Integrations development guide

This page provides development guidelines for implementing GitLab integrations, which are part of our main Rails project.

Also see our direction page for an overview of our strategy around integrations.

This guide is a work in progress. You’re welcome to ping @gitlab-org/ecosystem-stage/integrations if you need clarification or spot any outdated information.

Add a new integration

Define the integration

  1. Add a new model in app/models/integrations extending from Integration.
    • For example, Integrations::FooBar in app/models/integrations/foo_bar.rb.
    • For certain types of integrations, you can also build on these base classes:
      • Integrations::BaseChatNotification
      • Integrations::BaseIssueTracker
      • Integrations::BaseMonitoring
      • Integrations::BaseSlashCommands
    • For integrations that primarily trigger HTTP calls to external services, you can also use the Integrations::HasWebHook concern. This reuses the webhook functionality in GitLab through an associated ServiceHook model, and automatically records request logs which can be viewed in the integration settings.
  2. Add the integration’s underscored name ('foo_bar') to Integration::INTEGRATION_NAMES.
  3. Add the integration as an association on Project:

    has_one :foo_bar_integration, class_name: 'Integrations::FooBar'
  4. TEMPORARY: Accommodate the current migration to rename “services” to “integrations”:
    • Add the integration’s camel-cased name ('FooBar') to Gitlab::Integrations::StiType::NAMESPACED_INTEGRATIONS.

Define properties

Integrations can define arbitrary properties to store their configuration with the class method Integration.prop_accessor. The values are stored as a serialized JSON hash in the column.

For example:

module Integrations
  class FooBar < Integration
    prop_accessor :url
    prop_accessor :tags

Integration.prop_accessor installs accessor methods on the class. Here we would have #url, #url= and #url_changed?, to manage the url field. Fields stored in Integration#properties should be accessed by these accessors directly on the model, just like other ActiveRecord attributes.

You should always access the properties through their getters, and not interact with the properties hash directly. You must not write to the properties hash, you must use the generated setter method instead. Direct writes to this hash are not persisted.

You should also define validations for all your properties.

Also refer to the section Customize the frontend form below to see how these properties are exposed in the frontend form for the integration.

There is an alternative approach using Integration.data_field, which you may see in other integrations. With data fields the values are stored in a separate table per integration. At the moment we don’t recommend using this for new integrations.

Define trigger events

Integrations are triggered by calling their #execute method in response to events in GitLab, which gets passed a payload hash with details about the event.

The supported events have some overlap with webhook events, and receive the same payload. You can specify the events you’re interested in by overriding the class method Integration.supported_events in your model.

The following events are supported for integrations:

Event type Default Value Trigger
Alert event   alert A a new, unique alert is recorded.
Commit event commit A commit is created or updated.
Deployment event   deployment A deployment starts or finishes.
Issue event issue An issue is created, updated, or closed.
Confidential issue event confidential_issue A confidential issue is created, updated, or closed.
Job event   job  
Merge request event merge_request A merge request is created, updated, or merged.
Comment event   comment A new comment is added.
Confidential comment event   confidential_note A new comment on a confidential issue is added.
Pipeline event   pipeline A pipeline status changes.
Push event push A push is made to the repository.
Tag push event tag_push New tags are pushed to the repository.
Vulnerability event   vulnerability A new, unique vulnerability is recorded.
Wiki page event wiki_page A wiki page is created or updated.

Event examples

This example defines an integration that responds to commit and merge_request events:

module Integrations
  class FooBar < Integration
    def self.supported_events
      %w[commit merge_request]

An integration can also not respond to events, and implement custom functionality some other way:

module Integrations
  class FooBar < Integration
    def self.supported_events

Customize the frontend form

The frontend form is generated dynamically based on metadata defined in the model.

By default, the integration form provides:

  • A checkbox to enable or disable the integration.
  • Checkboxes for each of the trigger events returned from Integration#configurable_events.

You can also add help text at the top of the form by either overriding Integration#help, or providing a template in app/views/shared/integrations/$INTEGRATION_NAME/_help.html.haml.

To add your custom properties to the form, you can define the metadata for them in Integration#fields.

This method should return an array of hashes for each field, where the keys can be:

Key Type Required Default Description
type: string true   The type of the form field. Can be text, textarea, password, checkbox, or select.
name: string true   The property name for the form field. This must match a prop_accessor defined on the class.
required: boolean false false Specify if the form field is required or optional.
title: string false Capitalized value of name: The label for the form field.
placeholder: string false   A placeholder for the form field.
help: string false   A help text that displays below the form field.

Additional keys for type: 'checkbox'

Key Type Required Default Description
checkbox_label: string false Value of title: A custom label that displays next to the checkbox.

Additional keys for type: 'select'

Key Type Required Default Description
choices: array true   A nested array of [label, value] tuples.

Additional keys for type: 'password'

Key Type Required Default Description
non_empty_password_title: string false Value of title: An alternative label that displays when a value is already stored.
non_empty_password_help: string false Value of help: An alternative help text that displays when a value is already stored.

Frontend form examples

This example defines a required url field, and optional username and password fields:

module Integrations
  class FooBar < Integration
    prop_accessor :url, :username, :password

    def fields
          type: 'text',
          name: 'url',
          title: s_('FooBarIntegration|Server URL'),
          placeholder: '',
          required: true
          type: 'text',
          name: 'username',
          title: s_('FooBarIntegration|Username'),
          type: 'password',
          name: 'password',
          title: s_('FoobarIntegration|Password'
          non_empty_password_title: s_('FooBarIntegration|Enter new password')

Expose the integration in the API


To expose the integration in the REST API:

  1. Add the integration’s class (::Integrations::FooBar) to API::Helpers::IntegrationsHelpers.integration_classes.
  2. Add all properties that should be exposed to API::Helpers::IntegrationsHelpers.integrations.
  3. Update the reference documentation in doc/api/, add a new section for your integration, and document all properties.

You can also refer to our REST API style guide.


Integrations use the Types::Projects::ServiceType type by default, which only exposes the type and active properties.

To expose additional properties, you can write a class implementing ServiceType:

# in app/graphql/types/project/services/foo_bar_service_type.rb
module Types
  module Projects
    module Services
      class FooBarServiceType < BaseObject
        graphql_name 'FooBarService'
        authorize :read_project

        field :frobinity,
            null: true,
            description: 'The level of frobinity.'

        field :foo_label,
            null: true,
            description: 'The foo label to apply.'

Each property you want to expose should have a field defined for it. You can also expose any public instance method of the integration.

Contact a member of the Integrations team to discuss the best authorization.

Reference documentation for GraphQL is automatically generated.

You can also refer to our GraphQL API style guide.

Availability of integrations

By default, integrations are available on the project, group, and instance level. Most integrations only act in a project context, but can be still configured from the group and instance levels.

For some integrations it can make sense to only make it available on the project level. To do that, the integration must be removed from Integration::INTEGRATION_NAMES and added to Integration::PROJECT_SPECIFIC_INTEGRATION_NAMES instead.

When developing a new integration, we also recommend you gate the availability behind a feature flag in Integration.available_integration_names.


You can provide help text in the integration form, including links to off-site documentation, as described above in Customize the frontend form. Refer to our usability guidelines for help text.

For more detailed documentation, provide a page in doc/user/project/integrations, and link it from the Integrations overview.

You can also refer to our general documentation guidelines.


It is often sufficient to add tests for the integration model in spec/models/integrations, and a factory with example settings in spec/factories/integrations.rb.

Each integration is also tested as part of generalized tests. For example, there are feature specs that verify that the settings form is rendering correctly for all integrations.

If your integration implements any custom behavior, especially in the frontend, this should be covered by additional tests.

You can also refer to our general testing guidelines.


All UI strings should be prepared for translation by following our internationalization guidelines.

The strings should use the integration name as namespace, for example, s_('FooBarIntegration|My string').

Ongoing migrations and refactorings

The Integrations team is in the process of some larger migrations that developers should be aware of.

Rename “services” to “integrations”

The “integrations” in GitLab were historically called “services”, which frequently caused confusion with our “service” classes in app/services. We sometimes also called them “project services” because they were initially only available on projects, which is not the case anymore.

We decided to change the naming from “services” and “project services” to “integrations”. This refactoring is an ongoing effort, and there are still references to the old names in some places.

Developers should be especially aware that we still use the old class names for the STI column integrations.type. For example, a class Integrations::FooBar still stores the old name FooBarService in the database. This mapping is handled via Gitlab::Integrations::StiType and should be mostly transparent to the rest of the app.

Consolidate integration settings

We want to unify the way integration properties are defined.

Integration examples

You can refer to these issues for examples of adding new integrations:

  • Datadog: Metrics collector, similar to the Prometheus integration.
  • EWM/RTC: External issue tracker.
  • Shimo: External wiki, similar to the Confluence and External Wiki integrations.
  • Webex Teams: Chat notifications.
  • ZenTao: External issue tracker with custom issue views, similar to the Jira integration.