This part of the handbook is for the blog editorial team. If this isn't you, you may find what you are looking for in the blog handbook, which covers the process for opening an issue and merge request for your blog post, as well as getting reviewed and published.
We use American English by default.
When using acryonyms or initialisms, ensure that your first mention uses the full term and includes the shortened version in parentheses directly afterwards. From then on you may use the acronym or initialism instead.
Example: A Contributor License Agreement (CLA) is the industry standard for open source contributions to other projects.
Below are some common acronyms and initialisms we use which don't need to be defined first (but use sparingly, see Tone of voice above):
Use ampersands only where they are part of a company's name or the title of a publication or similar. Example: Barnes & Noble
Do not use as a substitute for "and."
See below for styling of specific words.
Use sentence case for all titles and headings.
All GitLab feature names must be capitalized. If referring to a GitLab feature as part of a workflow rather than speaking about the feature itself, use lower case.
Examples: "GitLab Issue Boards are a powerful project management and collaboration tool." vs "The editorial team uses an issue board to track the progress of blog posts."
We do not capitalize job titles, regardless of whether they appear before or after a person's name.
These are elements that make up GitLab the company's organizational structure. Capitalize the name of the element, but not the word after:
Example: Engineering function, Security department
Ensure you style brand names consistently with how the company does.
Example: WiFi Tribe, DigitalOcean
The only exception to this is for brand names that are in all upper or lower case. Always capitalize the first letter, regardless of how it is styled in a company's logo.
Examples: Reddit, Lego
If the word "the" forms part of a brand or publication's name, capitalize it:
Examples: The Wall Street Journal, The Times
You can drop the "The" entirely if used as follows:
"We spoke to a Wall Street Journal reporter"
We favor contractions ("can't," "didn't," "it's," "we're") to sound more human and less formal.
Spell out, unless using the full date (see below).
Jan. 3, 2019 (abbreviate month, no
rd after 3)
These do not need to be full sentences. Do not include a period at the end of any headings.
Try to avoid vague blog post titles, especially beginning with continuous verbs ("-ing"). Make them active and descriptive so that readers know what they can expect to gain from reading the post.
Reducing DevOps costs-> How to reduce DevOps costs
Beautifying our UI-> What we're doing to beautify our UI
- to create a bulleted list in Markdown. No period is necessary at the end of each bullet point.
Numbers with four or more digits should include a comma.
Examples: 2,000; 100,000
Spell out one to nine. Use numerals for 10 upwards. Try to avoid beginning a sentence with a number, but if unavoidable, spell it out.
Use numerals. If at the beginning of a heading, capitalize the first word following.
Example: 3 Strategies for implementing a microservices architecture
Unless referring to someone in particular, use gender-neutral pronouns ("they", "them").
Only one space after a period is necessary.
Include one space after ellipses (… )
See below for when to hyphenate specific words.
We use en dashes (–) rather than em dashes (—). Include a space before and after the dash.
Use % instead of "percent" at all times.
Use double quotation marks for direct quotes, and single quotation marks for a quote within a quote. Single quotation marks may also be used for specialist terms or sayings.
Include punctuation in quotation marks.
Example: What do you think of the claim, "software is eating the world?"
When including direct quotations from interviewees in blog posts, we prefer to use the feature journalism style of present tense for verbs such as "said," "explained" etc.
Example: "Ruby was optimized for the developer, not for running it in production," says Sid.
For blog posts, prefer referring to interviewees by their first names as this is less formal and more in keeping with our tone of voice.
Each blog post should be optimized for search engines. A primary keyword is a word/phrase that is repeated a few times in the blog post/headline (see below) and will help a search engine make our content "findable." A secondary keyword reinforces the first keyword by giving someone searching for content on the internet another way to find what they're looking for. In the spirit of MVC, let's focus on just making sure each blog post has a primary keyword (but you'll get bonus points if you can work a secondary keyword in!) A primary keyword might be "DevSecOps" while a secondary keyword might be "DevOps security tools" or "secure software development." Please note that while "keyword" is the commonly used term that does not mean it has to be a single word; it can certainly be a short phrase (also known as a long-tail keyword.)
We use Moz Pro, which is a straightforward way to search for keywords. You can enter a topic and then you'll get suggestions based on traffic volume. Choose a keyword and remember that often a long-tail version might work just as well and have less competition from other sources (example: DevSecOps vs. DevOps security tools). In an ideal world, your keyword or keyword phrase should be in the URL, the headline and the first paragraph. If some or all of that is not possible, alt-text for a photo, a caption or the tweet that appears on the bottom of the blog post are great ways to "sneak in" keywords.
If for some reason you don't have access to Moz or you're not finding anything that feels right, here's another more DIY SEO option.
Finally, digital marketing is putting together a searchable database of relevant keywords for GitLab that will be updated monthly. When that is ready a link will be available here.
Active voice is preferred to passive voice in blog posts. Voice describes whether the subject of a sentence receives or performs the action of a verb.
Example: "The GitLab community submitted 1 million merge requests in March 2019." (active) vs. "One million merge requests were submitted by the GitLab community in March 2019." (passive)
When in doubt, use the "future" styling of a word. So, "internet" is not capitalized, "startup" is not hyphenated, etc.
How to spell and style commonly used words.
Use American spelling in your communications. Please consult this list of spelling differences.
gitlabbeen added to the
author_twitterfield if the author doesn't wish to use their own handle?
Descriptionfield copy fit on the tile on /blog?
open sourceit is best to remove it.
.html.md.erband that the newsletter sign-up form is included in the post, if appropriate. Don't include it if there are other CTAs in the post (for example, directing people to sign up for a webcast or watch a video).
When you are ready to merge a scheduled blog post, check the review app for the blog post:
When you've checked all these, go ahead and hit
Merge. You can also check the boxes for
Delete source branch and
Squash commits but this isn't strictly necessary.
Once you've pressed merge, go to the Pipelines page, which you can find in the menu on the left under CI/CD.
Find your merge pipeline, which will probably be near the top of the page. It will say
Merge branch 'your-branch-name' into 'master'.
You can watch its progress there. Depending on your notification settings, you may get an email when your pipeline passes, or if it fails.
Go to the blog homepage and your post should be visible there. Sometimes this takes a few minutes. When you see it, grab the link and share it in the #content-updates channel in Slack.
If a pipeline fails when you try to merge something, it is usually not something you have done wrong! You can retry it, but if it still doesn't work, it's probably quickest to get an answer by sharing your MR link in #mr-buddies or #questions on Slack.