Introduction

We want to make it as easy as possible for GitLab users to become GitLab contributors, so we’ve created this guide to help you get started. We have multiple tracks to cater to people of varying experience levels.

If you’re uncomfortable getting into open source development right away, you may want to consider the Documentation or Translation tracks. Documentation and Translation are both just as important as code, and we'd be happy to have your contributions.

We want to create a welcoming environment for everyone who is interested in contributing. Please visit our Code of Conduct page to learn more about our committment to an open and welcoming environment.

Development

These instructions are for development of GitLab Community Edition specifically. Please note that use of the GitLab Development Kit is currently experimental on Windows. macOS or Linux are recommended for the best contribution experience.

  1. Download and set up the GitLab Development Kit, see the GDK README for instructions on setting it up and Troubleshooting if you get stuck.
  2. Fork the GitLab CE project.
  3. Choose an issue to work on.
    • You can find easy issues by looking at issues labeled Accepting merge requests sorted by weight. Low-weight issues will be the easiest to accomplish.
    • Be sure to comment and verify no one else is working on the issue, and to make sure we’re still interested in a given contribution.
    • You may also want to comment and ask for help if you’re new or if you get stuck. We’re more than happy to help!
  4. Add the feature or fix the bug you’ve chosen to work on.
  5. If it's a feature change that impacts users or admins, update the documentation.
  6. Open a merge request to merge your code and its documentation. The earlier you open a merge request, the sooner you can get feedback. You can mark it as a Work in Progress to signal that you’re not done yet. If you're including documentation changes or need help with documentation, mention @gl/-docsteam.
  7. Add tests if needed, as well as a changelog entry.
  8. Make sure the test suite is passing.
  9. Wait for a reviewer. You’ll likely need to change some things once the reviewer has completed a code review for your merge request. You may also need multiple reviews depending on the size of the change.
  10. Get your changes merged!

For more information, please see the Developer Documentation.

Documentation

This section pertains to documentation changes that are independent of other code/feature changes. For documentation changes that accompany changes to code/features, see the Development section above.

See the Documentation Styleguide and Writing Documentation pages for more important details on writing documentation for GitLab.

  1. Visit docs.gitlab.com for the latest documentation for GitLab CE/EE, GitLab Runner, and GitLab Omnibus.
  2. Find a page that’s lacking important information or that has a spelling/grammar mistake.
  3. Click the "Edit this page" link at the bottom of the page, fork the relevant project, and modify the documentation in GitLab’s web editor. Alternatively, you can fork the relevant project locally and edit the corresponding file(s) in its /doc or /docs path.
  4. Open a merge request and remember to follow branch naming conventions and append -docs to the name of the branch.
  5. Mention @gl/-docsteam in a comment, then wait for a review. You may need to change things if a reviewer requests it.
  6. Get your changes merged!

For those interested in writing full technical articles, we also have a GitLab Community Writers Program which includes compensation.

Translation

Please note that GitLab is in the process of being internationalized. Not all pages have been updated to be translatable, and all languages other than English are incomplete. For more information visit the documentation.

  1. Visit our Crowdin project and sign up.
  2. Find a language you’d like to contribute to.
  3. Improve existing translations, vote on new translations, and/or contribute new translations to your given language.
  4. Once approved, your changes will automatically be included in the next version of GitLab!

UX Design

These instructions are for those wanting to contribute UX designs specifically. The UX department at GitLab uses Sketch for all of its designs. See the Design Repository documentation for details on working with our files. Visit our Contributing guidelines to read our general guidelines for contributing. While they are code-focused instructions, they will help you understand the overall process of contributing.

  1. If you want to leverage our existing design library to submit UX proposals, you can download our pattern library Sketch file following the instructions in the Design Repository documentation.
  2. You do not need to use our Sketch files to contribute. We will gladly accept hand-made drawings and sketches, wireframes, manipulated DOM screenshots, prototypes, etc.
  3. You can find documentation on our design patterns in our Design System. Use it to understand where and when to use common design solutions.
  4. If you don't already have an idea for a UX improvement, you can pick an existing problem to work on from this list of issues looking for community contributions
  5. Be sure to comment and verify no one else is working on the UX for the issue, and to make sure we’re still interested in a given contribution.
  6. Ask questions to clarify the problem being solved and make your UX suggestions using words, low-fi wireframes, hi-fi designs, or even prototypes. Ask for help if you’re new or if you get stuck. We’re happy to help! You can ping the UX Department in an issue or comment using this handle @gitlab-com/gitlab-ux.
  7. Ask for a review from a GitLab UX Designer. You’ll likely need to change some things once the reviewer has completed their review. You may also require multiple reviews depending on the scope of the UX.
  8. Get your UX approved!

Getting Help

If you need help while contributing to GitLab, below are some of the resources that are available.

  1. Ask questions on GitLab Community Gitter.
  2. Get in touch with Merge Request Coaches. To find a merge request coach, go to the GitLab Team Page and search for "merge request coach".
  3. Find reviewers & maintainers of Gitlab projects in our handbook.
  4. If you have feature ideas/questions, you can reach out to product team members.