Pipelines for the GitLab project

Pipelines for https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab and https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-foss (as well as the dev instance’s mirrors) are configured in the usual .gitlab-ci.yml which itself includes files under .gitlab/ci/ for easier maintenance.

We’re striving to dogfood GitLab CI/CD features and best-practices as much as possible.


The current stages are:

  • sync: This stage is used to synchronize changes from https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab to https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-foss.
  • prepare: This stage includes jobs that prepare artifacts that are needed by jobs in subsequent stages.
  • test: This stage includes most of the tests, DB/migration jobs, and static analysis jobs.
  • post-test: This stage includes jobs that build reports or gather data from the test stage’s jobs (e.g. coverage, Knapsack metadata etc.).
  • review-prepare: This stage includes a job that build the CNG images that are later used by the (Helm) Review App deployment (see Review Apps for details).
  • review: This stage includes jobs that deploy the GitLab and Docs Review Apps.
  • qa: This stage includes jobs that perform QA tasks against the Review App that is deployed in the previous stage.
  • post-qa: This stage includes jobs that build reports or gather data from the qa stage’s jobs (e.g. Review App performance report).
  • notification: This stage includes jobs that sends notifications about pipeline status.
  • pages: This stage includes a job that deploys the various reports as GitLab Pages (e.g. https://gitlab-org.gitlab.io/gitlab/coverage-ruby/, https://gitlab-org.gitlab.io/gitlab/coverage-javascript/, https://gitlab-org.gitlab.io/gitlab/webpack-report/).

Default image

The default image is defined in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/blob/master/.gitlab-ci.yml.

It includes Ruby, Go, Git, Git LFS, Chrome, Node, Yarn, PostgreSQL, and Graphics Magick.

The images used in our pipelines are configured in the gitlab-org/gitlab-build-images project, which is push-mirrored to https://dev.gitlab.org/gitlab/gitlab-build-images for redundancy.

The current version of the build images can be found in the “Used by GitLab section”.

Default variables

In addition to the predefined variables, each pipeline includes default variables defined in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/blob/master/.gitlab-ci.yml.

Common job definitions

Most of the jobs extend from a few CI definitions defined in .gitlab/ci/global.gitlab-ci.yml that are scoped to a single configuration parameter.

Job definitionsDescription
.default-tagsEnsures a job has the gitlab-org tag to ensure it’s using our dedicated runners.
.default-retryAllows a job to retry upon unknown_failure, api_failure, runner_system_failure, job_execution_timeout, or stuck_or_timeout_failure.
.default-before_scriptAllows a job to use a default before_script definition suitable for Ruby/Rails tasks that may need a database running (e.g. tests).
.default-cacheAllows a job to use a default cache definition suitable for Ruby/Rails and frontend tasks.
.use-pg9Allows a job to use the postgres:9.6.17 and redis:alpine services.
.use-pg10Allows a job to use the postgres:10.12 and redis:alpine services.
.use-pg11Allows a job to use the postgres:11.6 and redis:alpine services.
.use-pg9-eeSame as .use-pg9 but also use the docker.elastic.co/elasticsearch/elasticsearch:6.4.2 services.
.use-pg10-eeSame as .use-pg10 but also use the docker.elastic.co/elasticsearch/elasticsearch:6.4.2 services.
.use-pg11-eeSame as .use-pg11 but also use the docker.elastic.co/elasticsearch/elasticsearch:6.4.2 services.
.as-if-fossSimulate the FOSS project by setting the FOSS_ONLY='1' environment variable.


We’re using the workflow:rules keyword to define default rules to determine whether or not a pipeline is created.

These rules are defined in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/blob/master/.gitlab-ci.yml and are as follows:

  1. If $FORCE_GITLAB_CI is set, create a pipeline.
  2. For merge requests, create a pipeline.
  3. For master branch, create a pipeline (this includes on schedules, pushes, merges, etc.).
  4. For tags, create a pipeline.
  5. If $GITLAB_INTERNAL isn’t set, don’t create a pipeline.
  6. For stable, auto-deploy, and security branches, create a pipeline.
  7. For any other cases (e.g. when pushing a branch with no MR for it), no pipeline is created.

rules, if: conditions and changes: patterns

We’re using the rules keyword extensively.

All rules definitions are defined in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/-/blob/master/.gitlab/ci/rules.gitlab-ci.yml, then included in individual jobs via extends.

The rules definitions are composed of if: conditions and changes: patterns, which are also defined in https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab/-/blob/master/.gitlab/ci/rules.gitlab-ci.yml and included in rules definitions via YAML anchors

if: conditions

if: conditionsDescriptionNotes
if-not-canonical-namespaceMatches if the project isn’t in the canonical (gitlab-org/) or security (gitlab-org/security) namespace.Use to create a job for forks (by using when: on_success\|manual), or not create a job for forks (by using when: never).
if-not-eeMatches if the project isn’t EE (i.e. project name isn’t gitlab or gitlab-ee).Use to create a job only in the FOSS project (by using when: on_success|manual), or not create a job if the project is EE (by using when: never).
if-not-fossMatches if the project isn’t FOSS (i.e. project name isn’t gitlab-foss, gitlab-ce, or gitlabhq).Use to create a job only in the EE project (by using when: on_success|manual), or not create a job if the project is FOSS (by using when: never).
if-default-refsMatches if the pipeline is for master, /^[\d-]+-stable(-ee)?$/ (stable branches), /^\d+-\d+-auto-deploy-\d+$/ (auto-deploy branches), /^security\// (security branches), merge requests, and tags.Note that jobs won’t be created for branches with this default configuration.
if-master-refsMatches if the current branch is master. 
if-master-or-tagMatches if the pipeline is for the master branch or for a tag. 
if-merge-requestMatches if the pipeline is for a merge request. 
if-nightly-master-scheduleMatches if the pipeline is for a master scheduled pipeline with $NIGHTLY set. 
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-scheduleLimits jobs creation to scheduled pipelines for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com. 
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-masterLimits jobs creation to the master branch for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com. 
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-merge-requestLimits jobs creation to merge requests for the gitlab-org group on GitLab.com. 
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-and-security-tagLimits job creation to tags for the gitlab-org and gitlab-org/security groups on GitLab.com. 
if-dot-com-gitlab-org-and-security-merge-requestLimit jobs creation to merge requests for the gitlab-org and gitlab-org/security groups on GitLab.com. 
if-dot-com-ee-scheduleLimits jobs to scheduled pipelines for the gitlab-org/gitlab project on GitLab.com. 
if-cache-credentials-scheduleLimits jobs to scheduled pipelines with the $CI_REPO_CACHE_CREDENTIALS variable set. 

changes: patterns

changes: patternsDescription
yaml-patternsOnly create job for YAML-related changes.
docs-patternsOnly create job for docs-related changes.
frontend-dependency-patternsOnly create job when frontend dependencies are updated (i.e. package.json, and yarn.lock). changes.
frontend-patternsOnly create job for frontend-related changes.
backstage-patternsOnly create job for backstage-related changes (i.e. Danger, fixtures, RuboCop, specs).
code-patternsOnly create job for code-related changes.
qa-patternsOnly create job for QA-related changes.
code-backstage-patternsCombination of code-patterns and backstage-patterns.
code-qa-patternsCombination of code-patterns and qa-patterns.
code-backstage-qa-patternsCombination of code-patterns, backstage-patterns, and qa-patterns.

Interruptible jobs pipelines

By default, all jobs are interruptible, except the dont-interrupt-me job which runs automatically on master, and is manual otherwise.

If you want a running pipeline to finish even if you push new commits to a merge request, be sure to start the dont-interrupt-me job before pushing.

PostgreSQL versions testing

We follow the PostgreSQL versions Omnibus support policy:

 12.10 (April 2020)13.0 (May 2020)13.1 (June 2020)13.2 (July 2020)13.3 (August 2020)13.4, 13.513.6 (November 2020)14.0 (May 2021?)

Directed acyclic graph

We’re using the needs: keyword to execute jobs out of order for the following jobs:

graph RL; A[setup-test-env]; B["gitlab:assets:compile pull-push-cache
(canonical master only)"]; C["gitlab:assets:compile pull-cache
(canonical default refs only)"]; D["cache gems
(master and tags only)"]; E[review-build-cng]; F[build-qa-image]; G[review-deploy]; I["karma, jest"]; I2["karma-as-if-foss, jest-as-if-foss
(EE default refs only)"]; J["compile-assets pull-push-cache
(master only)"]; J2["compile-assets pull-push-cache as-if-foss
(EE master only)"]; K[compile-assets pull-cache]; K2["compile-assets pull-cache as-if-foss
(EE default refs only)"]; U[frontend-fixtures]; U2["frontend-fixtures-as-if-foss
(EE default refs only)"]; V["webpack-dev-server, static-analysis"]; M[coverage]; O[coverage-frontend]; N["pages (master only)"]; Q[package-and-qa]; S["RSpec
(e.g. rspec unit pg10)"] T[retrieve-tests-metadata]; QA["qa:internal, qa:selectors"]; QA2["qa:internal-as-if-foss, qa:selectors-as-if-foss
(EE default refs only)"]; X["docs lint, code_quality, sast, dependency_scanning, danger-review"]; subgraph "`prepare` stage" A B C F K K2 J J2 T end subgraph "`fixture` stage" U -.-> |needs and depends on| A; U -.-> |needs and depends on| K; U2 -.-> |needs and depends on| A; U2 -.-> |needs and depends on| K2; end subgraph "`test` stage" D -.-> |needs| A; I -.-> |needs and depends on| U; I2 -.-> |needs and depends on| U2; L -.-> |needs and depends on| A; S -.-> |needs and depends on| A; S -.-> |needs and depends on| K; S -.-> |needs and depends on| T; L["db:*, gitlab:setup, graphql-docs-verify, downtime_check"] -.-> |needs| A; V -.-> |needs and depends on| K; X -.-> |needs| T; QA -.-> |needs| T; QA2 -.-> |needs| T; end subgraph "`post-test` stage" M --> |happens after| S O --> |needs `jest`| I end subgraph "`review-prepare` stage" E -.-> |needs| C; end subgraph "`review` stage" G -.-> |needs| E end subgraph "`qa` stage" Q -.-> |needs| C; Q -.-> |needs| F; QA1["review-qa-smoke, review-qa-all, review-performance, dast"] -.-> |needs| G; end subgraph "`post-qa` stage" PQA1["parallel-spec-reports"] -.-> |depends on `review-qa-all`| QA1; end subgraph "`pages` stage" N -.-> |depends on| C; N -.-> |depends on karma| I; N -.-> |depends on| M; N --> |happens after| PQA1 end

Test jobs

Consult GitLab tests in the Continuous Integration (CI) context for more information.

Review app jobs

Consult the Review Apps dedicated page for more information.

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