GitLab CI/CD include examples

You can use include to include external YAML files in your CI/CD jobs.

Include a single configuration file

To include a single configuration file, use either of these syntax options:

  • include by itself with a single file, which is the same as include:local:

    include: '/templates/.after-script-template.yml'
    
  • include with a single file, and you specify the include type:

    include:
      remote: 'https://gitlab.com/awesome-project/raw/main/.before-script-template.yml'
    

Include an array of configuration files

You can include an array of configuration files:

  • If you do not specify an include type, the type defaults to include:local:

    include:
      - 'https://gitlab.com/awesome-project/raw/main/.before-script-template.yml'
      - '/templates/.after-script-template.yml'
    
  • You can define a single item array:

    include:
      - remote: 'https://gitlab.com/awesome-project/raw/main/.before-script-template.yml'
    
  • You can define an array and explicitly specify multiple include types:

    include:
      - remote: 'https://gitlab.com/awesome-project/raw/main/.before-script-template.yml'
      - local: '/templates/.after-script-template.yml'
      - template: Auto-DevOps.gitlab-ci.yml
    
  • You can define an array that combines both default and specific include type:

    include:
      - 'https://gitlab.com/awesome-project/raw/main/.before-script-template.yml'
      - '/templates/.after-script-template.yml'
      - template: Auto-DevOps.gitlab-ci.yml
      - project: 'my-group/my-project'
        ref: main
        file: '/templates/.gitlab-ci-template.yml'
    

Use default configuration from an included configuration file

You can define a default section in a configuration file. When you use a default section with the include keyword, the defaults apply to all jobs in the pipeline.

For example, you can use a default section with before_script.

Content of a custom configuration file named /templates/.before-script-template.yml:

default:
  before_script:
    - apt-get update -qq && apt-get install -y -qq sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev nodejs
    - gem install bundler --no-document
    - bundle install --jobs $(nproc)  "${FLAGS[@]}"

Content of .gitlab-ci.yml:

include: '/templates/.before-script-template.yml'

rspec1:
  script:
    - bundle exec rspec

rspec2:
  script:
    - bundle exec rspec

The default before_script commands execute in both rspec jobs, before the script commands.

Override included configuration values

When you use the include keyword, you can override the included configuration values to adapt them to your pipeline requirements.

The following example shows an include file that is customized in the .gitlab-ci.yml file. Specific YAML-defined variables and details of the production job are overridden.

Content of a custom configuration file named autodevops-template.yml:

variables:
  POSTGRES_USER: user
  POSTGRES_PASSWORD: testing_password
  POSTGRES_DB: $CI_ENVIRONMENT_SLUG

production:
  stage: production
  script:
    - install_dependencies
    - deploy
  environment:
    name: production
    url: https://$CI_PROJECT_PATH_SLUG.$KUBE_INGRESS_BASE_DOMAIN
  rules:
    - if: $CI_COMMIT_BRANCH == $CI_DEFAULT_BRANCH

Content of .gitlab-ci.yml:

include: 'https://company.com/autodevops-template.yml'

image: alpine:latest

variables:
  POSTGRES_USER: root
  POSTGRES_PASSWORD: secure_password

stages:
  - build
  - test
  - production

production:
  environment:
    url: https://domain.com

The POSTGRES_USER and POSTGRES_PASSWORD variables and the environment:url of the production job defined in the .gitlab-ci.yml file override the values defined in the autodevops-template.yml file. The other keywords do not change. This method is called merging.

Override included configuration arrays

You can use merging to extend and override configuration in an included template, but you cannot add or modify individual items in an array. For example, to add an additional notify_owner command to the extended production job’s script array:

Content of autodevops-template.yml:

production:
  stage: production
  script:
    - install_dependencies
    - deploy

Content of .gitlab-ci.yml:

include: 'autodevops-template.yml'

stages:
  - production

production:
  script:
    - install_dependencies
    - deploy
    - notify_owner

If install_dependencies and deploy are not repeated in the .gitlab-ci.yml file, the production job would have only notify_owner in the script.

Use nested includes

You can nest include sections in configuration files that are then included in another configuration. For example, for include keywords nested three deep:

Content of .gitlab-ci.yml:

include:
  - local: /.gitlab-ci/another-config.yml

Content of /.gitlab-ci/another-config.yml:

include:
  - local: /.gitlab-ci/config-defaults.yml

Content of /.gitlab-ci/config-defaults.yml:

default:
  after_script:
    - echo "Job complete."

Use nested includes with duplicate includes entries

Introduced in GitLab 14.8

Nested includes can include the same configuration file. The duplicate configuration file is included multiple times, but the effect is the same as if it was only included once.

For example, with the following nested includes, where defaults.gitlab-ci.yml is included multiple times:

  • Contents of the .gitlab-ci.yml file:

    include:
      - template: defaults.gitlab-ci.yml
      - local: unit-tests.gitlab-ci.yml
      - local: smoke-tests.gitlab-ci.yml
    
  • Contents of the defaults.gitlab-ci.yml file:

    default:
      before_script: default-before-script.sh
      retry: 2
    
  • Contents of the unit-tests.gitlab-ci.yml file:

    include:
      - template: defaults.gitlab-ci.yml
    
    unit-test-job:
      script: unit-test.sh
      retry: 0
    
  • Contents of the smoke-tests.gitlab-ci.yml file:

    include:
      - template: defaults.gitlab-ci.yml
    
    smoke-test-job:
      script: smoke-test.sh
    

The final configuration would be:

unit-test-job:
  before_script: default-before-script.sh
  script: unit-test.sh
  retry: 0

smoke-test-job:
  before_script: default-before-script.sh
  script: smoke-test.sh
  retry: 2

Use variables with include

Version history

In include sections in your .gitlab-ci.yml file, you can use:

In GitLab 14.5 and later, you can also use:

For example:

include:
  project: '$CI_PROJECT_PATH'
  file: '.compliance-gitlab-ci.yml'

For an example of how you can include these predefined variables, and the variables’ impact on CI/CD jobs, see this CI/CD variable demo.

Use rules with include

Version history

You can use rules with include to conditionally include other configuration files.

You can only use the following rules with include (and only with certain variables):

  • if rules. For example:

    include:
      - local: builds.yml
        rules:
          - if: $INCLUDE_BUILDS == "true"
      - local: deploys.yml
        rules:
          - if: $CI_COMMIT_BRANCH == "main"
    
    test:
      stage: test
      script: exit 0
    
  • exists rules. For example:

    include:
      - local: builds.yml
        rules:
          - exists:
              - file.md
    
    test:
      stage: test
      script: exit 0
    

rules keyword changes is not supported.

You cannot use needs: to create a job dependency that points to a job added with include:local:rules. When the configuration is checked for validity, GitLab returns undefined need: <job-name>. An issue exists to improve this behavior.

Use include:local with wildcard file paths

Version history

You can use wildcard paths (* and **) with include:local.

Example:

include: 'configs/*.yml'

When the pipeline runs, GitLab:

  • Adds all .yml files in the configs directory into the pipeline configuration.
  • Does not add .yml files in subfolders of the configs directory. To allow this, add the following configuration:

    # This matches all `.yml` files in `configs` and any subfolder in it.
    include: 'configs/**.yml'
    
    # This matches all `.yml` files only in subfolders of `configs`.
    include: 'configs/**/*.yml'