New features in GitLab, including Merge Requests and GitOps
Published on feb 16, 2023
GitLab has released further point versions of its DevOps software package, with versions 15.3 through 15.9 emerging on a monthly basis. Among the highlights of these releases are GitLab’s first machine-learning-powered feature for improving merge request approvals, as well as significant improvements to GitOps, improvements to IdP, and new functionality for DAST.
Merges are blocked until external checks are passed
It is now possible to block merging until these external status checks have been completed by many organizations, for example to verify code and artifacts against external compliance and security tools.
Self-managed GitLab support for SCIM
It was previously available on GitLab.com, and now the 15.8 release brings this functionality to self-managed instances of the System for Cross-domain Identity Management (SCIM).
Migrating a Direct Transfer Project
On GitLab.com, it is now possible to migrate projects directly between instances, or within the same instance, without having to manually export and import data. The process is made more efficient and also ensures that user associations are not changed to the user migrating the project, preserving the original authors’ comments on migrated projects.
DAST Analyzer Now Available in the Browser
Deploying Google Cloud with Cloud Seed
GitLab Cloud Seed enables Google Cloud customers to migrate projects quickly and efficiently, leveraging Google Cloud services such as Service Accounts, Cloud Run, and Cloud SQL via automation.
Issues within tasks
Tasks can now be created within issues. Previously, tasks could only be listed inside an issue using a markdown-formatted list, but with this new feature, tasks can be assigned, labelled, and managed independently.
Free GitOps on multiple branches
The GitOps functionality used to perform pull-based deployments is now available for free – it was previously only available in the paid tiers. In this way, smaller teams can get started with a GitOps deployment model without incurring any additional costs. Moreover, since version 15.7 it is now possible to deploy from outside the default branch, allowing GitOps deployments to ephemeral environments
Review of merge requests has been streamlined
When reviewing a merge request, you can now perform other actions such as approving the request directly from the comment area, using GitLab’s quick actions (such as /approve and /assign_reviewer). The labor involved in reviewing merge requests is reduced as a result.
Flexibility in the approval process
In GitLab, merge requests can be approved using approval rules, but these previously had to be applied to all branches. Therefore, developers working on less important branches (for example, those created for feature requests) were subject to the same approval rules as those working on protected branches. The policy is now relaxed, with administrators able to apply rules selectively to certain branches.
Reporting on DORA metrics
It is now possible to query performance based on the well-known DORA metrics through GitLab insights, allowing leaders to track improvements and understand trends related to the DORA metrics.
GitLab now recommends reviewers based on the project’s previous contributors, utilizing Machine Learning technology for the first time. The beta version of this functionality is currently being rolled out to customers gradually.
VS Code’s CI/CD integration has been improved
With GitLab Workflow, changes to CI/CD workflows can be validated directly within Visual Studio Code. As workflows become more complex, admins are able to check in more detail that their changes will be effective before pushing them.
Linux runners with greater power
A medium and large instance size is now available on GitLab’s SaaS product. In this way, users are able to run their CI/CD jobs on faster servers, thus reducing the time it takes to validate changes.
As well as the new features listed above, there have been a number of smaller enhancements and fixes. As a comment on the 15.7 release, @laubstein from Sao Paolo in Brazil tweeted:
This release contains several great “little” features that will improve our pipeline experience. Thank you for the gift and for keeping @gitlab such a valuable tool.
It is now possible to download GitLab 15.8 from GitLab.com. There are also release notes for GitLab 15.3, 15.4, 15.5, 15.6, 15.7 and 15.8, and GitLab 15.9 is expected on February 22nd.
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