What is GitLab and what are its top alternatives?
GitLab alternatives & related posts
related GitHub posts
I was building a personal project that I needed to store items in a real time database. I am more comfortable with my Frontend skills than my backend so I didn't want to spend time building out anything in Ruby or Go.
I stumbled on Firebase by #Google, and it was really all I needed. It had realtime data, an area for storing file uploads and best of all for the amount of data I needed it was free!
I built out my application using tools I was familiar with, React for the framework, Redux.js to manage my state across components, and styled-components for the styling.
Now as this was a project I was just working on in my free time for fun I didn't really want to pay for hosting. I did some research and I found Netlify. I had actually seen them at #ReactRally the year before and deployed a Gatsby site to Netlify already.
Netlify was very easy to setup and link to my GitHub account you select a repo and pretty much with very little configuration you have a live site that will deploy every time you push to master.
With the selection of these tools I was able to build out my application, connect it to a realtime database, and deploy to a live environment all with $0 spent.
If you're looking to build out a small app I suggest giving these tools a go as you can get your idea out into the real world for absolutely no cost.
I have mixed feelings on GitHub as a product and our use of it for the Zulip open source project. On the one hand, I do feel that being on GitHub helps people discover Zulip, because we have enough stars (etc.) that we rank highly among projects on the platform. and there is a definite benefit for lowering barriers to contribution (which is important to us) that GitHub has such a dominant position in terms of what everyone has accounts with.
But even ignoring how one might feel about their new corporate owner (MicroSoft), in a lot of ways GitHub is a bad product for open source projects. Years after the "Dear GitHub" letter, there are still basic gaps in its issue tracker:
- You can't give someone permission to label/categorize issues without full write access to a project (including ability to merge things to master, post releases, etc.).
- You can't let anyone with a GitHub account self-assign issues to themselves.
- Many more similar issues.
It's embarrassing, because I've talked to GitHub product managers at various open source events about these things for 3 years, and they always agree the thing is important, but then nothing ever improves in the Issues product. Maybe the new management at MicroSoft will fix their product management situation, but if not, I imagine we'll eventually do the migration to GitLab.
We have a custom bot project, http://github.com/zulip/zulipbot, to deal with some of these issues where possible, and every other large project we talk to does the same thing, more or less.
related Bitbucket posts
I use GitLab when building side-projects and MVPs. The interface and interactions are close enough to those of GitHub to prevent cognitive switching costs between professional and personal projects hosted on different services.
GitLab also provides a suite of tools including issue/project management, CI/CD with GitLab CI, and validation/landing pages with GitLab Pages. With everything in one place, on an #OpenSourceCloud GitLab makes it easy for me to manage much larger projects on my own, than would be possible with other solutions or tools.
It's petty I know, but I can also read the GitLab code diffs far more easily than diffs on GitHub or Bitbucket...they just look better in my opinion.
A bit difference in GitHub and GitLab though both are Version Control repository management services which provides key component in the software development workflow. A decision of choosing GitHub over GitLab is major leap extension from code management, to deployment and monitoring alongside looking beyond the code base hosting provided best fitted tools for developer communities.
- Authentication stages - With GitLab you can set and modify people’s permissions according to their role. In GitHub, you can decide if someone gets a read or write access to a repository.
- Built-In Continuous Integrations - GitLab offers its very own CI for free. No need to use an external CI service. And if you are already used to an external CI, you can obviously integrate with Jenkins, etc whereas GitHub offers various 3rd party integrations – such as Travis CI, CircleCI or Codeship – for running and testing your code. However, there’s no built-in CI solution at the moment.
- Import/Export Resources - GitLab offers detailed documentation on how to import your data from other vendors – such as GitHub, Bitbucket to GitLab. GitHub, on the other hand, does not offer such detailed documentation for the most common git repositories. However, GitHub offers to use GitHub Importer if you have your source code in Subversion, Mercurial, TFS and others.
Also when it comes to exporting data, GitLab seems to do a pretty solid job, offering you the ability to export your projects including the following data:
- Wiki and project repositories
- Project uploads
- The configuration including webhooks and services
- Issues with comments, merge requests with diffs and comments, labels, milestones, snippets, and other project entities.
GitHub, on the other hand, seems to be more restrictive when it comes to export features of existing GitHub repositories. * Integrations - #githubmarketplace gives you an essence to have multiple and competitive integrations whereas you will find less in the GitLab.
So go ahead with better understanding.
related Jenkins posts
Releasing new versions of our services is done by Travis CI. Travis first runs our test suite. Once it passes, it publishes a new release binary to GitHub.
Common tasks such as installing dependencies for the Go project, or building a binary are automated using plain old Makefiles. (We know, crazy old school, right?) Our binaries are compressed using UPX.
Travis has come a long way over the past years. I used to prefer Jenkins in some cases since it was easier to debug broken builds. With the addition of the aptly named “debug build” button, Travis is now the clear winner. It’s easy to use and free for open source, with no need to maintain anything.
Often enough I have to explain my way of going about setting up a CI/CD pipeline with multiple deployment platforms. Since I am a bit tired of yapping the same every single time, I've decided to write it up and share with the world this way, and send people to read it instead ;). I will explain it on "live-example" of how the Rome got built, basing that current methodology exists only of readme.md and wishes of good luck (as it usually is ;)).
It always starts with an app, whatever it may be and reading the readmes available while Vagrant and VirtualBox is installing and updating. Following that is the first hurdle to go over - convert all the instruction/scripts into Ansible playbook(s), and only stopping when doing a clear
vagrant up or
vagrant reload we will have a fully working environment. As our Vagrant environment is now functional, it's time to break it! This is the moment to look for how things can be done better (too rigid/too lose versioning? Sloppy environment setup?) and replace them with the right way to do stuff, one that won't bite us in the backside. This is the point, and the best opportunity, to upcycle the existing way of doing dev environment to produce a proper, production-grade product.
I should probably digress here for a moment and explain why. I firmly believe that the way you deploy production is the same way you should deploy develop, shy of few debugging-friendly setting. This way you avoid the discrepancy between how production work vs how development works, which almost always causes major pains in the back of the neck, and with use of proper tools should mean no more work for the developers. That's why we start with Vagrant as developer boxes should be as easy as
vagrant up, but the meat of our product lies in Ansible which will do meat of the work and can be applied to almost anything: AWS, bare metal, docker, LXC, in open net, behind vpn - you name it.
We must also give proper consideration to monitoring and logging hoovering at this point. My generic answer here is to grab Elasticsearch, Kibana, and Logstash. While for different use cases there may be better solutions, this one is well battle-tested, performs reasonably and is very easy to scale both vertically (within some limits) and horizontally. Logstash rules are easy to write and are well supported in maintenance through Ansible, which as I've mentioned earlier, are at the very core of things, and creating triggers/reports and alerts based on Elastic and Kibana is generally a breeze, including some quite complex aggregations.
If we are happy with the state of the Ansible it's time to move on and put all those roles and playbooks to work. Namely, we need something to manage our CI/CD pipelines. For me, the choice is obvious: TeamCity. It's modern, robust and unlike most of the light-weight alternatives, it's transparent. What I mean by that is that it doesn't tell you how to do things, doesn't limit your ways to deploy, or test, or package for that matter. Instead, it provides a developer-friendly and rich playground for your pipelines. You can do most the same with Jenkins, but it has a quite dated look and feel to it, while also missing some key functionality that must be brought in via plugins (like quality REST API which comes built-in with TeamCity). It also comes with all the common-handy plugins like Slack or Apache Maven integration.
The exact flow between CI and CD varies too greatly from one application to another to describe, so I will outline a few rules that guide me in it: 1. Make build steps as small as possible. This way when something breaks, we know exactly where, without needing to dig and root around. 2. All security credentials besides development environment must be sources from individual Vault instances. Keys to those containers should exist only on the CI/CD box and accessible by a few people (the less the better). This is pretty self-explanatory, as anything besides dev may contain sensitive data and, at times, be public-facing. Because of that appropriate security must be present. TeamCity shines in this department with excellent secrets-management. 3. Every part of the build chain shall consume and produce artifacts. If it creates nothing, it likely shouldn't be its own build. This way if any issue shows up with any environment or version, all developer has to do it is grab appropriate artifacts to reproduce the issue locally. 4. Deployment builds should be directly tied to specific Git branches/tags. This enables much easier tracking of what caused an issue, including automated identifying and tagging the author (nothing like automated regression testing!).
Speaking of deployments, I generally try to keep it simple but also with a close eye on the wallet. Because of that, I am more than happy with AWS or another cloud provider, but also constantly peeking at the loads and do we get the value of what we are paying for. Often enough the pattern of use is not constantly erratic, but rather has a firm baseline which could be migrated away from the cloud and into bare metal boxes. That is another part where this approach strongly triumphs over the common Docker and CircleCI setup, where you are very much tied in to use cloud providers and getting out is expensive. Here to embrace bare-metal hosting all you need is a help of some container-based self-hosting software, my personal preference is with Proxmox and LXC. Following that all you must write are ansible scripts to manage hardware of Proxmox, similar way as you do for Amazon EC2 (ansible supports both greatly) and you are good to go. One does not exclude another, quite the opposite, as they can live in great synergy and cut your costs dramatically (the heavier your base load, the bigger the savings) while providing production-grade resiliency.
related Gogs posts
I installed Gogs after a few repos I planned to use on GitHub disappeared without explanation, and after Microsoft's acquisition of same, it made me think about the over-centralization of community-developed software. A self-hosted solution that enables easy point-and-click mirroring of important repositories for my projects, both in-house and 3rd-party, ensures I won't be bitten by upstream catastrophes. (So far, Microsoft's stewardship has been fine, but always be prepared). It's also a very nice way to host one's own private repos before they're ready for prime-time on github.
Gogs is written in Go and is easy to install and configure, much more so than GitLab. The only major feature I wish it had is an integrated code review tool, but the web plugin hypothes.is https://stackshare.io/hypothes-is/hypothes-is actually is quite suitable as a code review tool. Set up a group for each code review, and just highlight lines to add comments in pull request pages of Gogs.
related Git posts
For markup and style, I used Pug and Sass, since they’re the perfect match to me. I love the clean and strict syntax of both of them and even more that their structure is almost similar. Also, both of them come with an expanded functionality such as mixins, loops and so on related to their “siblings” (HTML and CSS). Both of them require nesting and prevent untidy code, which can be a huge advantage when working in teams. I used JSON to store data (since the data quantity on my website is moderate) – JSON works also good in combo with Pug, using for loops, based on the JSON Objects for example.
To send my contact form I used PHP, since sending emails using PHP is still relatively convenient, simple and easy done.
DevOps: Of course, I used Git to do my version management (which I even do in smaller projects like my website just have an additional backup of my code). On top of that I used GitHub since it now supports private repository for free accounts (which I am using for my own). I use Babel to use ES6 functionality such as arrow functions and so on, and still don’t losing cross browser compatibility.
Side note: I used npm for package management. 🎉
I use Laravel because it's the most advances PHP framework out there, easy to maintain, easy to upgrade and most of all : easy to get a handle on, and to follow every new technology ! PhpStorm is our main software to code, as of simplicity and full range of tools for a modern application.
Google Analytics Analytics of course for a tailored analytics, Bulma as an innovative CSS framework, coupled with our Sass (Scss) pre-processor.
To deploy, we set up Buddy to easily send the updates on our nginx / Ubuntu server, where it will connect to our GitHub Git private repository, pull and do all the operations needed with Deployer .
CloudFlare ensure the rapidity of distribution of our content, and Let's Encrypt the https certificate that is more than necessary when we'll want to sell some products with our Stripe api calls.
Asana is here to let us list all the functionalities, possibilities and ideas we want to implement.
related Azure DevOps posts
Visual Studio Azure DevOps Azure Functions Azure Websites #Azure #AzureKeyVault #AzureAD #AzureApps
#Azure Cloud Since Amazon is potentially our competitor then we need a different cloud vendor, also our programmers are microsoft oriented so the choose were obviously #Azure for us.
Azure DevOps Because we need to be able to develop a neww pipeline into Azure environment ina few minutes.
Azure Kubernetes Service We already in #Azure , also need to use K8s , so let's use AKS as it's a manged Kubernetes in the #Azure
Secure Membership Web API backed by SQL Server. This is the backing API to store additional profile and complex membership metadata outside of an Azure AD B2C provider. The front-end using the Azure AD B2C to allow 3rd party trusted identity providers to authenticate. This API provides a way to add and manage more complex permission structures than can easily be maintained in Azure AD.
We have .Net developers and an Azure infrastructure environment using server-less functions, logic apps and SaaS where ever possible. For this service I opted to keep it as a classic WebAPI project and deployed to AppService.
- Trusted Authentication Provider: @AzureActiveDirectoryB2C
- Frameworks: .NET Core
- IDEs: Visual Studio Code , Visual Studio
- Libraries: jQuery @EntityFramework, @AutoMapper, @FeatureToggle , @Swashbuckle
- Database: @SqlAzure
- Source Control: Git
- Build and Release Pipelines: Azure DevOps
- Test tools: Postman , Newman
- Test framework: @nUnit, @moq
- Infrastructure: @AzureAppService, @AzureAPIManagement
related GitLab CI posts
We use GitLab CI because of the great native integration as a part of the GitLab framework and the linting-capabilities it offers. The visualization of complex pipelines and the embedding within the project overview made Gitlab CI even more convenient. We use it for all projects, all deployments and as a part of GitLab Pages.
While we initially used the Shell-executor, we quickly switched to the Docker-executor and use it exclusively now.
We formerly used Jenkins but preferred to handle everything within GitLab . Aside from the unification of our infrastructure another motivation was the "configuration-in-file"-approach, that Gitlab CI offered, while Jenkins support of this concept was very limited and users had to resort to using the webinterface. Since the file is included within the repository, it is also version controlled, which was a huge plus for us.
We are using GitLab CI and were very happy with it. The integration of all tools like CI/CD, tickets, etc makes it very easy to stay on top of things. But be aware, Gitlab currently does not have iOS build support. So if you want to exchange that for CircleCI / Codeship to have to invest some effort. We are using a managed Mac OS device and installed the Gitlab runner there, to have iOS builds.