GitLab Direction

This page describes the direction and roadmap for GitLab. It's organized from the short to the long term.

Your contributions

GitLab's direction is determined by GitLab the company, and the code that is sent by our contributors. We continually merge code to be released in the next version. Contributing is the best way to get a feature you want included.

On our issue tracker for CE and EE, many requests are made for features and changes to GitLab. Issues with the Accepting Merge Requests label are pre-approved as something we're willing to add to GitLab. Of course, before any code is merged it still has to meet our contribution acceptance criteria.

What our customers want

As a company, GitLab tries to make things that are useful for our customers as well as ourselves. After all, GitLab is one of the biggest users of GitLab. If a customer requests a feature, it carries extra weight. Due to our short release cycle, we can ship simple feature requests, such as an API extension, within one or two months.

Previous releases

On our releases page you can find an overview of the most important features of recent releases and links to the blog posts for each release.

Future releases

GitLab releases a new version every single month on the 22nd. Note that we often move things around, do things that are not listed, and cancel things that are listed.

This page is always in draft, meaning some of the things here might not ever be in GitLab. New premium features are indicated with "EE Premium" label. This is our best estimate of what will be new premium features, but is in no way definitive.

The list is an outline of tentpole features – the most important features of upcoming releases – and doesn't include any contributions from volunteers outside the company. This is not an authoritative list of upcoming releases - it only reflects current milestones.

10.4

10.5

10.6

10.7

Next 2-3 months

Next 3-6 months

Next 6-12 months

Enterprise Editions

Enterprise Edition Starter

Starter features are available to anyone with an Enterprise Edition subscription (Starter, Premium, Ultimate).

Enterprise Edition Premium

Premium features will only be available to EE Premium (and in the future: Ultimate) subscribers.

Enterprise Edition Ultimate

EEU is for organisations that have a need to build secure, compliant software and that want to gain visibility of - and be able to influence - their entire organisation from a high level.

From a high level, the first major initiatives for EEU are:

Ultimate features will only be available EE Ultimate subscribers. Enterprise Edition Ultimate is not yet available.

Individual features:

Product Vision 2018

See Product Vision.

Functional Areas

Below are features that represent the various functional areas we see GitLab going in. This list is not prioritized. We invite everyone to join the discussion by clicking on the items that are of interest to you. Feel free to comment, vote up or down any issue or just follow the conversation. For GitLab sales, please add a link to the account in Salesforce.com that has expressed interest in a wishlist feature. We very much welcome contributions that implement any of these things.

Build and packaging

GitLab is the engine that powers many companies' software businesses so it is important to ensure it is as easy as possible to deploy, maintain, and stay up to date.

Today we have a mature and easy to use Omnibus based build system, which is the foundation for nearly all methods of deploying GitLab. It includes everything a customer needs to run GitLab all in a single package, and is great for installing on virtual machines or real hardware. We are committed to making our package easier to work with, highly available, as well as offering automated deployments on cloud providers like AWS.

We also want GitLab to be the best cloud native development tool, and offering a great cloud native deployment is a key part of that. We are focused on offering a flexible and scalable container based deployment on Kubernetes, by using enterprise grade Helm Charts.

GitLab High Availability

CI / CD

We want to help developers get their code into production; providing convenience and confidence to the developer in an integrated way. CI/CD focuses on steps 6 through 9 of our scope: Test (CI), part of Review (MR), Staging (CD), and part of Production (Chatops). When viewed through the CI/CD lens, we can group the scope into CI, CD, and things that are currently beyond any definition of CD.

GitLab CI/CD Scope

We define our vision as “Auto DevOps”: leveraging our [single application]((#single-application), it is simple to assist users in every phase of the development process, implementing automatic tasks that can be customized and refined to get the best fit for their needs. Our idea is that the future will have “auto CI” to compile and test software based on best practices for the most common languages and frameworks, “auto review” with the help of automatic analysis tools like Code Climate, “auto deploy” based on Review Apps and incremental rollouts on Kubernetes clusters, and “auto metrics” to collect statistical data from all the previous steps in order to guarantee performances and optimization of the whole process. Dependencies and artifacts will be first-class citizens in this world: everything must be fully reproducible at any given time, and fully connected as part of the great GitLab experience.

Watch the video explaining our vision on Auto DevOps.

Many of the issues describe development of an n-tier web app, but could equally be applied to an iOS app, Ruby gem, static website, or other type of project.

See a slightly more complete rendering of an example pipeline.

Pipelines

Build

GitLab CI provides an explicit build stage and the concept of build artifacts, but we might need to separate out the build artifacts from test artifacts. For example, you might want your test runner to create a JUnit-style output file which is available for external consumption, but not included in the build image sent to production. Creation of an explicit build aligns well with Docker where the result of the build stage is a Docker image which is stored in a registry and later pulled for testing and deployment.

Test

Deploy

A key part of CD is being able to deploy. We currently have this ability via scripts in the deploy stage in .gitlab-ci.yml. We will go further.

Monitor

See Monitoring.

Misc

Code Review

Container Registry

Moderation Tools

No current issues

Open Source Projects

Pages

Performance

Monitoring

Performance is a critical aspect of the user experience, and ensuring your application is responsive and available is everyone's responsibility. We want to help address this need for development teams, by integrating key performance analytics and feedback into the tool developers already use every day.

As part of our commitment to performance we are also deeply instrumenting GitLab itself, enabling our team to improve GitLab peformance and for customers to more easily manage their deployments.

Service Desk

Usability

Version Control for Everything

Workflow management with issues

Discussion

Product debt and maintenance

We are fixing product debt and maintaining the core areas of Discussion, in order to improve the baseline experience and introduce functionality that users already expect.

Merge requests, approvals, and code review

We are focusing on developer-centric workflows and bringing many features long-requested by developers. GitLab started as a tool for developers to do their work. We are prioritizing our efforts to bring this new wave of developer-focused functionality to GitLab.

Portfolio management and issue management

We are moving into the new area of portfolio management to solve problems and use cases associated with product managers, business managers, senior leadership roles, and executive roles.

Jira integration

Our users continue to rely on Jira. We are building deep connections with Jira into GitLab, so that Jira users can benefit from integrated experiences and workflows. We hope that our users can use GitLab for issue management and other portfolio management features. But we will nonetheless continue to support deep integrations with Jira as a priority to meet our users where they are.

Moonshots

Moonshots are big hairy audacious goals that may take a long time to deliver.

Scope

Our vision is to replace disparate DevOps toolchains with a single integrated application that is pre-configured to work by default across the complete DevOps lifecycle. Consider viewing the presentation of our plan for 2018.

Inside our scope are the 7 stages of the DevOps lifecycle as detailed on our features page. Also see our complete DevOps vision for where we're going in 2018.

We try to prevent maintaining functionality that is language or platform specific because they slow down our ability to get results. Examples of how we handle it instead are:

  1. We don't make native mobile clients, we make sure our mobile web pages are great.
  2. We don't make native clients for desktop operating systems, people can use Tower and for example GitLab was the first to have merge conflict resolution in our web applications.
  3. For language translations we rely on the wider community.
  4. For Static Application Security Testing we rely on open source security scanners.
  5. For code navigation we're hesitant to introduce navigation improvements that only work for a subset of languages.
  6. For code quality we reuse Codeclimate Engines.
  7. For building and testing with Auto DevOps we use Heroku Buildpacks.

Outside our scope are:

  1. Network (fabric) Flannel, Openflow, VMware NSX, Cisco ACI
  2. Proxy (layer 7) Envoy, nginx, HAProxy, traefik
  3. Ingress (north/south) Contour, Ambassador,
  4. Service mesh (east/west) Istio, Linkerd
  5. Container Scheduler we mainly focus on Kubernetes, other container schedulers are: CloudFoundry, OpenStack, OpenShift, Mesos DCOS, Docker Swarm, Atlas/Terraform, Nomad, Deis, Convox, Flynn, Tutum, GiantSwarm, Rancher
  6. Package manager Helm, ksonnet
  7. Operating System Ubuntu, CentOS, RHEL, CoreOS, Alpine Linux

ML/AI at GitLab

Machine learning (ML) through neural networks is a really great tool to solve hard to define, dynamic problems. Right now, GitLab doesn't use any machine learning technologies, but we expect to use them in the near future for several types of problems:

Signal / noise separation

Signal detection is very hard in an noisy environment. GitLab plans to use ML to warn users of any signals that stand out against the background noise in several features:

Recommendation engines

Automatically categorizing and labelling is risky. Modern models tend to overfit, e.g. resulting in issues with too many labels. However, similar models can be used very well in combination with human interaction in the form of recommendation engines.

Smart behavior

Because of their great ability to recognize patterns, neural networks are an excellent tool to help with scaling, and anticipating needs. In GitLab, we can imagine:

Code quality

Similar to DeepScan.

Code navigation

Similar to Sourcegraph.

Large files

Git was primarily designed for code, where it is dominating the world. Organisations working with large files, for instance art assets when creating films or games, are looking to get the power that GitLab offers, but can't adopt because of the little support for large files that Git offers.

GitLab is going to help these organisations adopt Git and migrate away from legacy platforms such as Perforce. There are a number of moving parts that make this possible:

Git LFS

Git LFS allows you to work well with large files in Git.

File locking

File locking is crucial to collaborating on non-mergeable files. Currently GitLab offers branch-limited file locking and Git LFS offers locking across branches.

Product Strategy

GitLab allows you to develop and operate in GitLab, from planning to monitoring.

GitLab provides an single application that plays well with others for teams of any size with any kind of projects, while giving you actionable feedback.

Plays well with others

We understand that not everyone will use GitLab for everything all the time, especially when first adopting GitLab. We want you to use more of GitLab because you love that part of GitLab. GitLab plays well with others, even when you use only one part of GitLab it should be a great experience.

GitLab ships with built-in integrations to many popular applications. We aspire to have the worlds best integrations for Slack, JIRA, and Jenkins.

Many other applications integrate with GitLab, and we are open to adding new integrations to our applications page. New integrations with GitLab can very in richness and complexity; from a simple webhook, and all the way to a Project Service.

GitLab welcomes and supports new integrations to be created to extend collaborations with other products. GitLab plays well with others by providing APIs for nearly anything you can do within GitLab. GitLab can be a provider of authentication for external applications. And of course GitLab is open source so people are very welcome to add anything that they are missing. If you are don't have time to contribute and am a customer we gladly work with you to design the API addition or integration you need.

Single application

GitLab is a single application that does everything from planning to monitoring. The advantages of a single application for are listed in the following paragraphs. These result in more results, happier developers, improved cycle times, and a great return on investment.

Single authentication

You only have to login to one application. Users don't waste time logging in. You only have to set up one account. It is clear to users what account they should use. Due to less confusion phishing is harder.

Single authorization

GitLab does not require you to manage authorizations for each of its tools. This means that you set permissions once and everyone in your organization has the right access to every component.

Single project

Users don't have to set up or ask others to set up a project across applications. This can be a major source of delays.

Single setup

With Auto DevOps your new projects have all the needed testing and deployment from the get go. And by having logging and security scanning happen automatically you reduce risk.

Single interface

A single interface for all tools means that GitLab can always present the relevant context and you're not losing information due to constant context switching. Users don't have to switch between applications constantly. Furthermore, if you're comfortable with one part of GitLab, you're comfortable with all of GitLab, as it all builds on the same interface components.

Single installation

Running GitLab means that there are is only one single application to install, maintain, scale, backup, network, and secure.

Single upgrade

Updating GitLab means that everything is guaranteed to work as it did before. Maintaining separate components is often complicated by upgrades that change or break integration points, essentially breaking your software delivery pipeline. This will never happen with GitLab because everything is tested as an integrated whole.

Single data-store

GitLab uses a single data-store so you can get information about the whole software development lifecycle instead of parts of it. With multiple applications you not only have multiple databases but also different definitions, processes. Multiple data-stores lead to redundant and inconsistent data. You don't have to duplicate data nor do manual entry. There is a single source of truth without having to build a data warehouse.

Single overview

Automated links between environments, code, issues, and epics provide a better overview of project state and progress. All information is realtime and there is a coherent set of concepts and definitions.

Single flow

Using a single application means you don't have to integrate 10 different products. This saves time from your developers, reduces risk, increases reliability, and lowers the bill of external integrators. The flow is better since the more then 100,000 organization using GitLab use the same flow and more than 1800 people contribute to make it great. If you have a developer tool department they can now focus on other tasks to make your developers more effective.

Single vendor

You can deal with one vendor instead of multiple vendors pointing to each-other.

Single training

Your end user training becomes less complex; a multi-vendor environment means multiple trainers to manage.

Single codebase

We prefer to offer a single application instead of a network of services or offering plugins for the following reasons:

  1. We think a single application provides a better user experience than a modular approach, as detailed by this article from Stratechery.
  2. The open source nature of GitLab ensures that that we can combine great open source products.
  3. Everyone can contribute to create a feature set that is more complete than other tools. We'll focus on making all the parts work well together to create a better user experience.
  4. Because GitLab is open source the enhancements can become part of the codebase instead of being external. This ensures the automated tests for all functionality are continually run, ensuring that additions keep working. This is in contrast to externally maintained plugins that might not be updated.
  5. Having the enhancements as part of the codebase also ensures GitLab can continue to evolve with its additions instead of being bound to an API that is hard to change and that resists refactoring. Refactoring is essential to maintaining a codebase that is easy to contribute to.
  6. Many people use GitLab on-premises, for such situations it is much easier to install one tool than installing and integrating many tools.
  7. GitLab is used by many large organizations with complex purchasing processes, having to buy only one subscription simplifies their purchasing.

Emergent benefits of a single application

A single application has unique, emergent benefits. Among them:

Conversational Development

Conversational development carries a conversation across functional groups through the DevOps lifecycle, involving gatekeepers at every step. By providing relevant context, a feature that is only possible with an integrated solution like GitLab, we can reduce cycle time, making it easier to diagnose problems and make decisions.

Concretely, conversational development in GitLab means that a change can be easily followed from inception to the changes it made in performance and business metrics and feeding this information back to all stakeholders immediately.

Effectively, this allows cross-functional teams to collaborate effectively.

Review Apps

Review apps are the future of change review. They allow you to review not just the code, but the actual changes in a live environment. This means one no longer has to check out code locally to verify changes in a development environment, but you simply click on the environment link and try things out.

Only a tool that combines code review with CI/CD pipelines and integration with container schedulers (Kubernetes) is able to quickly create and shut down review apps and make them part of the review process.

Cycle Analytics

Cycle analytics tell you how what your time to value, from planning to monitoring is. Only by having direct access to each step in the software development lifecyle, GitLab can give actionable data on time to value.

This means you can see where you are lagging and make meaningful change to ship faster.

Container registry integrates with CI

Every GitLab projects comes with a container registry. That means there is no need for elaborate configuration to be able to use and push container images in CI. Rather, all you have to do is use a pre-defined variable in your CI configuration file (.gitlab-ci.yml).

Actionable Feedback

Deployments should never be fire and forget. GitLab will give you immediate feedback on every deployment on any scale. This means that GitLab can tell you whether performance has improved on the application level, but also whether business metrics have changed.

Concretely, we can split up monitoring and feedback efforts within GitLab in three distinct areas: execution (cycle analytics), business and system feedback.

Business feedback

With the power of monitoring and an integrated approach, we have the ability to do amazing things within GitLab. GitLab will be able to automatically test commits and versions through feature flags and A/B testing.

Business feedback exists on different levels:

Application feedback

You application should perform well after changes are made. GitLab will be able to see whether a change is causing errors or performance issues on application level. Think about:

System feedback

We can now go beyond CI and CD. GitLab will able to tell you whether a change improved performance or stability. Because it will have access to both historical data on performance and code, it can show you the impact of any particular change at any time.

System feedback happens over different time windows:

Execution Feedback & Cycle Analytics

GitLab is able to speed up cycle time for any project. To provide feedback on cycle time GitLab will continue to expand cycle analytics so that it not only shows you what is slow, it’ll help you speed up with concrete, clickable suggestions.

Why cycle time is important

The ability to monitor, visualize and improve upon cycle time (or: time to value) is fundamental to GitLab's product. A shorter cycle time will allow you to:

When we're adding new capabilities to GitLab, we tend to focus on things that will reduce the cycle time for our customers. This is why we choose convention over configuration and why we focus on automating the entire software development lifecycle.

All friction of setting up a new project and building the pipeline of tools you need to ship any kind of software should disappear when using GitLab.

Enterprise Editions

GitLab comes in 3 editions, with Ultimate coming in the future

Quarterly Objectives and Key Results (OKRs)

To make sure our goals are clearly defined and aligned throughout the organization, we make use of OKR's (Objective Key Results). Our quarterly Objectives and Key Results are publicly viewable.

Vision

From development teams to marketing organizations, everyone needs to collaborate on digital content. Content should be open to suggestions by a wide number of potential contributors. Open contribution can be achieved by using a mergeable file format and distributed version control. The vision of GitLab is to allow everyone to collaborate on all digital content so people can cooperate effectively and achieve better results, faster.

Ideas flow though many stages before they are realized. An idea originates in a chat discussion, an issue is created, it is planned in a sprint, coded in an IDE, committed to version control, tested by CI, code reviewed, deployed, monitored, and documented. Stitching all these stages of the DevOps lifecycle together can be done in many different ways. You can have a marketplace of proprietary apps from different suppliers or use a suite of products developed in isolation. We believe that a single application for the DevOps lifecycle based on convention over configuration offers a superior user experience. The advantage can be quoted from the Wikipedia page for convention over configuration: "decrease the number of decisions that developers need to make, gaining simplicity, and not necessarily losing flexibility". In GitLab you only have to specify unconventional aspects of your workflow. The happy path is frictionless from planning to monitoring.

We admire other convention over configuration tools like Ruby on Rails (that doctrine of which perfectly describe the value of integrated systems), Ember, and Heroku, and strive to offer the same advantages for a continuous delivery of software.