Review Apps let you build a review process right into your software development workflow by automatically provisioning test environments for your code, integrated right into your merge requests.
This ties into our progressive delivery vision of CI/CD as it gives you a glipse of how your application will look after a specific commit, way before it reaches production. Our ultimate goal is that Review Apps should spin up with a one-click button that works automatically regardless of the deployment target (this includes cloud-native and mobile as well). Anyone can view, comment and even fix any errors found directly from the review app itself.
This area of the product is in need of continued refinement to add more kinds of review apps (such as for mobile devices), and a smoother, easier to use experience.
We added the ability to comment directly on the review apps gitlab#10761, With a small code snippet, users can enable designers, product managers, and other stakeholders to quickly provide feedback on a merge request without leaving the app.
We are currently working on bug fixes related to Review Apps. If there is an issue that you are interested in, please let us know by providing feedback in the issue itself our by contributing it and we will make sure to review it.
This category is currently at the "Complete" maturity level, and our next maturity target is Lovable (see our definitions of maturity levels). Key deliverables to achieve this are:
.gitlab-ci.yml, auto-configure GKE (Partial)
One big advantage Heroku Review Apps have over ours is that they are easier to set up
and get running. Ours require a bit more knowledge and reading of documentation to make
this clear. We can make our Review Apps much easier (and thereby much more visible) by
implementing One button to enable review apps, auto-edit
.gitlab-ci.yml, auto-configure GKE,
which does the heavy lifting of getting them working for you.
Management of Review Apps can be a challenge, particularly in cleaning them up. To highlight the severity of how this issue can grow, www-gitlab-com project has over 1,500 running stale environments at the time of writing this, with no clear easy way to clean them up. There are two main items that look to address this challenge:
Review Apps for GitLab Pages is a highly requested functionality gitlab#16907.
gitlab#13249 allows review apps to leverage downstream deployment projects. This is especially useful when using a micro services architecture, where individual microservices have to rely on others to execute successfully. Review apps automatically stops when a merge request is merged and the current behavior is not smooth across multi-repos (For example: Frontend, Backend, Combo Repo).
Solving gitlab#22090 will allow users that are not members of the project to access Review App links from the merge request widget.
Our focus for the vision is to bring Review Apps to mobile workflows via gitlab#2372 - adding support to Android/iOS emulators via the Review App will enable a whole new kind of development workflow in our product and make Review Apps even more valuable.