Contributor and Development Docs
Learn the processes and technical information needed for contributing to GitLab.
This content is intended for members of the GitLab Team as well as community contributors. Content specific to the GitLab Team should instead be included in the Handbook.
For information on using GitLab to work on your own software projects, see the GitLab user documentation.
For information on working with the GitLab APIs, see the API documentation.
For information about how to install, configure, update, and upgrade your own GitLab instance, see the Administrator documentation.
- Set up the GitLab development environment with the GitLab Development Kit (GDK)
GitLab contributing guide
Issues workflow for more information about:
- Issue tracker guidelines.
- Feature proposals.
- Issue weight.
- Regression issues.
- Technical or UX debt.
Merge requests workflow for more
- Merge request guidelines.
- Contribution acceptance criteria.
- Definition of done.
- Style guides
- Implement design & UI elements
- Issues workflow for more information about:
- GitLab Architecture Overview
- Rake tasks for development
- Guide on adapting existing and introducing new components
- Code review guidelines for reviewing code and having code reviewed
- Database review guidelines for reviewing database-related changes and complex SQL queries, and having them reviewed
- Secure coding guidelines
- Pipelines for the GitLab project
- GitLab core team & GitLab Inc. contribution process
- Security process for developers
- Patch release process for developers
- Guidelines for implementing Enterprise Edition features
- Adding a new service component to GitLab
- Guidelines for changelogs
- Danger bot
- Requesting access to ChatOps on GitLab.com (for GitLab team members)
Development guidelines review
When you submit a change to the GitLab development guidelines, who you ask for reviews depends on the level of change.
Wording, style, or link changes
Not all changes require extensive review. For example, MRs that don't change the content's meaning or function can be reviewed, approved, and merged by any maintainer or Technical Writer. These can include:
- Typo fixes.
- Clarifying links, such as to external programming language documentation.
- Changes to comply with the Documentation Style Guide that don't change the intent of the documentation page.
If the MR proposes changes that are limited to a particular stage, group, or team, request a review and approval from an experienced GitLab Team Member in that group. For example, if you're documenting a new internal API used exclusively by a given group, request an engineering review from one of the group's members.
After the engineering review is complete, assign the MR to the Technical Writer associated with the stage and group in the modified documentation page's metadata. If the page is not assigned to a specific group, follow the Technical Writing review process for development guidelines.
Some changes affect more than one group. For example:
- Changes to code review guidelines.
- Changes to commit message guidelines.
- Changes to guidelines in feature flags in development of GitLab.
- Changes to feature flags documentation guidelines.
In these cases, use the following workflow:
Request a peer review from a member of your team.
Request a review and approval of an Engineering Manager (EM) or Staff Engineer who's responsible for the area in question:
- User Experience (UX)
- Technical Writing
You can skip this step for MRs authored by EMs or Staff Engineers responsible for their area.
If there are several affected groups, you may need approvals at the EM/Staff Engineer level from each affected area.
After completing the reviews, consult with the EM/Staff Engineer author / approver of the MR.
If this is a significant change across multiple areas, request final review and approval from the VP of Development, the DRI for Development Guidelines, @clefelhocz1.
After all approvals are complete, assign the MR to the Technical Writer associated with the stage and group in the modified documentation page's metadata. If the page is not assigned to a specific group, follow the Technical Writing review process for development guidelines. The Technical Writer may ask for additional approvals as previously suggested before merging the MR.
Introduced in GitLab 14.1.
As a reviewer or as a reviewee, make sure to familiarize yourself with the reviewer values we strive for at GitLab.
UX and Frontend guides
- GitLab Design System, for building GitLab with existing CSS styles and elements
- Frontend guidelines
- Emoji guide
- Directory structure
- GitLab EventStore to publish/subscribe to domain events
- GitLab utilities
- Newlines style guide
- Dealing with email/mailers
- Kubernetes integration guidelines
- Code comments
- Windows Development on GCP
- FIPS compliance
- Ruby upgrade guidelines
Things to be aware of
- Gotchas to avoid
- Avoid modules with instance variables, if possible
- Guidelines for reusing abstractions
- Ruby 3 gotchas
Rails Framework related
- Rails initializers
- Mass Inserting Models
- Issuable-like Rails models
- Issue types vs first-class types
- DeclarativePolicy framework
- Rails update guidelines
- API style guide for contributing to the API
- GraphQL API style guide for contributing to the GraphQL API
GitLab components and features
- Developing against interacting components or features
- Manage feature flags
- Licensed feature availability
- Accessing session data
- How to dump production data to staging
- Geo development
- Redis guidelines
- Sidekiq guidelines for working with Sidekiq workers
- Working with Gitaly
- Elasticsearch integration docs
- Working with merge request diffs
- Approval Rules
- Repository mirroring
- Uploads development guide
- Auto DevOps development guide
- Renaming features
- Code Intelligence
- Feature categorization
- Wikis development guide
- Image scaling guide
- Cascading Settings
- Shell commands in the GitLab codebase
- Value Stream Analytics development guide
- Application limits
- Working with the GitHub importer
- Import/Export development documentation
- Test Import Project
- Group migration
- Export to CSV
Shell Scripting guides
- Performance guidelines for writing code, benchmarks, and certain patterns to avoid.
- Caching guidelines for using caching in Rails under a GitLab environment.
- Merge request performance guidelines for ensuring merge requests do not negatively impact GitLab performance
- Profiling a URL or tracking down N+1 queries using Bullet.
- Cached queries guidelines, for tracking down N+1 queries masked by query caching, memory profiling and why should we avoid cached queries.
See database guidelines.
- Integrations development guide
- Jira Connect app
- Security Scanners
- Secure Partner Integration
- How to run Jenkins in development environment
- How to run local
Codesandboxintegration for Web IDE Live Preview
Internationalization (i18n) guides
Product Intelligence guides
- Licensing for ensuring license compliance
Technical Reference by Group
Other Development guides
- Defining relations between files using projections
- Reference processing
- Compatibility with multiple versions of the application running at the same time
- Features inside
- Dashboards for stage groups
- Preventing transient bugs
- GitLab Application SLIs
- Spam protection and CAPTCHA development guide