GitLab CI/CD script syntax

You can use special syntax in script sections to:

Use special characters with script:

Sometimes, script commands must be wrapped in single or double quotes. For example, commands that contain a colon (:) must be wrapped in single quotes ('). The YAML parser needs to interpret the text as a string rather than a “key: value” pair.

For example, this script uses a colon:

job:
  script:
    - curl --request POST --header 'Content-Type: application/json' "https://gitlab/api/v4/projects"

To be considered valid YAML, you must wrap the entire command in single quotes. If the command already uses single quotes, you should change them to double quotes (") if possible:

job:
  script:
    - 'curl --request POST --header "Content-Type: application/json" "https://gitlab/api/v4/projects"'

You can verify the syntax is valid with the CI Lint tool.

Be careful when using these characters as well:

  • {, }, [, ], ,, &, *, #, ?, |, -, <, >, =, !, %, @, `.

Ignore non-zero exit codes

When script commands return an exit code other than zero, the job fails and further commands do not execute.

Store the exit code in a variable to avoid this behavior:

job:
  script:
    - false || exit_code=$?
    - if [ $exit_code -ne 0 ]; then echo "Previous command failed"; fi;

Set a default before_script or after_script for all jobs

You can use before_script and after_script with default:

  • Use before_script with default to define a default array of commands that should run before the script commands in all jobs.
  • Use after_script with default to define a default array of commands that should run after the job completes.

You can overwrite a default by defining a different one in a job. To ignore the default use before_script: [] or after_script: []:

default:
  before_script:
    - echo "Execute this `before_script` in all jobs by default."
  after_script:
    - echo "Execute this `after_script` in all jobs by default."

job1:
  script:
    - echo "These script commands execute after the default `before_script`,"
    - echo "and before the default `after_script`."

job2:
  before_script:
    - echo "Execute this script instead of the default `before_script`."
  script:
    - echo "This script executes after the job's `before_script`,"
    - echo "but the job does not use the default `after_script`."
  after_script: []

Split long commands

You can split long commands into multiline commands to improve readability with | (literal) and > (folded) YAML multiline block scalar indicators.

caution
If multiple commands are combined into one command string, only the last command’s failure or success is reported. Failures from earlier commands are ignored due to a bug. To work around this, run each command as a separate script: item, or add an exit 1 command to each command string.

You can use the | (literal) YAML multiline block scalar indicator to write commands over multiple lines in the script section of a job description. Each line is treated as a separate command. Only the first command is repeated in the job log, but additional commands are still executed:

job:
  script:
    - |
      echo "First command line."
      echo "Second command line."
      echo "Third command line."

The example above renders in the job log as:

$ echo First command line # collapsed multiline command
First command line
Second command line.
Third command line.

The > (folded) YAML multiline block scalar indicator treats empty lines between sections as the start of a new command:

job:
  script:
    - >
      echo "First command line
      is split over two lines."

      echo "Second command line."

This behaves similarly to multiline commands without the > or | block scalar indicators:

job:
  script:
    - echo "First command line
      is split over two lines."

      echo "Second command line."

Both examples above render in the job log as:

$ echo First command line is split over two lines. # collapsed multiline command
First command line is split over two lines.
Second command line.

When you omit the > or | block scalar indicators, GitLab concatenates non-empty lines to form the command. Make sure the lines can run when concatenated.

These documents work with the | and > operators as well. The example below transliterates lower case letters to upper case:

job:
  script:
    - |
      tr a-z A-Z << END_TEXT
        one two three
        four five six
      END_TEXT

Results in:

$ tr a-z A-Z << END_TEXT # collapsed multiline command
  ONE TWO THREE
  FOUR FIVE SIX

Add color codes to script output

Script output can be colored using ANSI escape codes, or by running commands or programs that output ANSI escape codes.

For example, using Bash with color codes:

job:
  script:
    - echo -e "\e[31mThis text is red,\e[0m but this text isn't\e[31m however this text is red again."

You can define the color codes in Shell environment variables, or even custom CI/CD variables, which makes the commands easier to read and reusable.

For example, using the same example as above and environment variables defined in a before_script:

job:
  before_script:
    - TXT_RED="\e[31m" && TXT_CLEAR="\e[0m"
  script:
    - echo -e "${TXT_RED}This text is red,${TXT_CLEAR} but this part isn't${TXT_RED} however this part is again."
    - echo "This text is not colored"

Or with PowerShell color codes:

job:
  before_script:
    - $esc="$([char]27)"; $TXT_RED="$esc[31m"; $TXT_CLEAR="$esc[0m"
  script:
    - Write-Host $TXT_RED"This text is red,"$TXT_CLEAR" but this text isn't"$TXT_RED" however this text is red again."
    - Write-Host "This text is not colored"

Troubleshooting

Syntax is incorrect in scripts that use :

If you use a colon (:) in a script, GitLab might output:

  • Syntax is incorrect
  • script config should be a string or a nested array of strings up to 10 levels deep

For example, if you use "PRIVATE-TOKEN: ${PRIVATE_TOKEN}" as part of a cURL command:

pages-job:
  stage: deploy
  script:
    - curl --header 'PRIVATE-TOKEN: ${PRIVATE_TOKEN}' "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"

The YAML parser thinks the : defines a YAML keyword, and outputs the Syntax is incorrect error.

To use commands that contain a colon, you should wrap the whole command in single quotes. You might need to change existing single quotes (') into double quotes ("):

pages-job:
  stage: deploy
  script:
    - 'curl --header "PRIVATE-TOKEN: ${PRIVATE_TOKEN}" "https://gitlab.example.com/api/v4/projects"'