Blog Engineering Efficient DevSecOps workflows: Hands-on python-gitlab API automation
Published on: February 1, 2023
28 min read

Efficient DevSecOps workflows: Hands-on python-gitlab API automation

The python-gitlab library is a useful abstraction layer for the GitLab API. Dive into hands-on examples and best practices in this tutorial.

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A friend once said in a conference presentation, “Manual work is a bug." When there are repetitive tasks in workflows, I tend to come back to this quote, and try to automate as much as possible. For example, by querying a REST API to do an inventory of settings, or calling API actions to create new comments in GitLab issues/merge requests. The interaction with the GitLab REST API can be done in different ways, using HTTP requests with curl (or hurl) on the command line, or by writing a script in a programming language. The latter can become reinventing the wheel again with raw HTTP requests code, and parsing the JSON responses Thanks to the wider GitLab community, many different languages are supported by API abstraction libraries. They provide support for all API attributes, add helper functions to get/create/delete objects, and generally aim to help developers focus. The python-gitlab library is a feature-rich and easy-to-use library written in Python.

In this blog post, you will learn about the basic usage of the library by working with API objects, attributes, pagination and resultsets, and dive into more concrete use cases collecting data, printing summaries and writing data to the API to create comments and commits. There is a whole lot more to learn, with many of the use cases inspired by wider community questions on the forum, Hacker News, issues, etc.

This blog post is a long read, so feel free to stick with the beginner's tutorial or skip to the advanced DevSecOps use cases, development tips and code optimizations by navigating the table of contents:

Getting started

The python-gitlab documentation is a great resource for getting started guides, object types and their available methods, and combined workflow examples. Together with the GitLab API resources documentation, which provides the object attributes that can be used, these are the best resources to get going.

The code examples in this blog post require Python 3.8+, and the python-gitlab library. Additional requirements are specified in the requirements.txt file – one example requires pyyaml for YAML config parsing. To follow and practice the use cases code, it is recommended to clone the project, install the requirements and run the scripts. Example with Homebrew on macOS:

git clone https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/gitlab-api-python.git

cd gitlab-api-python

brew install python

pip3 install -r requirements.txt

python3 <scriptname>.py

The scripts are intentionally not using a common shared library that provides generic functions for parameter reads, or additional helper functionality, for example. The idea is to show easy-to-follow examples that can be used stand-alone for testing, and only require installing the python-gitlab library as a dependency. Improving the code for production use is recommended. This can also help with building a maintained API tooling project that, for example, includes container images and CI/CD templates for developers to consume on a DevSecOps platform.

Configuration

Without configuration, python-gitlab will run unauthenticated requests against the default server https://gitlab.com. The most common configuration settings relate to the GitLab instance to connect to, and the authentication method by specifying access tokens. Python-gitlab supports different types of configuration: A configuration file or environment variables.

The configuration file is available for the API library bindings, and the CLI (the CLI is not explained in this blog post). The configuration file supports credential helpers to access tokens directly.

Environment variables as an alternative configuration method provide an easy way to run the script on terminal, integrate into container images, and prepare them for running in CI/CD pipelines.

The configuration needs to be loaded into the Python script context. Start by importing the os library to fetch environment variables using the os.environ.get() method. The first parameter specifies the key, the second parameter sets the default value when the variable is not available in the environment.

import os

gl_server = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')

print(gl_server)

The parametrization on the terminal can happen directly for the command only, or exported into the shell environment.

$ GL_SERVER=’https://gitlab.company.com’ python3 script.py

$ export GL_SERVER=’https://gitlab.company.com’
$ python3 script.py

It is recommended to add safety checks to ensure that all variables are set before continuing to run the program. The following snippet imports the required libraries, reads the GL_SERVER environment variable and expects the user to set the GL_TOKEN variable. If not, the script prints and throws errors, and calls sys.exit(1) indicating an error status.

import gitlab
import os
import sys

GITLAB_SERVER = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')
GITLAB_TOKEN = os.environ.get('GL_TOKEN')

if not GITLAB_TOKEN:
    print("Please set the GL_TOKEN env variable.")
    sys.exit(1)

We will look into a more detailed example now which creates a connection to the API and makes an actual data request.

Managing objects: The GitLab object

Any interaction with the API requires the GitLab object to be instantiated. This is the entry point to configure the GitLab server to connect, authenticate using access tokens, and more global settings for pagination, object loading and more.

The following example runs an unauthenticated request against GitLab.com. It is possible to access public API endpoints and for example get a specific .gitignore template for Python.

python_gitlab_object_unauthenticated.py

import gitlab

gl = gitlab.Gitlab()

# Get .gitignore templates without authentication
gitignore_templates = gl.gitignores.get('Python')

print(gitignore_templates.content)

The next sections provide more insights into:

Objects managers and loading

The python-gitlab library provides access to GitLab resources using so-called “managers". Each manager type implements methods to work with the datasets (list, get, etc.).

The script shows how to access subgroups, direct projects, all projects including subgroups, issues, epics and todos. These methods and API endpoint require authentication to access all attributes. The code snippet, therefore, uses variables to get the authentication token, and also uses the GROUP_ID variable to specify a main group at which to start searching.

#!/usr/bin/env python

import gitlab
import os
import sys

GITLAB_SERVER = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')
# https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/
GROUP_ID = os.environ.get('GL_GROUP_ID', 16058698)
GITLAB_TOKEN = os.environ.get('GL_TOKEN')

if not GITLAB_TOKEN:
    print("Please set the GL_TOKEN env variable.")
    sys.exit(1)

gl = gitlab.Gitlab(GITLAB_SERVER, private_token=GITLAB_TOKEN)

# Main
main_group = gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID)

print("Sub groups")
for sg in main_group.subgroups.list():
    print("Subgroup name: {sg}".format(sg=sg.name))

print("Projects (direct)")
for p in main_group.projects.list():
    print("Project name: {p}".format(p=p.name))

print("Projects (including subgroups)")
for p in main_group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True):
     print("Project name: {p}".format(p=p.name))

print("Issues")
for i in main_group.issues.list(state='opened'):
    print("Issue title: {t}".format(t=i.title))

print("Epics")
for e in main_group.issues.list():
    print("Epic title: {t}".format(t=e.title))

print("Todos")
for t in gl.todos.list(state='pending'):
    print("Todo: {t} url: {u}".format(t=t.body, u=t.target_url

You can run the script python_gitlab_object_manager_methods.py by overriding the GROUP_ID variable on GitLab.com SaaS for your own group to analyze. The GL_SERVER variable needs to be specified for self-managed instance targets. GL_TOKEN must provide the personal access token.

export GL_TOKEN=xxx

export GL_SERVER=”https://gitlab.company.com”

export GL_SERVER=”https://gitlab.com”

export GL_GROUP_ID=1234

python3 python_gitlab_object_manager_methods.py

Going forward, the example snippets won’t show the Python headers and environment variable parsing to focus on the algorithm and functionality. All scripts are open source under the MIT license and available in this project.

Pagination of results

By default, the GitLab API does not return all result sets and requires the clients to use pagination to iterate through all result pages. The python-gitlab library allows users to specify the settings globally in the GitLab object, or on each list() call. By default, all result sets would fire API requests, which can slow down the script execution. The recommended way is using iterator=True which returns a generator object, and API calls are fired on-demand when accessing the object.

The following example searches for the group name everyonecancontribute, and uses keyset pagination with 100 results on each page. The iterator is set to true on gl.groups.list(iterator=True) to fetch new result sets on demand. If the searched group name is found, the loop breaks and prints a summary, including measuring the duration of the complete search request.

SEARCH_GROUP_NAME="everyonecancontribute"

# Use keyset pagination
# https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/api-usage.html#pagination
gl = gitlab.Gitlab(GITLAB_SERVER, private_token=GITLAB_TOKEN,
    pagination="keyset", order_by="id", per_page=100)

# Iterate over the list, and fire new API calls in case the result set does not match yet
groups = gl.groups.list(iterator=True)

found_page = 0
start = timer()

for group in groups:
    if SEARCH_GROUP_NAME == group.name:
        # print(group) # debug
        found_page = groups.current_page
        break

end = timer()

duration = f'{end-start:.2f}'

if found_page > 0:
    print("Pagination API example for Python with GitLab{desc} - found group {g} on page {p}, duration {d}s".format(
        desc=", the DevSecOps platform", g=SEARCH_GROUP_NAME, p=found_page, d=duration))
else:
    print("Could not find group name '{g}', duration {d}".format(g=SEARCH_GROUP_NAME, d=duration))

Executing python_gitlab_pagination.py found the everyonecancontribute group on page 5.

$ ​​python3 python_gitlab_pagination.py
Pagination API example for Python with GitLab, the DevSecOps platform - found group everyonecancontribute on page 5, duration 8.51s

Working with object relationships

When working with object relationships – for example, collecting all projects in a given group – additional steps need to be taken. The returned project objects provide limited attributes by default. Manageable objects require an additional get() call which requests the full project object from the API in the background. This on-demand workflow helps to avoid waiting times and traffic by reducing the immediately returned attributes.

The following example illustrates the problem by looping through all projects in a group, and tries to call the project.branches.list() function, raising an exception in the try/except flow. The second example gets a manageable project object and tries the function call again.

# Main
group = gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID)

# Collect all projects in group and subgroups
projects = group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True)

for project in projects:
    # Try running a method on a weak object
    try:
       print("🤔 Project: {pn} 💡 Branches: {b}\n".format(
        pn=project.name,
        b=", ".join([x.name for x in project.branches.list()])))
    except Exception as e:
        print("Got exception: {e} \n ===================================== \n".format(e=e))

    # Retrieve a full manageable project object
    # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/groups.html#examples
    manageable_project = gl.projects.get(project.id)

    # Print a method available on a manageable object
    print("🤔 Project: {pn} 💡 Branches: {b}\n".format(
        pn=manageable_project.name,
        b=", ".join([x.name for x in manageable_project.branches.list()])))

The exception handler in the python-gitlab library prints the error message, and also links to the documentation. It is helpful to take a debugging note that objects might not be available to manage whenever you cannot access object attributes or function calls.

$ python3 python_gitlab_manageable_objects.py

🤔 Project: GitLab API Playground 💡 Branches: cicd-demo-automated-comments, docs-mr-approval-settings, main

Got exception: 'GroupProject' object has no attribute 'branches'

<class 'gitlab.v4.objects.projects.GroupProject'> was created via a
list() call and only a subset of the data may be present. To ensure
all data is present get the object using a get(object.id) call. For
more details, see:

https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/v3.8.1/faq.html#attribute-error-list
 =====================================

The full script is located here.

Working with different object collection scopes

Sometimes, the script needs to collect all projects from a self-managed instance, or from a group with subgroups, or from a single project. The latter is helpful for faster testing on the required attributes, and the group fetch helps with testing at scale later. The following snippet collects all project objects into the projects list, and appends objects from different incoming configuration. You will also see the manageable object pattern for project in groups again.

    # Collect all projects, or prefer projects from a group id, or a project id
    projects = []

    # Direct project ID
    if PROJECT_ID:
        projects.append(gl.projects.get(PROJECT_ID))

    # Groups and projects inside
    elif GROUP_ID:
        group = gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID)

        for project in group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True):
            # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/groups.html#examples
            manageable_project = gl.projects.get(project.id)
            projects.append(manageable_project)

    # All projects on the instance (may take a while to process)
    else:
        projects = gl.projects.list(get_all=True)

The full example is located in this script for listing MR approval rules settings for specified project targets.

DevSecOps use cases for API read actions

The authenticated access token needs read_api scope.

The following use cases are discussed:

List branches by merged state

A common ask is to do some Git housekeeping in the project, and see how many merged and unmerged branches are floating around. A question on the GitLab community forum about filtering branch listings inspired me look into writing a script that helps achieve this goal. The branches.list() method returns all branch objects that are stored in a temporary list for later processing for two loops: Collecting merged branch names, and not merged branch names. The merged attribute on the branch object is a boolean value indicating whether the branch has been merged.

project = gl.projects.get(PROJECT_ID, lazy=False, pagination="keyset", order_by="updated_at", per_page=100)

# Get all branches
real_branches = []
for branch in project.branches.list():
    real_branches.append(branch)

print("All branches")
for rb in real_branches:
    print("Branch: {b}".format(b=rb.name))

# Get all merged branches
merged_branches_names = []
for branch in real_branches:
    if branch.default:
        continue # ignore the default branch for merge status

    if branch.merged:
        merged_branches_names.append(branch.name)

print("Branches merged: {b}".format(b=", ".join(merged_branches_names)))

# Get un-merged branches
not_merged_branches_names = []
for branch in real_branches:
    if branch.default:
        continue # ignore the default branch for merge status

    if not branch.merged:
        not_merged_branches_names.append(branch.name)

print("Branches not merged: {b}".format(b=", ".join(not_merged_branches_names)))

The workflow is intentionally a step-by-step read, you can practice optimizing the Python code for the conditional branch name collection.

The following script walks through all collected project objects, and checks whether approval rules are specified. If the list length is greater than zero, it loops over the list and prints the settings using a JSON pretty-print method.

    # Loop over projects and print the settings
    # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/merge_request_approvals.html
    for project in projects:
        if len(project.approvalrules.list()) > 0:
            #print(project) #debug
            print("# Project: {name}, ID: {id}\n\n".format(name=project.name_with_namespace, id=project.id))
            print("[MR Approval settings]({url}/-/settings/merge_requests)\n\n".format(url=project.web_url))

            for ar in project.approvalrules.list():
                print("## Approval rule: {name}, ID: {id}".format(name=ar.name, id=ar.id))
                print("\n```json\n")
                print(json.dumps(ar.attributes, indent=2)) # TODO: can be more beautiful, but serves its purpose with pretty print JSON
                print("\n```\n")

Inventory: Get all CI/CD variables that are protected or masked

CI/CD variables are helpful for pipeline parameterization, and can be configured globally on the instance, in groups and in projects. Secrets, passwords and otherwise sensitive information could be stored there, too. Sometimes it can be necessary to get an overview of all CI/CD variables that are either protected or masked to get a sense of how many variables need to be updated when rotating tokens for example.

The following script gets all groups and projects and tries to collect the CI/CD variables from the global instance (requires admin permissions), groups and projects (requires maintainer/owner permissions). It prints all CI/CD variables that are either protected or masked, adding that a potential secret value is stored.

#!/usr/bin/env python

import gitlab
import os
import sys

# Helper function to evaluate secrets and print the variables
def eval_print_var(var):
    if var.protected or var.masked:
        print("🛡️🛡️🛡️ Potential secret: Variable '{name}', protected {p}, masked: {m}".format(name=var.key,p=var.protected,m=var.masked))

GITLAB_SERVER = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')
GITLAB_TOKEN = os.environ.get('GL_TOKEN') # token requires maintainer+ permissions. Instance variables require admin access.
PROJECT_ID = os.environ.get('GL_PROJECT_ID') #optional
GROUP_ID = os.environ.get('GL_GROUP_ID', 8034603) # https://gitlab.com/everyonecancontribute

if not GITLAB_TOKEN:
    print("🤔 Please set the GL_TOKEN env variable.")
    sys.exit(1)

gl = gitlab.Gitlab(GITLAB_SERVER, private_token=GITLAB_TOKEN)

# Collect all projects, or prefer projects from a group id, or a project id
projects = []
# Collect all groups, or prefer group from a group id
groups = []

# Direct project ID
if PROJECT_ID:
    projects.append(gl.projects.get(PROJECT_ID))

# Groups and projects inside
elif GROUP_ID:
    group = gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID)

    for project in group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True):
        # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/groups.html#examples
        manageable_project = gl.projects.get(project.id)
        projects.append(manageable_project)

    groups.append(group)

# All projects/groups on the instance (may take a while to process, use iterators to fetch on-demand).
else:
    projects = gl.projects.list(iterator=True)
    groups = gl.groups.list(iterator=True)

print("# List of all CI/CD variables marked as secret (instance, groups, projects)")

# https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/variables.html

# Instance variables (if the token has permissions)
print("Instance variables, if accessible")
try:
    for i_var in gl.variables.list(iterator=True):
        eval_print_var(i_var)
except:
    print("No permission to fetch global instance variables, continueing without.")
    print("\n")

# group variables (maintainer permissions for groups required)
for group in groups:
    print("Group {n}, URL: {u}".format(n=group.full_path, u=group.web_url))
    for g_var in group.variables.list(iterator=True):
        eval_print_var(g_var)

    print("\n")

# Loop over projects and print the settings
for project in projects:
    # skip archived projects, they throw 403 errors
    if project.archived:
        continue

    print("Project {n}, URL: {u}".format(n=project.path_with_namespace, u=project.web_url))
    for p_var in project.variables.list(iterator=True):
        eval_print_var(p_var)

    print("\n")

The script intentionally does not print the variable values, this is left as an exercise for safe environments. The recommended way of storing secrets is to use external providers.

Download a file from the repository

The script goal is download a file path from a specified branch name, and store its content in a new file.

# Goal: Try to download README.md from https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/gitlab-api-python/-/blob/main/README.md
FILE_NAME = 'README.md'
BRANCH_NAME = 'main'

# Search the file in the repository tree and get the raw blob
for f in project.repository_tree():
    print("File path '{name}' with id '{id}'".format(name=f['name'], id=f['id']))

    if f['name'] == FILE_NAME:
        f_content = project.repository_raw_blob(f['id'])
        print(f_content)

# Alternative approach: Get the raw file from the main branch
raw_content = project.files.raw(file_path=FILE_NAME, ref=BRANCH_NAME)
print(raw_content)

# Store the file on disk
with open('raw_README.md', 'wb') as f:
    project.files.raw(file_path=FILE_NAME, ref=BRANCH_NAME, streamed=True, action=f.write)

Migration help: List all certificate-based Kubernetes clusters

The certificate-based integration of Kubernetes clusters into GitLab was deprecated. To help with migration plans, the inventory of existing groups and projects can be automated using the GitLab API.

groups = [ ]

# get GROUP_ID group
groups.append(gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID))

for group in groups:
    for sg in group.subgroups.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True):
        real_group = gl.groups.get(sg.id)
        groups.append(real_group)

group_clusters = {}
project_clusters = {}

for group in groups:
    #Collect group clusters
    g_clusters = group.clusters.list()

    if len(g_clusters) > 0:
        group_clusters[group.id] = g_clusters

    # Collect all projects in group and subgroups and their clusters
    projects = group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True)

    for project in projects:
        # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/groups.html#examples
        manageable_project = gl.projects.get(project.id)

        # skip archived projects
        if project.archived:
            continue

        p_clusters = manageable_project.clusters.list()

        if len(p_clusters) > 0:
            project_clusters[project.id] = p_clusters

# Print summary
print("## Group clusters\n\n")
for g_id, g_clusters in group_clusters.items():
    url = gl.groups.get(g_id).web_url
    print("Group ID {g_id}: {u}\n\n".format(g_id=g_id, u=url))
    print_clusters(g_clusters)

print("## Project clusters\n\n")
for p_id, p_clusters in project_clusters.items():
    url = gl.projects.get(p_id).web_url
    print("Project ID {p_id}: {u}\n\n".format(p_id=p_id, u=url))
    print_clusters(p_clusters)

The full script is available here.

Team efficiency: Check if existing merge requests need to be rebased after merging a huge refactoring MR

The GitLab handbook repository is a large monorepo with many merge requests created, reviewed, approved and merged. Some reviews take longer than others, and some merge requests touch multiple pages when renaming a string, or all handbook pages. The marketing handbook needed restructuring (think of code refactoring), and as such, many directories and paths were moved or renamed. The issue tasks grew over time, and I was worried that other merge requests would run into conflicts after merging the huge changes. I remembered that the python-gitlab can fetch all merge requests in a given project, including details on the Git branch, source paths changed and much more.

The resulting script configures a list of source paths that are touched by all merge requests, and checks against the merge request diff with mr.diffs.list() and comparing if a pattern matches against the value in old_path. If a match is found, the script logs it, and saves the merge request in the seen_mr dictionary for the summary later. There are additional attributes collected to allow printing a Markdown task list with URLs for easier copy-paste into issue descriptions. The full script is located here.

PATH_PATTERNS = [
    'path/to/handbook/source/page.md',
]

# Only list opened MRs
# https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/merge_requests.html#project-merge-requests
mrs = project.mergerequests.list(state='opened', iterator=True)

seen_mr = {}

for mr in mrs:
    # https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/api/merge_requests.html#list-merge-request-diffs
    real_mr = project.mergerequests.get(mr.get_id())
    real_mr_id = real_mr.attributes['iid']
    real_mr_url = real_mr.attributes['web_url']

    for diff in real_mr.diffs.list(iterator=True):
        real_diff = real_mr.diffs.get(diff.id)

        for d in real_diff.attributes['diffs']:
            for p in PATH_PATTERNS:
                if p in d['old_path']:
                    print("MATCH: {p} in MR {mr_id}, status '{s}', title '{t}' - URL: {mr_url}".format(
                        p=p,
                        mr_id=real_mr_id,
                        s=mr_status,
                        t=real_mr.attributes['title'],
                        mr_url=real_mr_url))

                    if not real_mr_id in seen_mr:
                        seen_mr[real_mr_id] = real_mr

print("\n# MRs to update\n")

for id, real_mr in seen_mr.items():
    print("- [ ] !{mr_id} - {mr_url}+ Status: {s}, Title: {t}".format(
        mr_id=id,
        mr_url=real_mr.attributes['web_url'],
        s=real_mr.attributes['detailed_merge_status'],
        t=real_mr.attributes['title']))

DevSecOps use cases for API write actions

The authenticated access token needs full api scope.

The following use cases are discussed:

Move epics between groups

Sometimes it is necessary to move epics, similar to issues, into a different group. A question in the GitLab marketing Slack channel inspired me to look into a feature proposal for the UI, quick actions, and later, thinking about writing an API script to automate the steps. The idea is simple: Move an epic from a source group to a target group, and copy its title, description and labels. Since epics allow to group issues, they need to be reassigned to the target epic, too. Parent-child epic relationships need to be taken into account to: All child epics of the source epics need to be reassigned to the target epic.

The following script looks up all source epic attributes first, and then creates a new target epic with minimal attributes: title and description. The labels list is copied and the changes are persisted with the save() call. The issues assigned to the epic need to be re-created in the target epic. The create() call actually creates the relationship item, not a new issue object itself. The child epics move requires a different approach, since the relationship is vice versa: The parent_id on the child epic needs to be compared against the source epic ID, and if matching, updated to the target epic ID. After copying everything successfully, the source epic needs to be changed into the closed state.

#!/usr/bin/env python

# Description: Show how epics can be moved between groups, including title, description, labels, child epics and issues.
# Requirements: python-gitlab Python libraries. GitLab API write access, and maintainer access to all configured groups/projects.
# Author: Michael Friedrich <mfriedrich@gitlab.com>
# License: MIT, (c) 2023-present GitLab B.V.

import gitlab
import os
import sys

GITLAB_SERVER = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')
# https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api
SOURCE_GROUP_ID = os.environ.get('GL_SOURCE_GROUP_ID', 62378643)
# https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/epic-move-target
TARGET_GROUP_ID = os.environ.get('GL_TARGET_GROUP_ID', 62742177)
# https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/-/epics/1
EPIC_ID = os.environ.get('GL_EPIC_ID', 1)
GITLAB_TOKEN = os.environ.get('GL_TOKEN')

if not GITLAB_TOKEN:
    print("Please set the GL_TOKEN env variable.")
    sys.exit(1)

gl = gitlab.Gitlab(GITLAB_SERVER, private_token=GITLAB_TOKEN)

# Main
# Goal: Move epic to target group, including title, body, labels, and child epics and issues.
source_group = gl.groups.get(SOURCE_GROUP_ID)
target_group = gl.groups.get(TARGET_GROUP_ID)

# Create a new target epic and copy all its items, then close the source epic.
source_epic = source_group.epics.get(EPIC_ID)
# print(source_epic) #debug

epic_title = source_epic.title
epic_description = source_epic.description
epic_labels = source_epic.labels
epic_issues = source_epic.issues.list()

# Create the epic with minimal attributes
target_epic = target_group.epics.create({
    'title': epic_title,
    'description': epic_description,
})

# Assign the list
target_epic.labels = epic_labels

# Persist the changes in the new epic
target_epic.save()

# Epic issues need to be re-assigned in a loop
for epic_issue in epic_issues:
    ei = target_epic.issues.create({'issue_id': epic_issue.id})

# Child epics need to update their parent_id to the new epic
# Need to search in all epics, use lazy object loading
for sge in source_group.epics.list(lazy=True):
    # this epic has the source epic as parent epic?
    if sge.parent_id == source_epic.id:
        # Update the parent id
        sge.parent_id = target_epic.id
        sge.save()

print("Copied source epic {source_id} ({source_url}) to target epic {target_id} ({target_url})".format(
    source_id=source_epic.id, source_url=source_epic.web_url,
    target_id=target_epic.id, target_url=target_epic.web_url))

# Close the old epic
source_epic.state_event = 'close'
source_epic.save()
print("Closed source epic {source_id} ({source_url})".format(
    source_id=source_epic.id, source_url=source_epic.web_url))

$  python3 move_epic_between_groups.py
Copied source epic 725341 (https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/-/epics/1) to target epic 725358 (https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/epic-move-target/-/epics/6)
Closed source epic 725341 (https://gitlab.com/groups/gitlab-de/use-cases/gitlab-api/-/epics/1)

The target epic was created and shows the expected result: Same title, description, labels, child epic, and issues.

Target epic which has all attributes copied from the source epic: title, description, labels, child epics, issues

Exercise: The script does not copy comments and discussion threads yet. Research and help update the script – merge requests welcome!

Compliance: Ensure that project settings are not overridden

Project and group settings may be accidentally changed by team members with maintainer permissions. Compliance requirements need to be met. Another use case is to manage configuration with Infrastructure as Code tools, and ensure that GitLab instance/group/project/etc. configuration is persisted and always the same. Tools like Ansible or Terraform can invoke an API script, or use the python-gitlab library to perform tasks to manage settings.

The following example only has the main branch protected.

GitLab project settings for repositories and protected branches, main branch

Let us assume that a new production branch has been added and should be protected, too. The following script defines the dictionary of protected branches and their access levels for push/merge permissions to maintainer level, and builds the comparison logic around the python-gitlab protected branches documentation.

#!/usr/bin/env python

import gitlab
import os
import sys

GITLAB_SERVER = os.environ.get('GL_SERVER', 'https://gitlab.com')
# https://gitlab.com/gitlab-de/use-cases/
GROUP_ID = os.environ.get('GL_GROUP_ID', 16058698)
GITLAB_TOKEN = os.environ.get('GL_TOKEN')

PROTECTED_BRANCHES = {
    'main': {
        'merge_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER,
        'push_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER
    },
    'production': {
        'merge_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER,
        'push_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER
    },
}

if not GITLAB_TOKEN:
    print("Please set the GL_TOKEN env variable.")
    sys.exit(1)

gl = gitlab.Gitlab(GITLAB_SERVER, private_token=GITLAB_TOKEN)

# Main
group = gl.groups.get(GROUP_ID)

# Collect all projects in group and subgroups
projects = group.projects.list(include_subgroups=True, all=True)

for project in projects:
    # Retrieve a full manageable project object
    # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/groups.html#examples
    manageable_project = gl.projects.get(project.id)

    # https://python-gitlab.readthedocs.io/en/stable/gl_objects/protected_branches.html
    protected_branch_names = []

    for pb in manageable_project.protectedbranches.list():
        manageable_protected_branch = manageable_project.protectedbranches.get(pb.name)
        print("Protected branch name: {n}, merge_access_level: {mal}, push_access_level: {pal}".format(
            n=manageable_protected_branch.name,
            mal=manageable_protected_branch.merge_access_levels,
            pal=manageable_protected_branch.push_access_levels
        ))

        protected_branch_names.append(manageable_protected_branch.name)

    for branch_to_protect, levels in PROTECTED_BRANCHES.items():
        # Fix missing protected branches
        if branch_to_protect not in protected_branch_names:
            print("Adding branch {n} to protected branches settings".format(n=branch_to_protect))
            p_branch = manageable_project.protectedbranches.create({
                'name': branch_to_protect,
                'merge_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER,
                'push_access_level': gitlab.const.AccessLevel.MAINTAINER
            })

Running the script prints the existing main branch, and a note that production will be updated. The screenshot from the repository settings proves this action.

$ python3 enforce_protected_branches.py                                                ─╯
Protected branch name: main, merge_access_level: [{'id': 67294702, 'access_level': 40, 'access_level_description': 'Maintainers', 'user_id': None, 'group_id': None}], push_access_level: [{'id': 68546039, 'access_level': 40, 'access_level_description': 'Maintainers', 'user_id': None, 'group_id': None}]
Adding branch production to protected branches settings

GitLab project settings for repositories and protected branches, main and production branch

Taking notes, generate due date overview

A Hacker News discussion about note-taking tools inspired me to take a look into creating a Markdown table overview, fetched from files that take notes, and sorted by the parsed due date. The script is located here and more complex to understand.

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