Simple example of how you can use Dynamic Environments for Review Apps

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This is an example project that shows how to use Review Apps

This is a very basic project that has one static page, but it shows how to use the environments feature of GitLab and the recently introduced dynamic environments which can be used for Review Apps.

Review Apps allow you to create a new environment for each of your branches. This review app is then visible as a link when you visit the merge request for the branch. That way you are able to see all changes introduced by the merge request changes, running live.

The example here uses a set of 3 environments:

  1. production: you trigger deploys to production manually, by clicking the Production action under the Pipelines tab of your project.
  2. staging: staging is deployed automatically when changes to master get merged.
  3. review/*: the review app is created for any other branch that is pushed to GitLab.

Access the example

This project can be accessed under these addresses:

  1. production: http://production.
  2. staging: http://staging.
  3. review for merge request !1: http://update-hello-world.

The review app can be seen in Merge Request !1 which is open:

Or in Merge Request !2 which is merged:

Use it for your projects

This is a very simple example, but you can adapt it for your needs and have a page that is deployed dynamically.

To do that you have to follow these few simple steps.

  1. Install GitLab Runner

    Use shell executor and assign a few tags: nginx, review-apps, deploy.

  2. Configure your server

    The script was tested on Ubuntu 16.04:

    sudo apt-get update
    sudo apt-get install -y nginx
    sudo mkdir -p /srv/nginx/pages
    sudo chown -R gitlab-runner /srv/nginx/pages
    cat <<"EOF" | sudo tee /etc/nginx/sites-available/dynamic-pages
    server {
        listen 80;
        server_name ~^(www\.)?(?<sname>.+?).my.domain.com$;
        root /srv/nginx/pages/$sname/public;
        index index.html index.htm index.php;
        charset utf-8;
        location / {
            try_files $uri $uri/ /index.html;
        access_log /var/log/nginx/$sname-access.log;
        error_log  /var/log/nginx/pages-error.log debug;
    sudo ln -s /etc/nginx/sites-{available,enabled}/dynamic-pages
    sudo service nginx restart

    Replace my.domain.com with your wildcard DNS record

  3. Add a Secure Variable with your Domain

    Add a APPS_DOMAIN to Secure Variables with your domain, ex.: my.domain.com

  4. Modify .gitlab-ci.yml

    Check out other examples of static page generators: https://gitlab.com/groups/pages and incorporate them into .gitlab-ci.yml

You can now start pushing your changes and see them live!