2019-01-21-gitlab-ci-cd-features-improvements.html.md.erb 10.8 KB
Newer Older
1
---
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
2
title: "GitLab CI/CD's 2018 highlights"
3 4
author: Jason Lenny
author_twitter: j4lenn
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
5
author_gitlab: jlenny
6
categories: company
Jason Lenny's avatar
Jason Lenny committed
7
image_title: '/images/blogimages/cicd-2018_blogimage.jpg'
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
8
description: "We move quickly, always with an eye to the future, but let's take a moment to look back on how GitLab CI/CD has evolved in the past six months."
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
9
tags: CI, community, features, inside GitLab, open source
10 11
just_commit_button_text: 'See how <strong>GitLab can help your team</strong> scale app deployment!'
just_commit_button_link: '/webcast/scalable-app-deploy/'
12
twitter_text: "Read @gitlab's perspective on how CI/CD has evolved in the second half of 2018"
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
13
postType: product
14 15
---

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
16
Hello everyone, and happy New Year! For those who don't know me, my name is [Jason Lenny](/company/team/#j4lenn) and I've been the product manager of GitLab CI/CD since around the middle of last year. 2018 was a big year for CI/CD improvements in GitLab, and I'm so proud of our team and what we've been able to deliver in partnership with you, our users. Even just looking back on the last six months of improvements, we've delivered a ton of changes that move our vision for CI/CD forward, address important asks from our users, and build the foundation for an amazing 2019.
17

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
18
Below are a few of the highlights from my time here so far; be sure to let me know in the comments if I missed something that meant a lot to you.
19

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
20
## Access control for GitLab Pages
Jason Lenny's avatar
Jason Lenny committed
21

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
22
One of the most amazing things about working for an open core company like GitLab is that our community of users can play an outsized role in how our product grows and develops, thanks to their always impressive contributions. Last year we introduced [Access control for Pages (11.5)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/33422), a feature with 304 👍 that was actually part of our 2019 vision, and was built thanks to a significant community contribution from MVP [Tuomo Ala-Vannesluoma](https://gitlab.com/tuomoa).
23

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
24
This was not just a great feature, but also highlights how GitLab and community contributors can work together to do amazing things. It came out shortly after I joined as a new product manager here, and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities inherent in working together transparently and openly with our user community. Now I don't think I could ever go back to any other way of working.
25

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
26
## Feature flags
27

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
28
I'm always looking for ways to expand our horizons and bring more great capabilities into the CI/CD space, and the team achieved that last year with [Allow users to create and manage feature flags for their applications (11.4)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee/issues/6220). A major piece of our 2018 vision, feature flags are so important to continuous delivery workflows since they allow you to safely isolate delivering your code to production, from the moment users engage with it, giving you more control and better options when it comes to how and when you deliver software.
29

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
30
![CI/CD feature flags](images/blogimages/cicd-feature_flags.png){: .shadow.medium.center}
31

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
32
## Pipelines for merge requests
33

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
34
Sometimes, what you do in one year may be valuable on its own, but it also helps establish a foundation for more in the future. A common request from the community last year had been to make pipelines more aware of merge requests, so that at runtime, information such as the target branch, merge request name and ID, and other information was available to the pipeline. In 2018 we introduced [`only/except: merge_requests` for merge request pipelines (11.6)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/15310), which created this linkage. One great way to take advantage of this feature already is to use it to only create [Review Apps](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/ci/review_apps/) on merge requests, helping to save money on environments versus creating them for every pipeline.
35

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
36
Perhaps even more exciting than this feature on its own, is that it will continue to evolve and grow into the ability to [Run a pipeline on what the merged result will be](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee/issues/7380). I can already say with confidence that this will be a game changer for teams that want to prioritize keeping their `master` branch green. As far as predicting the future outside of GitLab, I'm still accepting merge requests for that 😉
37

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
38
![pipelines for merge requests](images/blogimages/cicd-mr_pipelines.png){: .shadow.medium.center}
39

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
40
## Usability improvements for the merge request widget
41

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
42
Speaking of merge requests, in general the team has made a lot of improvements to how the merge request widget interacts with CI/CD. We added [JUnit XML Test Summary (11.2)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/45318), part of our 2018 vision to make testing a more interactive part of the CI pipeline. We also now [Show enhanced information on running deploys (11.5)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/25140), and [Link directly to changed pages in Review App (11.5)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/33418), which uses [Route Maps](https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/ci/environments.html#go-directly-from-source-files-to-public-pages-on-the-environment) to send you directly to the updated content. Both of these changes were welcome improvements that made it much easier to see what was going on, all in one place.
43

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
44
![CI/CD review app link](images/blogimages/cicd-reviewapp_link.png){: .shadow.medium.center}
45 46 47

## #movingtogitlab

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
48 49 50
[#movingtogitlab](https://twitter.com/hashtag/movingtogitlab?src=hash) was an exciting movement in 2018, and I wanted to ensure a great experience for everyone checking us out, even if they were just trying out GitLab CI or other features, and still using GitHub for repositories. One of the challenges that people ran into early on was the way status checks were named by GitLab CI, which didn't play nicely with the way GitHub expected them to work. The team was able to introduce [Name status checks consistently to support GitHub-integrated CI workflow (11.5)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/53902) as a change to unblock this, ensuring a valuable experience for everyone, even if you weren't ready to go "all in" on GitLab yet.

<%= partial "includes/blog/content-newsletter-cta", locals: { variant: "a" } %>
51 52 53

## Stewardship

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
54
Here at GitLab, we take [stewardship of open source](/company/stewardship/) seriously. I was very happy to move the `include:` keyword from paid to free, because I know how important it is for CI/CD users to support proper reuse instead of copy-pasted code. [Move "include external files in .gitlab-ci.yml" from Starter to Core (11.4)](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/42861) (with a grand total of 267 👍 on the issue) achieved this, and opened up new doors, not just for avoiding duplication, but also for more secure ways of implementing common workflows by moving compliance, security, and governance job implementation to a centrally controlled location.
55

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
56
## Honorable mentions
57

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
58
There wasn't enough time to cover everything in this post without making it a mile long, but there are a few other honorable mentions I want to call out:
59

60
- [11.2: Manually stopping environments](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/25388) (with 245 👍 from our users) added the ability to manually stop your environments, such as review apps, instead of only through pipeline automation.
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
61
- [11.3: Improve handling of includes in `.gitlab-ci.yml` to better enable script reuse/templates](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/51521) introduced a new way to `extend` your job definitions using templates, including from across different files.
62
- [11.4: Run jobs only/except when there are changes for a given path or file](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/19232) (with a whopping 424 👍) gave you the ability to control whether a job runs or not, based on which files were changed.
Jason Lenny's avatar
Jason Lenny committed
63 64 65
- [11.4: Add support for interactive web terminal to Docker executor](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-runner/issues/3467) let you connect an interactive to a build/deploy environment and troubleshoot on the live runner host.
- [11.4: Add timed deployments to AutoDevOps incremental rollouts](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ee/issues/7545) enabled new deployment strategies where the rollout was done over time in phases.
- [11.5: `parallel` job keyword to speed up pipelines](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/21480) added an easy way to run parallel instances of a job without creating duplicate jobs in your `gitlab-ci.yml`.
Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
66
- [11.6: Allow pipelines to be deleted by project owners](https://gitlab.com/gitlab-org/gitlab-ce/issues/41875) (265 👍) gave control over removing old and invalid pipelines, as well as those which may have accidentally included sensitive information in the outputs.
67

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
68
## What's next?
69

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
70
Of course, the mission to improve GitLab CI/CD doesn't stop here. We're bringing [Brendan O'Leary](/company/team/#olearycrew) on board as the full-time product manager for CI (what we call the [Verify stage](/stages-devops-lifecycle/verify/)), freeing me up to focus entirely on CD (what we call [Release](/stages-devops-lifecycle/release/)). We're also significantly growing headcount for the engineering teams supporting us. Having full-time product managers and larger teams dedicated to each of these stages is going to allow us to deliver even more amazing things, even faster.
71

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
72
I've touched on a couple points above, but tried to avoid making this a preview of what's coming for CI/CD in 2019. If you're interested in where Brendan and I are headed, you can visit our direction pages for [Verify (CI)](/direction/verify/) and [Release (CD)](/direction/release/), and feel free to reach out to us directly if you'd like to have a conversation – we'd love to chat about your ideas. Being a transparent, open core company, we also welcome participation in all of our public issues (which you'll find linked to from the above direction pages). For me, the best part of this job is interacting with you, the users of GitLab, so thank you for that opportunity. Here's to another great year of working together to make the job of delivering software fun and rewarding!
73

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
74
## Just one more thing...
75

Rebecca Dodd's avatar
Rebecca Dodd committed
76
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention how great GitLab is as a place to work. If you're interested in joining our all-remote team, we're constantly growing and looking for great PMs and others to join us. Check out [our jobs page](/jobs) to learn more. I'd encourage you to apply even if you don't see an exact match – GitLab is great at finding the right fit for the right personality, even if that's not exactly listed on our hiring website. If you're really unsure, feel free to reach out to me directly ([@j4lenn](https://twitter.com/j4lenn)) and I'll help you get in touch with the right person.
77 78 79 80 81 82

----

Cover image by [Michał Parzuchowski
](https://unsplash.com/@mparzuchowski) on [Unsplash](https://unsplash.com/photos/dmH3NWhYTHQ)
{: .note}