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Category Direction - Review Apps

Review Apps

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. Not only can you enable your teammates to easily participate in the review, but you also can also shift additional activities left, such as running DAST in your review apps.

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.

Review Apps

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.

What's Next & Why

The Release group is not actively working on Review Apps. We will work on bug fixes and make some UX improvements. If there are specific issues that you are interested in, please upvote the issue and/or leave feedback on the issue itself.

Maturity Plan

This category is currently at the "Complete" maturity level, and our next maturity target is Lovable (see our definitions of maturity levels).

The next set of features we are considering are captured in the Review Apps: Lovable Maturity Epic

Competitive Landscape


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.

Netlify Deploy Previews

Netlify Deploy Previews provide functionality similar to Review Apps and work with both GitLab and GitHub. Combined with their notifications capabilities this provides a compelling way to share a preview of changes with intersted stakeholders as they are happing. Netlify also provides the ability to let any user leave comments on these deploy previews as noted on the Usability Direction Page.

Top Customer Success/Sales Issue(s)

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 many review apps that may be stale, 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.

Top Customer Issue(s)

gitlab#235686 extends support for review apps from a child pipeline when using parent-child pipelines.

Top Vision Item(s)

Review Apps takes time and effort to setup and manage. Why if customers don't have to do any of the work of setup and management? We are considering offering Review Apps as a Service.

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