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GitLab CI vs Travis CI: What are the differences?

Developers describe GitLab CI as "GitLab integrated CI to test, build and deploy your code". GitLab offers a continuous integration service. If you add a .gitlab-ci.yml file to the root directory of your repository, and configure your GitLab project to use a Runner, then each merge request or push triggers your CI pipeline. On the other hand, Travis CI is detailed as "A hosted continuous integration service for open source and private projects". Free for open source projects, our CI environment provides multiple runtimes (e.g. Node.js or PHP versions), data stores and so on. Because of this, hosting your project on travis-ci.com means you can effortlessly test your library or applications against multiple runtimes and data stores without even having all of them installed locally.

GitLab CI and Travis CI can be categorized as "Continuous Integration" tools.

"Robust CI with awesome Docker support" is the primary reason why developers consider GitLab CI over the competitors, whereas "Github integration" was stated as the key factor in picking Travis CI.

Lyft, Heroku, and MIT are some of the popular companies that use Travis CI, whereas GitLab CI is used by WebbyLab, Infoxchange, and Dial Once. Travis CI has a broader approval, being mentioned in 670 company stacks & 624 developers stacks; compared to GitLab CI, which is listed in 210 company stacks and 93 developer stacks.

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- No public GitHub repository available -

What is GitLab CI?

GitLab offers a continuous integration service. If you add a .gitlab-ci.yml file to the root directory of your repository, and configure your GitLab project to use a Runner, then each merge request or push triggers your CI pipeline.

What is Travis CI?

Free for open source projects, our CI environment provides multiple runtimes (e.g. Node.js or PHP versions), data stores and so on. Because of this, hosting your project on travis-ci.com means you can effortlessly test your library or applications against multiple runtimes and data stores without even having all of them installed locally.
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    What are some alternatives to GitLab CI and Travis CI?
    Jenkins
    In a nutshell Jenkins CI is the leading open-source continuous integration server. Built with Java, it provides over 300 plugins to support building and testing virtually any project.
    Bamboo
    Focus on coding and count on Bamboo as your CI and build server! Create multi-stage build plans, set up triggers to start builds upon commits, and assign agents to your critical builds and deployments.
    TeamCity
    TeamCity is a user-friendly continuous integration (CI) server for professional developers, build engineers, and DevOps. It is trivial to setup and absolutely free for small teams and open source projects.
    CircleCI
    Continuous integration and delivery platform helps software teams rapidly release code with confidence by automating the build, test, and deploy process. Offers a modern software development platform that lets teams ramp.
    Concourse
    Concourse's principles reduce the risk of switching to and from Concourse, by encouraging practices that decouple your project from your CI's little details, and keeping all configuration in declarative files that can be checked into version control.
    See all alternatives
    Decisions about GitLab CI and Travis CI
    Jesus Dario Rivera Rubio
    Jesus Dario Rivera Rubio
    Telecomm Engineering at Netbeast | 10 upvotes 132.5K views
    atNetbeastNetbeast
    Mailjet
    Mailjet
    Intercom
    Intercom
    Amplitude
    Amplitude
    Firebase
    Firebase
    GitHub
    GitHub
    Bitrise
    Bitrise
    Travis CI
    Travis CI
    Objective-C
    Objective-C
    Android SDK
    Android SDK
    React Native
    React Native
    #End2end
    #SmartHome

    We are using React Native in #SmartHome to share the business logic between Android and iOS team and approach users with a unique brand experience. The drawback is that we require lots of native Android SDK and Objective-C modules, so a good part of the invested time is there. The gain for a app that relies less on native communication, sensors and OS tools should be even higher.

    Also it helps us set different testing stages: we use Travis CI for the javascript (business logic), Bitrise to run build tests and @Detox for #end2end automated user tests.

    We use a microservices structure on top of Zeit's @now that read from firebase. We use JWT auth to authenticate requests among services and from users, following GitHub philosophy of using the same infrastructure than its API consumers. Firebase is used mainly as a key-value store between services and as a backup database for users. We also use its authentication mechanisms.

    You can be super locked-in if you also rely on it's analytics, but we use Amplitude for that, which offers us great insights. Intercom for communications with end-user and Mailjet for marketing.

    See more
    Joshua Dean K眉pper
    Joshua Dean K眉pper
    CEO at Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschr盲nkt) | 6 upvotes 37.5K views
    atScrayos UG (haftungsbeschr盲nkt)Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschr盲nkt)
    Jenkins
    Jenkins
    GitLab Pages
    GitLab Pages
    GitLab
    GitLab
    GitLab CI
    GitLab CI

    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.

    See more
    Travis CI
    Travis CI
    CircleCI
    CircleCI

    I initially chose CircleCI for a personal project because I was not satisified with using Travis CI in the past. When it came time to develop my CI/CD config on Circle, I was pleasantly surprised with the fantastic documentation, invaluable collection of example configs and helpful support provided. The free tier they provide is quite robust for most small projects and the platform is updated frequently with nice features.

    Areas where CircleCI could improve:

    • the UI is a bit slow (you can feel the local machine straining to load all the code) and it is not as intuitive as it could be
    • many UI elements receive updates and/or changes that are not always reflected in the current docs
    See more
    GitHub
    GitHub
    Appveyor
    Appveyor
    Travis CI
    Travis CI

    I recommend using Travis CI and/or Appveyor in all projects.

    Projects using these tools have given me confidence to know that I don't cause any breaking changes. Travis CI and Appveyor have functionality to test components of a project across multiple installation projects to ensure that modifications don't break a project. These tools integrate easily with GitHub and are useful in open source projects that must review contributions from many different people.

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    Sebastian Dellwig
    Sebastian Dellwig
    Tech Lead at Porsche Digital GmbH | 6 upvotes 25.4K views
    Codeship
    Codeship
    CircleCI
    CircleCI
    GitLab CI
    GitLab CI

    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.

    See more
    Tim Abbott
    Tim Abbott
    Founder at Zulip | 12 upvotes 34.5K views
    atZulipZulip
    CircleCI
    CircleCI
    Travis CI
    Travis CI

    We actually started out on Travis CI, but we've migrated our main builds to CircleCI, and it's been a huge improvement.

    The reason it's been a huge improvement is that Travis CI has a fundamentally bad design for their images, where they start with a standard base Linux image containing tons of packages (several versions of postgres, every programming language environment, etc). This is potentially nice for the "get builds for a small project running quickly" use case, but it's a total disaster for a larger project that needs a decent number of dependencies and cares about the performance and reliability of their build.

    This issue is exacerbated by their networking infrastructure being unreliable; we usually saw over 1% of builds failing due to transient networking errors in Travis CI, even after we added retries to the most frequently failing operations like apt update or pip install. And they never install Ubuntu's point release updates to their images. So doing an apt update, apt install, or especially apt upgrade would take forever. We ended up writing code to actually uninstall many of their base packages and pin the versions of hundreds of others to get a semi-fast, semi-reliable build. It was infuriating.

    The CircleCI v2.0 system has the right design for a CI system: we can customize the base image to start with any expensive-to-install packages we need for our build, and we can update that image if and when we want to. The end result is that when migrating, we were able to delete all the hacky optimizations mentioned above, while still ending up with a 50% faster build latency. And we've also had 5-10x fewer issues with networking-related flakes, which means one doesn't have to constantly check whether a build failure is actually due to an issue with the code under test or "just another networking flake".

    See more
    Travis CI
    Travis CI
    CircleCI
    CircleCI
    Google Cloud Build
    Google Cloud Build

    I use Google Cloud Build because it's my first foray into the CICD world(loving it so far), and I wanted to work with something GCP native to avoid giving permissions to other SaaS tools like CircleCI and Travis CI.

    I really like it because it's free for the first 120 minutes, and it's one of the few CICD tools that enterprises are open to using since it's contained within GCP.

    One of the unique things is that it has the Kaniko cache, which speeds up builds by creating intermediate layers within the docker image vs. pushing the full thing from the start. Helpful when you're installing just a few additional dependencies.

    Feel free to checkout an example: Cloudbuild Example

    See more
    Interest over time
    Reviews of GitLab CI and Travis CI
    Avatar of tschellenbach
    CEO at Stream
    Review ofTravis CITravis CI

    In the past we used to run Jenkins. The build server always had weird issues and was a pain to maintain. Travis is a great solution for CI. Their Debug build features makes it trivial to figure out why your build broke. The integration with Github is also very slick. One thing they could improve is the documentation on the .travis.yaml format. All in all, great company and very responsive supports. Over here at getstream.io we're a fan. Keep up the good work guys!

    How developers use GitLab CI and Travis CI
    Avatar of datapile
    datapile uses Travis CITravis CI

    Travis CI is our pillar for automated deployment, pull request testing, auto-merging (for non-mission-critical projects), and build testing per commit / release.

    It is highly configurable, super cheap, and extremely robust (supports every language and configuration we've thrown at it).

    Avatar of P膿teris Caune
    P膿teris Caune uses Travis CITravis CI

    While we usually run tests before commits, Travis goes further and tests with different Python versions and different database backends. It works great, and, best of all, it is free for open source projects.

    Avatar of Dieter Adriaenssens
    Dieter Adriaenssens uses Travis CITravis CI

    Travis CI builds and tests every commit. It's also used to deploy Buildtime Trend as a Service to Heroku and the Buildtime Trend Python library to the PyPi repository.

    Avatar of Nate Ferrell
    Nate Ferrell uses Travis CITravis CI

    Travis CI is critical for Linux and macOS CI tests for the Powershell module. Travis runs the same tests we run in AppVeyor in parallel.

    Avatar of Trusted Shops GmbH
    Trusted Shops GmbH uses GitLab CIGitLab CI

    We use Gitlab CI to unit and component test all of our application/components/modules. Therefore we use Docker runners.

    Avatar of Dynamictivity
    Dynamictivity uses GitLab CIGitLab CI

    GitLab CI is extremely flexible and easy to use. We also enjoy the elastic build infrastructure which is Docker based.

    Avatar of Andrew Williams
    Andrew Williams uses Travis CITravis CI

    To ensure that what works locally will also work for someone else. Also used to send code coverage to codeintel

    Avatar of Sanghyun Park
    Sanghyun Park uses GitLab CIGitLab CI

    Upon push, build the site and publish to Google Cloud Storage.

    Avatar of cslasher
    cslasher uses GitLab CIGitLab CI

    CI/CD with Docker support.

    Avatar of Solcast
    Solcast uses GitLab CIGitLab CI

    Deployment pipeline

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