHub, Slack, and DataDog integrations.
  • While configuration is easy, the config files can get very very long.
  • Price compared to some alternatives that are cheaper / free. Especially so if you are running multiple containers in parallel.
  • Have experienced numerous outages (3-5) in the last few months where CircleCI has been down.
  • Web documentation and tutorials haven't been as good as some of the competitors.
CircleCI is well suited if you, your developer, or team of developers have already worked with it in the past. They don't need to go through the learning curve of yet another Continuous Integration tool. Circle handles Continuous Integration workflows very well, including pretty complex workflows. With that said, Circle can get expensive if you need to run multiple containers in parallel and might not be as easy to setup as some alternatives, such as Jenkins.
Read Gabriel Samaroo's full review
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December 09, 2018

CircleCI is awesome

Score 9 out of 10
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We're using CircleCI to run continuous integration for both front-end and back-end components for a SaaS application. It's linked to a popular source code repository which makes integration quite easy.

Overall, the experience has been fantastic. We're a small firm, and no need for the paid plan yet. But have successfully used the tool to bootstrap for the time being. The communities are quite helpful, even for those who don't have a paid plan for premium support. Would heartily recommend to colleagues.
  • Git integration with popular providers. Github and Bitbucket for starters. Makes it super simple to get started.
  • Straightforward CI tooling. No need to spin up a CI server like Jenkins / TeamCity to get things moving.
  • Strong community forums. Ran into a bug once, and as I was on the free tier didn't have access to premium support. Was able to work out the issue via community support.
  • Bits of the caching configuration were initially a bit confusing.
  • Took a bit of time to get git submodules working properly. But that's to be expected as it's not a common denominator for most Git repositories.
  • Running local builds for diagnosing bugs can be a bit cumbersome. The docker image I recall was very much a black box, and was unclear how to interpret why I got the results I did. But again, expected. If it were not a black box, it would be trivial for other vendors to clone their functionality.
For basic CI/CD, CircleCI is the way to go. Especially for smaller projects where not a tremendous amount of complexity or build time is required.

Strongly recommend for simple projects. And will likely become a paying customer when the complexity/build time is merited.

Haven't come across scenarios where its not well suited. Perhaps for very large organizations who want full control over their CI/CD environments.
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heather collins profile photo
April 10, 2018

CI done right

Score 7 out of 10
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In our Marketing firm when we started developing custom applications for our clients, we needed a robust continuous integration and delivery solution. We used Apache Jenkins for several years before we made a push towards cloud infrastructure. For that purpose we decided to use Circle CI for testing, building and packaging our code in the Github repository. It is used by our Software development department for continuous integration.
  • Easy configuration via the Circle.yml file
  • Build concurrency helps improve parallel execution of tests.
  • CircleCI offers seamless integration with Github, hence the code commits and merges process is very smooth.
  • With their new Workflow feature rolled out, we are having issues with test result statistics not being reported correctly.
  • Recently we have experienced some major outages with CircleCI and a few performance degradations because of the AWS infrastructure that hosts the services. They had an issue with application authentication failing with Github that resulted in several problems.
In my opinion, every software development shop needs to have an adequate tool for running automated testing. CircleCI is well built for that. It is very customizable to suit any sort of development needs.
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April 30, 2018

Automation done right

Score 8 out of 10
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In our company, we develop our financial product atop the Salesforce platform. We have extensive unit test coverage that is required by Salesforce to be able to list our product in their App store. To manage our software development process we needed a robust continuous integration and delivery solution. We used Atlassian Bamboo for several years before we made a push towards cloud integration using Circle CI. Circle CI is used for testing, building and packaging our code in the Github repo. It is used by our development department for continuous integration needs.
  • Circle CI offers lots of integration mechanisms with other products like SLACK which we use extensively in our cross-team communication.
  • It has seamless integration with Github which is our main code repo, hence the code commit-and-merge process is very smooth.
  • With their newer 2.0 release, Circle CI offers build concurrency helping improve parallel execution of tests.
  • There are fewer minor kinks in the latest release of their product. The workflow feature which is supposed to spin up concurrent docker images for text execution does not report back the result statistics correctly.
  • We have often run into limits for the total number of docker images that can be spun off during an entire day.
Circle CI is important for any serious software development business that requires adequate test coverage of their code. The software offers very simple configuration mechanism via Circle.YML and is easily customizable to suit any sort of development needs. Automated testing becomes a breeze using Circle CI.

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Valeri Karpov profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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Our Engineering team uses CircleCI to run tests on every commit to GitHub, and deploy to development and production environments depending on which branch the tests were run on. Standard use case for CI/CD. CircleCI integrates tightly with GitHub to run our tests, linter, etc. automatically for every pull request and every time we merge to development and master branches.
  • GitHub integration is seamless. Never had a problem with it missing commits.
  • Robust test environment. I used Travis in the past but tests would sporadically time out for no clear reason, haven't had that happen with CircleCI
  • Poweful YAML-based configuration in the GitHub repo itself. I don't like CI tools like Semaphore that push you into managing your CI/CD through a web UI, I prefer managing a config file and never having to log in to the CI tool.
  • The "phases" their config file uses to separate out options seem very arbitrary and are not very helpful for organizing your config file
  • No way that I know of to configure which version of MongoDB you use. You have to write your own shell script to download and start MongoDB if you want a specific version.
  • Hard to access build artifacts in the UI
CircleCI is an excellent tool for generic CI/CD. It integrates well with GitHub, runs your tests, and gives you the ability to deploy when your tests succeed on a certain branch. It doesn't really offer anything more sophisticated than that, I've seen CI tools that will actually try to bisect test failures for you, CircleCI will definitely not do anything that sophisticated. But it executes well on the relatively simple (at least from a customer perspective) use case of running tests on every commit and executing special hooks when they succeed.
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Jason Crawford profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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We're an early-stage startup, and we use CircleCI to run automated tests in the cloud. In the early days, developers ran tests locally on their own development machines, but as the test suite grew, it simply took too much time. Running tests in the cloud lets us parallelize, so an hour's long test suite can run in minutes.
  • High degree of parallelization, ability to run on many containers at once.
  • Ability to customize the whole process through setup scripts.
  • Collecting of detailed test artifacts such as screenshots.
  • Really needs per-minute pricing. The static container model doesn't let us scale up/down easily.
  • The web UI is finicky and constantly frustrating.
CircleCI is a good fit for any software development organization with a large or complicated set of automated tests, especially one that uses cloud services for most of their development process (such as GitHub). It might be less appropriate if you already have a strong in-house ability to set up and manage automated test environments.
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Paul Hepworth profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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We use CircleCi as an integral to our continuous delivery pipeline across engineering. Using Circle allows us to focus on our application development. The concurrency of builds helps us split out our test suite across 15 different slices. Tight integration with GitHub allows us to easily integrate into pull request checks. While there are occasional hiccups there are way fewer problems than any other CI tool we've used in the past and we've used several different ones. Support is also pretty responsive and it's apparent that Circle is continuing to improve their product.
  • Concurrency of builds (we use 15)
  • Constant improvement to service by adding features and optimizations
  • When things go wrong their support is responsive and helpful.
  • Proactive communication about updates and breaking changes
  • Questions to account rep can sometimes take too long (for us -- > 1 day) to respond
I wonder if we are growing out of Circle. Can we increase concurrency beyond 15? While circle is helpful when things go wrong we sometimes have problems for several days in a row (recently) and each time there is some different reason that sounds like a one-off. Makes me wonder if there is something more going on.
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Ben McClure profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
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CircleCI is being used by our organization for continual integration and automated deployment of Drupal and WordPress websites to Pantheon, among many other smaller CI jobs. It is used entirely by our Development and DevOps team members. It allows us to commit a simple config file to Git that controls the way that our software gets deployed, making the tedious job of deploying changes for hundreds of websites regularly much simpler.
  • Full customization and scripting abilities. Using tools like bash scripts, SSH, and Node, running almost anything upon committing some code to GitHub becomes possible.
  • Integration with all of our favorite services. GitHub and Slack in particular are crucial to our business and CircleCI's integration is seamless and full-featured.
  • Great config file syntax. Many CI services require you to perform advanced configuration in a UI. This is fine at first (and CircleCI offers this for many options available), but when you start needing to manage a large number of projects, committing configuration changes to a Git repository is more consistent and maintainable than making the change many different times manually in a UI.
  • It would be nice if you could configure everything via the YML file. Some things are only available via YML, and some things are actually only available in the UI, and many other things have full overlap between the two. I'm sure there are good reasons for this, but this is a pretty confusing situation. For example, certain PHP versions are only available on certain Ubuntu releases. Configuring the PHP version is done via the .yml file, but configuring the Ubuntu release being used for the build has to be done in the UI. This can easily lead to things not building properly.
For relatively advanced users comfortable with YAML configuration and the GitHub workflow, I wholeheartedly recommend CircleCI and think it's perfectly suited. For people who prefer to work completely in a user interface and not edit text files, there are other solutions more suited to that scenario.
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Yasmany Cubela Medina profile photo
September 28, 2017

A great CI/CD alternative

Score 8 out of 10
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Continuous integration and continuous delivery are two of our main pillars to deliver a successful experience to our end users. So CircleCI is a key piece in this chain for automating this process and flows from earlier development stages to QA, staging and production environments. [It is also used for] Maintaining our infrastructure and cluster health with cleaning and scale tasks.
  • Pipeline
  • Docker integration
  • Innovation
  • Docker integration
  • Cloud deployment and connection integrations
  • UI
Automated tasks - handling and scheduling are two of the main features that CircleCI provides. Scenarios from testing to continuous integration and continuous delivery are fit just fine. You can generate artifacts like documentation or analytics over code and [see] how a developer performs. Integration with modern tools like docker allow you to test real-world scenarios.
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Jake Mercurio profile photo
January 18, 2017

Testing FTW!

Score 9 out of 10
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We're using CircleCI to run our suite of unit tests for a few projects (we handle end-to-end testing separately). We love that it auto-runs tests on git commits, runs our tests in parallel containers, and is configured with a simple YAML file. The UX is super clean and easy to debug when things go wrong. We're part of their beta program and they have some great features coming down the product pipeline that addresses our few headaches like their lack of support for "docker exec" (you have to use lxc-attach) and old Ubuntu containers.

We use this product every day and we're pretty happy with it.
  • Parallel testing - run your unit tests in parallel containers shared across all branches.
  • UX - When your tests fail CircleCI makes it easy to see what failed and why.
  • Configuration - whether your project runs NodeJS, PHP, Docker, Java, or whatever else you can control just about every step of the provisioning process.
  • Price - You pay by concurrent containers. We're currently using 10 to run unit test across dozens of branches for a completely reasonable price. No caches.
  • Incomplete Docker support - currently CircleCi doesn't support docker exec (although they have a workaround), which is a little frustrating for our team.
  • Old Ubuntu versions - the containers used to use Ubuntu Precise which made provisioning more difficult, but they are currently moving to Trusty Tahr.
CircleCI is well suited to any project where you have:
  • A quick provisioning process or can use a pre-configured CircleCi container
  • Have lots of unit tests and only a few integration tests
  • Use standard testing libraries like PhpUnit, Mocha, Jasmine, JUnit, etc.
  • Have a small-medium budget
  • Your test suite takes more than 5 minutes to run
Read Jake Mercurio's full review
Micah Hausler profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
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We initially implemented it for automated testing of all our private repositories, and have been overall very happy with it. We looked at using it for our open source projects, but due to the fact that it doesn't support build matrices, we ended up going with Travis CI for public projects.
  • It is very easy to set up, you can even set it up without a configuration file and it will try to infer your test runner and language.
  • It is easy to configure with a straight-forward YAML configuration.
  • It has great integration with services like Github and Slack.
  • You can easily debug broken builds by SSH-ing into the test container and quickly figure out what is going wrong.
  • There is no configuration difference for public or private repositories, CircleCi appropriately mirrors Github.
  • The pricing allows for unlimited repositories, the tiers are based on parallel builds. This is great if you have a lot of private repos.
  • I really wish CircleCI had the ability to have a build matrix (like Travis CI), for example, run my python tests against all four combinations of Python 2 and 3, and say Django 1.8 and 1.9.
  • Support is generally pretty good, but can be hit or miss on timing. I've had quick responses, and other times waited multiple days for a response.
Again, it's very well suited for teams with many private repositories, and that want to have simple configuration across projects.
Read Micah Hausler's full review
Andrew Shell profile photo
Score 10 out of 10
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We're a software as a service (SaaS) business. We're using CircleCI in our development team. Every time we push a change to GitHub it runs our unit tests and if the push was to our staging or production branches, CircleCI triggers a deployment to that environment. If the tests fail I'm sent an e-mail and the deployments only get triggered if the tests pass.
  • Easy to configure via a YAML file
  • Sends email notifications without the use of external services
  • Not only runs our tests, but also triggers our deployments
  • It would be great to be able to specify different versions of PHP to test with and configure options for each. So we could test with our current production version which needs to pass before we deploy, but also test with a newer version of PHP if we're planning on migrating to it. This way we'd know if someone pushed code that isn't future compatible.
The main use I have for CircleCI is triggering deployments automatically and running the tests prior to that and making sure that work is required. I could see implementing other checks down the road or even running JavaScript build scripts before deploying. It's also nice to automatically run tests when someone submits a pull request on GitHub, the integration shows right away if the PR is going to break anything.
Read Andrew Shell's full review
Austin Riendeau profile photo
January 12, 2017

Fast and Easy CI

Score 9 out of 10
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I use Circle CI for continuous integration and delivery. It runs all of the tests and builds before our code ever sees production. It also notifies GitHub before we merge the code. I also utilize the use of Docker which Circle CI supports fully and makes running clean builds easier.
  • Clean user experience
  • Docker support
  • Fast and easy
  • Clean documentation
  • Faster builds
  • Non-GitHub support
I have yet to find a good example of when not to use Circle CI unless you are building mobile applications. It is not best suited for that at this time. I think TravisCI is the best currently for iOS builds. I use it currently for Go and Node applications.
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Gregory Ratner profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
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We use CircleCI for continuous integration and deployment at Troops. It builds all of our feature branches (PRs) as well as our major branches and automatically triggers deployments to both QA and production environments. We also run unit and integration tests as well as code coverage in CircleCI. It is primarily used by the Engineering team.
  • It's easy to get started
  • It's very quick to automate builds regardless of dependencies or technology
  • It integrates well with GitHub as well as other tools
  • Speed of builds - I wish you could upgrade to a larger VMs
For complicated builds that take a really long time and require specific performance considerations, CircleCI might not be the best choice. Right now there is one size fits all VM that does that build and the only performance upgrade that it offers is an ability to run parts of the build in parallel. This is not always possible, depending on your build system.
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Dmitry Sadovnychyi profile photo
Score 9 out of 10
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[It is being used for] running the test suite on each commit and deploying different versions.
  • Really easy to set it up, supports most of the languages out of the box
  • Free to use with some limitations
  • Easier key management
If you use popular languages and frameworks you definitely should give it a try – it's very easy to set it up.
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Ken Yee profile photo
Score 8 out of 10
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CircleCI was used to handle the build process for Raizlabs' Android, iOS, and web applications. It was used by the entire organization except for Xamarin apps which we built on our internal build server using Mac Minis that were unfortunately also used for videoconferencing. Using CircleCI let us outsource the management of the build servers so we didn't have to worry about them running out of space or slowing down videoconferencing.
  • CircleCI let us use someone else's infrastructure.
  • The circle.yml file for configuring a build was liked a lot more by our users because it was easy to use.
  • CircleCI is one of the few companies that can do iOS builds.
  • CircleCI does not support Xamarin builds...that prevented us from moving all our build infrastructure to CircleCI.
  • CircleCI's Android containers didn't always have the most updated SDKs so we frequently had to include updating SDKs as part o the build process.
CircleCI is best suited for smaller companies that don't have time to manage their build infrastructure and their entire source repository is also on a third party provider such as github or bitbucket. For larger companies who want to have more control over their build servers, it may not be as appropriate.
Read Ken Yee's full review

About CircleCI

CircleCI in San Francisco offers an eponymous build automation platform.
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